The Mom Stash

Holiday Recipes
The Mom Stash

Another night of good cheer… 
Hair? Check.
Jewels? Check.
Babysitter? Check.
Your beloved waiting at door? Check.

The hostess gift? Oops. Maybe you shouldn’t have opened that second bottle of wine last night.

The solution, says Trish Magwood is the mom stash. Trish is SavvyMom’s expert foodie, fab host of Food Network’s party dish, owner of dish cooking studio and mother of two. 

The ‘stash’ is a collection of emergency food creations (made by you) that magically transform into a hostess gift for the 10th holiday party of the season, a lovely accompaniment to hot cocoa for family and friends that drop by unexpectedly or the gift you forgot to buy for Great Aunt Mildred. 

Trish has shared with us her recipes for candied nuts and peppermint crunch bark because they are quick, simple to make (even if you have kids crawling all over you) and packed with flavour (it’s all about using the best ingredients).

Buy some lovely wrapping, get to the kitchen and presto—you are a stress free diva entertainer/guest/mother all in one.
Caution: Items contain large traces of sugar. Not recommended for personal consumption in large quantities. Best used for gifts.

Candied Nuts
Yield: 2 cups

2 cups walnuts
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. cumin
2 tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚F

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together honey, salt, black pepper, allspice, cayenne, and cumin. Add walnuts and toss until evenly coated.
  2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the sugar and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Stir once and continue to bake for 5 minutes more.
  3. Remove from the oven and separate the pieces as much a possible so they don’t stick together too much. Let cool.

Gift Presentation Idea
Package in mason jars, tied with a festive ribbon with a gift card announcing they are from your kitchen.

Peppermint Crunch Bark  
Yield: 36 pieces

17 ounces white chocolate (Valrohna), finely chopped
30 candy canes, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (Valrohna), chopped
6 tablespoons whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)


  1. Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover with foil.
  2. Stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove from over water.
  3. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto foil and spread.
  4. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed candy canes. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.
  5. Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture over white chocolate spreading chocolate in even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.
  7. Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water. Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed candy canes. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.
  8. Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips, and each section diagonally into triangles, or simply break into large chunks!

(If all these steps seem too finicky, simply do white chocolate layer, then swirl with dark chocolate for a less structured, more artistic effect.)

Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container. Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Gift Presentation Idea
Wrap in parchment paper with ribbon.

Recipes from the dish kitchen.

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First published 2005.12.06

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