Christmas as an expat can be a little lonely. Family is far away, the festive atmosphere isn’t really here, and the holiday foods can be hard to find. Luckily, Thanksgiving in Shanghai isn’t too bad. Lots of places offer turkey dinners (which is what Thanksgiving is all about, amirite?) Christmas, however, is another story. Most of the dinner options cost well over $100, I think I’ll be sticking to a steaming hot bowl of 拉面 (pulled noodles).
That doesn’t mean I am total Grinch! My last post was a preview of some of the Christmas goodies I made this past weekend during the airpocolypse (since I was afraid to go outside with the Air Quality Index off the charts) When I’m in the States, I usually end up baking, decorating, and giving away upwards of 400 sugar cookies in lieu of presents. I thought with my limited counter space, rolling and cutting dough was out of the question. SO, in my wonderful toaster oven, I painstakingly baked about 5 dozen crinkle cookies. Six. At. A. Time.
The recipe for these amazing cookies can be found on the wonderful blog Catherine Cuisine. For the non-French speakers there is an English recipe on the bottom of the page.
The only change I made to this recipe was that I used unsalted butter, because that is all I could find at the Tesco below my house. Also, you can buy a 250 gram chocolate bar at the Fresh Mart underneath the 久光 Mall next to Jing’an Temple. It is 50 RMB, so a little less than $10. A little bit pricey for chocolate, but I had to have some Christmas cookies, and after I saw this recipe I had to have these cookies.
I decided that cookies weren’t enough to round out my Christmas goodie box, so I went oven-free and make 2 types of chocolate bark. All I had to do was improvise a double boiler with a pot and a metal mixing bowl. Just put about an inch or so of water in the pot, cover with the bowl, turn the flame on, and put the chocolate in the bowl. Make sure the water in the pot isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl, and the steam will melt your chocolate in no time while you stir!
I decided to go with Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate bark, and Salted Pepita Dark Chocolate bark.
Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Bark
- White chocolate
- Dried Cranberries
Salted Pepita Dark Chocolate Bark
- Dark Chocolate
- Sea Salt
Honestly, the amount of each ingredient will vary depending how big of a pan you want to make, how much of each topping you like, etc… Whatever size that is, line the pan with parchment paper so the chocolate peels off easily when dry. You can totally eyeball the amount of chocolate needed, and if what you melted didn’t fill the pan, quickly melt a little more and pour, you chocolate won’t dry that fast!
Let set at room temp (or in a fridge if you are one of the lucky ones with a full-sized refrigerator), break or chop into pieces, and share with friends, or don’t!
For all my fellow Shanghaiers, here is where I got these ingredients:
- Pistachios, Pepitas, White Chocolate in bulk: Ordered from Kate & Kimi
- Dried cranberries: Tesco
- Dark Chocolate bars: Fresh Mart (Jing’an Temple)