Barking Epiphany

new year

Happy New Year! I hope you’re all sharing the optimism I have about 2015. It’s odd that just turning a page on the calendar should make one feel hopeful. Nevertheless, I can’t help feeling that this New Year will bring wonderful things.

Even before Epiphany I had an epiphany about my work. I am shifting gears bookwise. I spent a lot of time last year testing recipes for my book of funeral foods. Nevertheless, I haven’t established the right tone in my writing for the narrative. So that book is being postponed until after I finish another project that is percolating in my brain and laptop. Stay tuned for developments!

Meanwhile, as Epiphany strikes I want to share one last Christmas recipe. As many of you may know, for the last couple of years I have done holiday sales at a local branch of Williams-Sonoma in order to make extra money for year-end giving. My knees aren’t always thrilled with the job, but the people I work with are great.

Moreover, I have always strongly believed that everyone needs to spend some time doing retail work. This experience helps us remember to be extra nice to the people behind the counter when we shop.

Williams-Sonoma’s signature Christmas product is its peppermint bark. We have been handing out samples of this confection for a month and a half now, and it has ALMOST disappeared from the shelves.

Our store’s resident chef mentioned recently that one of the other stores had held a contest asking customers what they would make using the bark. This of course got me wondering what I would make myself—and it didn’t take me long to come up with something! I decided on a peppermint icebox cake.

The end product, as you can see below, looked appropriate for the season—rather like a log in snow. Another time I might crumble the peppermint bark a bit more; as you can see, its bits resembled dirty rocks in the snow. Or I might just use crushed candy canes. The flavor was pretty darn terrific, however. And I can’t really think of anything simpler to make.

I wish you all a wonderful new year full of good work, good health, and good food.


Barking Icebox Cake


2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 package (9 ounces) Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (these flat, round chocolate cookies are difficult but not impossible to find; just ask around at area grocery stores)
1/2 cup crumbled peppermint bark or peppermint candy


Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the vanilla and extract.

Spread about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the cream mixture onto a wafer. Top it with another wafer. Stack the creamed wafers standing up until you have 9 or 10 wafers; then gently lay the stack on its side on a serving plate. Repeat, adding to the horizontal stack, until you have used up the remaining wafers.

Cover the log of stacks with the remaining whipped cream.

Refrigerate, gently covered, for at least 4 hours.

Remove from the fridge just before serving and garnish the cake with the crumbled candy. Slice diagonally so that black-and-white bars appear.

Serves 8 to 10.

pepp bark

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8 Responses to “Barking Epiphany”

  1. Flaneur says:

    Indeed, as you wrote, the recipe looks simple, the photo looks very appealing, and you added “The flavor was pretty darn terrific, however.” I hope that adding a scoop of homemade peppermint stick ice cream wouldn’t be gilding the lily? Reading this and imagining what it tastes like underscores the phrase “all bark and no bite”! Is there an internet protocol or format with its own file suffix that might allow you to email your readers and attach a taste byte? I send cake stands piled high with wishes for the happiest of New Years!

  2. tinkyweisblat says:

    Happy new year right back to you, Flaneur! Would that I COULD email a bite to readers; my family did nobly, but we had to put the last of the cake in the freezer.

    Now, why didn’t I think of the phrase “all bark and no bite” here?

  3. Grad says:

    I know this sounds really dumb, but I saw a picture of a slice of ice box cake and tried to figure out how you can stack up the round cookies, set them down horizontally, then slice them and get stripes. Duh! On the diagonal. Sheesh. This looks like a winner, Tinky. I’ll have to try it next Christmas (although I guess any sort of bark might work, right?)

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    It’s MUCH easier than it sounds to do the slicing for the stripes, I promise, Grad. And yes any bark or even peppermint should do. I thought of using pink food coloring in the whipped cream, but that seems a bit too precious……..

  5. Susan says:

    OMYGOD this looks positively evil. BUT: so delicious!!!

    Happy New Year and I’m already planning to make this for Epiphany 2016!

  6. tinkyweisblat says:

    So delicious and so easy…….

  7. Grad says:

    Are you in Massachusetts with all that snow? Hope all is well if you are. You can always bake something! and Read!

  8. tinkyweisblat says:

    Bless you, Grad, I’m trying NOT to bake too much; the waistline is a bit excessive. Reading, however, I am doing; I have a book to review. So I can read and call it work!