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Christmas is a time for us all to cherish the things that we hold most dear to our hearts. Although it is a joyous time of year, we are saddened with the reality that Christmas will be especially hard for those in Connecticut. Within the midst of laughter, cheer and hope, we must acknowledge that each year people struggle with the haunting shadows of sorrow, heartache, and regret.

We recently heard someone label Christmas as a “multiplier.” It makes the happy times seem even more happy, and the sad times seem even more sad. It’s vital that this and every Christmas season we cherish those we love most and treasure each moment with them. Although the nightly news reminds of the hate and anger in the world, for our own hearts it is vital we also focus on the good and the joy. We encourage you to gather with those you love around the table this season and create memories together that will last years long after a loved one has passed.

I find it interesting how closely memory and food are related. Memories seem to flood back with traditional food served around the holidays season. Even when trying a new recipe, you either continue serving it in years to come because it’s new, or fondly remember the year you tried it just because. Either way, the memory of that holiday is blissfully preserved in the recipe.

These red velvet peppermint cake balls are the perfect treats for kids one to ninety-two. They’re sure to linger in your memory for holiday seasons to come. (I think we’ll remind ourselves how much we like these by making them again next year.) The red chocolatey cake paired with the snap of the white chocolate peppermint coating will make even the most tight-fisted grinch’s heart grow three times its size.

We want to let you readers know how much it means to us that you READ this blog! Thank you for your comments, your e-mails, your tweets, your Facebook posts, and most importantly, your precious time and effort you spend reading our food blog. Merry Christmas to YOU.

Peppermint Bark Cake Balls
Prep Time: 35 min. Cook Time: 30 min.

Ingredients:

1 box red velvet cake mix
(Eggs, vegetable oil, water that are required for the cake)
1 can (8-oz.) cream cheese frosting
15 peppermints, finely crushed
3 12-oz. bags white candy melts, vanilla flavored
Peppermint extract

Preparation:

Prepare red velvet cake according to instructions on the box. Completely cool. Using a fork, crumble the entire red velvet cake into a large bowl. Add 3/4 can of the icing and stir until well worked into the crumbs.

Using your hands, form small balls with the moistened crumbs and place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Place cake balls in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Place one bag of candy melts in a medium sized bowl and microwave for 30 second intervals until melted. Stir in a few drops of the peppermint extract and taste. Add more peppermint to taste (but remember that you’ll also top them with peppermint flakes).

Working with one cake ball at a time, dunk the cake ball into the candy melts and toss it between two spoons to remove excess coating. Place back on waxed paper and immediately top with a sprinkle of crushed peppermint. Repeat with other cake balls until all three bags of candy melts have been used. Allow cake balls to set at room temperature (or in the fridge if you’re in a hurry) before serving.

Makes 40-50 cake balls