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Season's Eatings

Pepperminty Chocolate Bark

3 oz peppermint candy canes or red-and-white-swirled peppermint candy
½ lb white chocolate (not chips), finely chopped into ¼-inch pieces

1. Measure and cut a piece of parchment or wax paper large enough to line a baking sheet. On the paper's underside, child uses a ruler to draw a 7- by 10-inch rectangle with a pencil. On each corner, have her dab a bit of butter (which works as glue), and flip the paper over. Help her press the corners onto the baking sheet. Set aside.
2. Kid puts the mint candy in a zip-lock plastic bag. Supervise as she smashes candy into bits with a meat pounder or hammer. Don't let her pulverize the candy; you want chunks, not powder. Discard any powder, and pour pieces into a 1-cup measure.
3. Put chocolate in a 2-cup glass measure, and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Supervise as child stirs it with a spatula. Microwave for 30 seconds longer and stir again. Microwave for 30 seconds more, stopping to stir chocolate every 5 seconds, till melted. Child spreads chocolate on parchment-lined sheet, filling in the rectangular outline, till smooth, then sprinkles on the candy crumbs. Let harden at room temperature for 6 hours. (If kitchen is hot, chill till solid.) Help your kid break bark into rough pieces, about 3 square inches each. Refrigerate till serving.

Yield: Makes 3/4 of a pound of bark.