If you are thinking about preparing a great dessert or want to make an edible gift, I have several ideas that might tickle your fancy.
These desserts require refrigeration. Keep the items refrigerated until serving or gift giving. While traveling be sure to add blue ice.
Peanut butter fudge — Melt 2 sticks butter in a saucepan with 1 cup creamy peanut butter. Off the heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and a sifted 1-pound box confectioner’s sugar. Spread in a foil-lined 8-inch-square pan. Press 1 1/2 cups chopped peanuts on top. Chill until firm and cut into squares.
Chocolate truffles — Bring 1 cup cream and 1/2 stick butter to a boil in a saucepan. Pour over 1 pound finely chopped chocolate, (not chocolate chips) in a bowl. When melted add 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir until smooth. Chill until firm. Scoop with a spoon and roll into balls, then roll in crushed peppermint candies, chopped nuts or cocoa powder. Chill.
Mexican truffles — Make chocolate truffles without the vanilla. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon each ancho chile powder and almond extract, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) into the melted chocolate. Form the chocolate mixture into rounds as above. Roll the rounds, soon to be truffles, in chopped toasted almonds.
Coconut-almond truffles — Combine 3/4 cup almond butter, 1/2 cup each confectioners’ sugar and unsweetened shredded coconut, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Work into a dough. Roll into balls, then roll in shredded coconut. Chill.
Chocolate-raspberry sauce — Simmer 1 cup water, 1/2 cup each sugar and cocoa powder, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 4 ounce chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the chocolate melts. Let cool, then stir in 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur. Divide among 1/2 cup canning jars and chill.
Chocolate haystacks — Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in the microwave. Stir in 2 1/2 cups chow mein noodles until coated. Drop spoonfuls on an oiled parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and let harden.
Chocolate orange peels — Peel 3 oranges (organic is best). Cut the rind into strips and boil in water 15 minutes, then drain and rinse. Simmer 3 cups each sugar and water. Add peels and cook until soft, 45 minutes. Drain and toss in sugar. Transfer to a rack to dry, 8 hours. Dip peel tips in melted bittersweet chocolate. Place on wax paper and let harden.
Sugar plums — Finely chop 1 1/4 cups toasted almonds in a food processor with 1 1/2 cups each prunes and dried apricots, 3 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Roll into balls, then roll in granulated sugar.
Chocolate-hazelnut crunch balls — Mix 3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts, 1 cup crisp rice cereal and 1/2 cup Nutella. Roll into balls, then roll in confectioners’ sugar.
Have fun creating your own edible gifts.