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.
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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.