I decided to gift homemade treats this year for the holidays and spent a good part of the day yesterday making a few things.
I made different variations of chocolate bark, 2 kinds of truffles, fudge, peanut clusters and the easiest of them all- chocolate-dipped marshmallows.
* Truffles- I made a few flavored with orange zest and used toasted hazelnuts and cocoa powder as toppings. I'd made balsamic truffles earlier and they were really good.
I got lots of ideas for bark from this month's issue of the Food Network Magazine. I made 3 kinds using different combinations of chocolate and toppings-
*Swirled Bark using white and dark chocolate melted separately, poured onto a baking sheet lined with foil, swirled together and then topped with toasted and coarsely chopped hazelnuts and dried apricot bits.
*Milk Chocolate Bark using milk chocolate as the base layer, a small amount of white chocolate, melted and spread on top of it, and finished off with a sprinkling of chopped up dried cranberries.
*Peppermint Pistachio Fudge using this Mango Power Girl recipe that is an adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe. I used my microwave to make the fudge. I melted 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate and 8 oz. bitter-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and then stirred in a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk and microwaved again for 2 minutes or so. Finally, I added ¾- 1 cup of coarsely chopped pistachios and a teaspoon of mint extract. I poured the thick fudge in my largest baking dish and cooled it for a bit before refrigerating. A few hours later, I took the fudge out of the refrigerator and cut it up into bite-sized portions.
*Chocolate-dipped marshmallows inspired by what I saw here- I used crushed candy canes, toasted hazelnuts, slivered almonds, chopped up dry mango pieces and shredded coconut as toppings.
I put together a few gift bags for my neighbors. Each bag had a few pieces each of the various goodies I’d made. I used these festive take-out boxes for delivering my edible gifts.
Happy Holidays, all!