Recipes: Quick Holiday Goodies

If you need a quick hostess gift or addition to your holiday cookie tray, here are three super easy recipes that have always produced great results for me.

Candy Cane Hearts
Mini candy canes
white candy coating (sometimes called Almond Bark)

For each heart, you will need 2 mini candy canes. I crush the inevitable broken ones in a plastic bag using a rolling pin to sprinkle later. Melt candy coating according to package directions. If it's too thick to pour, try adding a tiny bit of vegetable oil until you get the right consistency.

Line a work surface with waxed paper. Arrange two candy canes into a heart shape. Fill with melted candy coating. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Cool, then carefully peel from the paper.

No Fail Truffle Recipe (about 6 dozen)
From A Treasury of Christmas ©1996

18 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (1 and a half packages)
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
Coatings: cocoa powder, powdered sugar, sprinkles, finely chopped nuts, or flaked coconut

In heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chips with sweetened condensed milk. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Chill 2 hours or tuntil firm. Shape mixture into 1 inch balls; roll in coatings. Chill 1 hour or until firm. Store covered at room temperature.

For flavor variations, omit vanilla and swap in 3 Tablespoons of flavored liqueur.

To flavor the truffles, I've successfully used Peppermint Schnapps, Triple Sec, Kahlua, or Chambord. All give a wonderful flavor without overpowering the chocolate flavor. If you want to get super fancy, you can buy some candy coating to dip the finished truffles in. Let them set, then drizzle with colored melted candy wafers (such as Wilton Candy Melts).

Mint Chocolate Candy Bark 
Recipe adapted from Nestle

1 package Nestle Dark Chocolate and Mint Morsels
crushed green mint hard candies/candy canes

Preheat oven to 325F. Empty the package of chips out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and smoosh them close together so that they are touching, roughly a flat 11 x 7 rectangle. Bake for a measly 1-3 minutes. They'll probably still look like chips. Test them to make sure they're melting, then swirl gently with the tip of a butter knife. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint (you can use nuts, too).

You want to lift the tray up about 2-4 inches above the counter and let it drop to release any air bubbles and settle the topping into the chocolate. Cool in the refrigerator until hard; break into pieces.

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