Dutch Chocolate-Mint Truffles
Yield: about 30
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup fresh mint (lightly packed)
12 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup Vandermint (chocolate-mint) liqueur or creme de cacao
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, grated
About 30 paper candy cups
Bring cream and mint leaves to boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Cover; let steep 1 hour.
Strain into large bowl, pressing on leaves to release cream. Return cream to saucepan. Simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Add 12 ounces chopped chocolate and butter to cream. Whisk over low heat until melted and smooth. Stir in liqueur and vanilla extract. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
Scoop up 1 tablespoon chocolate mixture. Roll between palms to form ball, then roll ball in grated chocolate. Place in candy cup. Repeat with remaining chocolate mixture and grated chocolate. Arrange truffles in airtight containers; chill. Let stand at room temperature10 minutes before serving.
Almond Fruit Balls
1 cup whole natural almonds, toasted
1 (6 ounce) package mixed dried fruit bits
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
Place almonds in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade; process until finely chopped. Add fruit, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pulse on and off a few times, then process to make a rough paste. Add liqueur and process to make a firm, sticky paste. (Add more liqueur, a few drops at a time, if needed to make a slightly moist dough.)
Shape into 1-inch balls, rolling between palms of hands. Pack loosely in airtight container with wax paper between layers.
Serve as confections or as dessert with coffee or tea.
These make a nice gift, packed in an attractive tin or box. Recipe can be doubled.
Christmas Peanut Butter Fudge
16 ounces white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped candied cherries
Butter the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch square pan. Line pan with aluminum foil.
Melt white chocolate chips in double boiler; add peanut butter and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and add nuts and cherries. Pour into prepared pan. Let set long enough to become firm. Cut and serve.