Holiday goodies provide lovin’ from the oven
What would the holiday season be without sweet treats! There are few sights as wonderful as friends arriving with trays of homemade goodies. What will be on your holiday platter this year?I’ve eaten more than my share of treats over the years (hey, it’s my job!) and while I have enjoyed them all, none can compare to goodies made by a loving hand. Gracing the tongue with sweetness and the heart with warmth – handmade goodies resound with the spirit of the holidays!This week I bring you a few of my favorite holiday classics: sugarplums, chocolate truffles, fudge and nut clusters. They’re all easy, and I’m confident you can make them all in a single afternoon. Sure you can buy holiday treats, but they could never compare to the satisfaction, comfort and warmth of homemade.Pull on your apron, turn on some holiday music and get the young ones into the act. Soon the whole family will be tasting the love! – Buon Appetito, Salùte! Chef Michaelangelo (Mick) Rosacci and family own and operate Tony’s Meats & Specialty Foods and Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering in Littleton and Centennial. For more recipes, visit http://www.TonysMarket.com.SugarplumsThere was a time that dried fruits and nuts were winter’s finest treats, and that is when holiday classics such as sugarplums and fruitcake came about.3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup dried apricots3/4 cup dried dates3/4 cup walnuts1 cup blanched almonds1/4 cup orange juiceconfectioner’s or granular sugarIn a blender or food processor, pulse the raisins, apricots, dates, walnuts, and almonds until coarse. Add the orange juice and pulse just until the mixture sticks together. Roll into 1-inch balls, then roll in sugar. Place into candy paper liners or separate in layers with waxed paper. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator, re-dusting with sugar just before serving as needed.Chocolate Truffles8 ounces high quality semi-sweet chocolate2 ounces high quality milk chocolate1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sugar2 tablespoons butternuts, cocoa powder, powdered sugar or melted chocolateAdd cream, butter and sugar to a heavy 2-quart pan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and add chunked chocolate, stirring constantly until melted. Transfer to a stainless or glass bowl, cover and cool in refrigerator overnight.Use a spoon to scoop portions of chocolate and roll in your hands into round balls (don’t worry about perfect shapes). Roll in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, chopped/sliced nuts or dip in tempered milk, dark or white chocolate.Heartfelt FudgeA heart-healthy fudge everyone can enjoy!3/4 cup chopped walnuts1 can (14 ounces) low-fat sweetened condensed milk 2 cups coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon Amaretto extractIn a medium saucepan, bring condensed milk to a simmer over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Fold in both chocolates. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Stir in walnuts and Amaretto extract. Spread evenly into an 8-by-11 baking pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm and cut into squares. Store in airtight container.Best served cold. – Chef Eddie Matney, Eddie Matney’s, Phoenix, Ariz.Easy Rocky Road Fudge1/3 cup butter1 cup evaporated milk1 1/2 cups sugar1/4 teaspoon salt12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or a combination of semisweet and milk chocolate – Callebaut Belgian chocolate highly recommended!)1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted1 cup mini marshmallows
Combine butter, evaporated milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth. Fold in the almonds and marshmallows. Pour into an 8-by-8 baking pan, preferably silicone. Chill until firm, about 2 to 4 hours. Remove from pan and cut into squares. Chocolate Nut Clusters8 ounces raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc)pinches of salt10 ounces chocolate (milk, dark or combo)2-3 ounces white chocolate (garnish)Place nuts on a roasting pan and roast at 350 degrees until brown and sizzling. Remove, sprinkle with salt and cool.Break chocolate into pieces with a heavy knife. Place half into the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water and melt (ideally to 100 degrees – be slow and patient, overheating will seize chocolate). Remove from heat, add remaining chocolate and stir until melted.Gently fold cooled nuts into melted chocolate. Using a spoon, pile individual clusters on parchment paper, spooning any remaining chocolate over the top. Cool.Melt white chocolate in double boiler. Using a spoon, fork or chopstick, drizzle over cooled chocolates to decorate. – Chef Mick Rosacci, Tony’s Meats & Specialty Foods
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