As my friends know really well, I love food. And eating. And cooking. And sharing food with people. It's a frustrating obsession for someone who lives in a dorm with no kitchen access.
So when I decided to make some holiday gifts before I moved back to school, I went hard. Hard enough that by the time I was done getting everything ready, it was dark and I only had time to take poorly-styled cell phone photos. Not pictured: Peanut Butter Oatmeal dog treats that have gotten great reviews from my testers.
Candied Pecans that are brag-worthy because not only are they amazing, but I hand-shelled the entire half pound after my brother and dad picked them from my grandfather's orchard.
Funfetti Cookies from scratch, because the boyfriend is obsessed with funfetti but box mixes make me feel like a slacker. These are so good with about 3/4 teaspoon of almond extract added to the dough. Full disclosure: I used the cornstarch+all purpose substitution to cake flour, and the texture turned out really lovely.
My personal favorite, Chocolate Truffles. I've made these several times before and they're always popular, but I've just pieced together my own recipe from others found online. They've got plenty of room for trial and error since it's hard to make chocolate taste bad, the biggest issue is keeping them from melting.
Start with a 12-oz bag of chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli, and I used semisweet here to appeal to a wider range of people than a darker chocolate) in a mixing bowl.
Heat just a little less than 1 cup of heavy cream, and 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter together until the butter melts and it's just about to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips. The cream will slowly melt the chips, so whisk it together but be patient because at first you'll be worried that it's not working. After about five minutes, if it isn't a smooth, amazingly decadent looking ganache, pop it over a double boiler to finish it off. Hold on to your self control, and put it in the fridge to cool for several hours (freezer if you have less time).
Using a teaspoon, scoop out pieces of the ganache and transfer into a container, then let them sit in the freezer again for at least an hour. Work quickly, and again with the self control. This stuff is so soft and luxurious straight out of the fridge, and this step ramps up my obsession with food sensations. Weird.
Finally, roll the pieces in your palms to form into irregular balls and coat them in cocoa powder. Pop them right back into the fridge, and keep them stored there. This time, mine are softening especially easy, but when they're more stable they're really good after spending time at room temp before eating. Also, my chocolate chips didn't melt 100%, but I've been told the little bits of harder chocolate makes them even better. feel free to add in liquors, extracts, chopped nuts, crushed candy canes, etc. This recipe makes around 50, which is enough for yourself and maybe two other friends.
Hope everyone had a lovely holiday, and is on track for a lovely new year!