What to Bring to a Tree-Trimming Party?

I will be attending my first tree-trimming party this Sunday, and I have five others in the next two weeks.

I am thrilled! After all who doesn't like taking big sips of eggnog and smooching under the mistletoe!? But at the same time I'm worried I will spend so much on ingredients that I won't have much left over to buy gifts this holiday season.

A friend of mine and I are already making paper snowflakes to hang on the holiday tree. I am sure he will be making something spectacularly delicious to bring as well. Ideally I would like to bake a treat for all the upcoming get togethers and am considering the Bittersweet Chocolate and Walnut Fudge (see recipe below) recipe from our Edible Holiday Gifts story. Being the host of a party can get pricey, but being an invitee can be, too. I don't want to appear a cheap-o guest.

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE AND WALNUT FUDGE

Bon Appétit | March 2005

Yield: Makes 35 pieces

Espresso powder makes this creamy fudge taste more intensely chocolaty. Any nuts you prefer (such as pecans or macadamia nuts) can stand in for the walnuts.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 12-ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving overhang. Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl.

Stir sugar and evaporated milk in heavy large deep saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boil. Attach clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Boil until temperature registers 234°F, stirring constantly and adjusting heat to avoid boiling over, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour milk mixture over chocolate mixture. Whisk until chocolate and butter melt and fudge is smooth. Mix in nuts and vanilla.

Spread fudge evenly in prepared pan. Refrigerate uncovered until cold and set, about 3 hours. Using foil as aid, lift fudge from pan. Cut crosswise into 7 strips, then lengthwise into 5 strips. Return to pan, cover, and chill. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.)


Do you have a go to budget-friendly dessert that you'd like to make for holiday parties?

By Carolina Santos-Neves

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