These simple seasonal sweets bring extra joy to any celebration. Serve them up at holiday gatherings, or give them as holiday gifts.
Fruit jellies are a lighter bite on the dessert tray, and their natural color from the fruit juice and sparkle from the sanding sugar help make any holiday spread pop. Liquid pectin is available in the canning area of many grocery stores. You’ll need a candy thermometer. (Recipe.)
The classic pairing of sweet and salty makes these candied pecans pretty addictive, and the recipe works well with walnuts and cashews, too. You’ll need a candy thermometer. (Pecan recipe.) Popcorn, especially when lightly kissed with white chocolate, makes a great canvas for other flavors, like cinnamon and blue raspberry. You can experiment with other hard candies, such as candy canes and toffee, to create your own signature holiday treat. (Popcorn recipe.)
Using melting wafers or disks rather than regular chocolate, which must be tempered to reach the right consistency, is a big timesaver when making chocolate peppermint bark. There are many quality products on the market; I like Ghirardelli and Wilton. If you want to use regular chocolate, read up on tempering so the finished product has just the right snap. (Recipe.)
These chocolate truffles are rich in taste but don’t demand a lot of prep time. If you don’t care for the strong coffee flavor, simply omit the powdered espresso in the truffles and the coating mixture. (Recipe.)Denise Drower Swidey is a frequent contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.