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Small bites make holiday entertaining easier

(BPT) – Mouth-watering desserts in small bites are all the rage this holiday season. Guests love the idea of having lots of choices at holiday gatherings, so more options in smaller portions will be popular this year.

According to Sissy Biggers, lifestyle expert and former Food Network Ready, Set Cook! host, smaller bites allow you to stage an elaborate holiday soiree more easily.

“It’s easy to create a fun, memorable holiday party with simple entertaining techniques that yield big results! Guests will love the variety of smaller treats that pack big flavors and the simple addition of decorative touches effortlessly transform the look of a room in minutes,” she says.

Turning your favorite holiday recipes into delightful nibbles is easy, too. Following are some great entertainment tips for making a wider assortment of holiday treats in smaller bites and serving them up in style:

* Small bites, big delights – Turn your favorite holiday recipes into delightful nibbles, allowing your guests to sample a larger variety of treats throughout the party.

* Elegant, dipped desserts – There’s no need to make everything from scratch. Add some holiday pizzazz to pretzels, fruit, nuts or cookies using Ghirardelli’s new Premium Dark and White Candy Making & Dipping wafers. Simply melt the wafers in the microwave and dip or drizzle over your favorite treats. It’s a quick way to dress up your holiday treats.

* Add a hot chocolate bar – Let your guests get in the act by setting up a make-your-own sundae station or a hot cocoa bar. Stock with chocolate pieces, whipped cream, sprinkles and Ghirardelli’s new Premium Hot Cocoa flavors: Chocolate Caramel, Double Chocolate and Chocolate Mocha. It’s not only fun for your guests, but also easy to prepare.

* Decorate with flair – Sprinkle glitter on tabletops and place small glazed pinecones or miniature holiday balls and baubles around the room to add a chic and decorative touch. Artfully arrange food to add interest to buffet tables. Position food on tiers using holiday tins in a variety of heights to create visual interest and maximize often-limited table space.

* Be creative with your presentation – Add flare by serving treats in nontraditional ways – a big margarita glass, small shot glasses or baked small bites on clear glass pottery.

If you’re looking to try something new this holiday season, consider this delightful dessert recipe.

Ghirardelli Dessert Cups


4 cups Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers

8 small water balloons

For mousse:

8 ounces Ghirardelli Classic White Baking Chips

4 tablespoons orange liqueur

2 tablespoons water

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 egg whites


In a double boiler over hot water, melt 2 cups of wafers. Cool about 5 minutes. Inflate balloons to 4 inches in diameter and tie ends in a knot. Holding balloons by the knot, dip into melted wafers, tipping to cover balloon halfway up. Place balloon, knotted side up, on wax paper-lined baking sheet, holding balloon in place until it starts to set. Repeat with remaining balloons to make 8 cups. Place in freezer for 5 minutes.

Melt remaining 2 cup of wafers and repeat dipping procedure. Place in freezer for 10 minutes. Snip hole in each balloon to deflate. Carefully peel away from dessert cups. Refrigerate until needed. Use the same day. Fill cups with ice cream, sorbet, mousse or fresh fruit such as raspberries or strawberries.

For mousse:

In double boiler over hot water, melt white chips with liqueur and water; stir gently to blend. Cool until melted white chips mixture no longer feels warm to the touch. In large bowl with electric mixer, beat cream until soft peaks form. Fold cream into melted white chip mixture. In large bowl with clean mixer, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. With rubber spatula, fold egg whites into white chips mixture. Divide mousse among 6 dessert bowls or glasses. Chill at least 1 hour.

Makes 8 servings.

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