I'll cut to the chase: chocolate.
Bittersweet chocolate, to be precise, made into exquisite truffles, with affordable, readily available ingredients from the supermarket. They're gorgeous, so easy to make, and the flavors are endlessly variable. I even tested them with non-dairy cream cheese (Tofutti brand) and they were perfection.
I advise making these when no one else is around. You'll want the privacy to lick your hands, bowl, spatula and cookie scoop post-rolling.
Speaking of cookie scoops: if you like to bake cookies and you do not yet own one, or two or more, you need to remedy the situation post haste. They make perfectly shaped drop cookie and balls (scoop, then roll between hands), which means each cookie in every batch will be baked perfectly. They are also ideal for truffles, meatballs, and more. Although expensive at cooking stores, they are now very affordable (about $5) at superstores like Target and (I know, boo-hiss) Wal-Mart.
So-Easy Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles
1 and 1/3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (e.g., Ghiradelli)
1 8-ounce package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl according to package directions. Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Refrigerate until firm.
Use a small cookie scoop or tablespoon to shape into 36 balls. Place cocoa on a dinner plate; generously roll and coat truffles in cocoa. Place on parchment or wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container between sheets of parchment or wax paper. Makes 3 dozen truffles.
Non-Dairy/Vegan Chocolate Truffles: Substitute 1 8-ounce tub Tofutti brand “Better Than Cream Cheese” for the cream cheese.
Go wild--think spices, extracts, citurs juice and zests, nuts, coconut, you name it. Don't forget to vary the chocolate, too from semisweet, to milk to white.
Spiked Truffles: Use 1 tablespoon of your favorite spirit or liqueur in place of the vanilla.
Dipped Truffles: Melt a 12-ounce package chocolate chips (bittersweet, semisweet, or white). Use fork to dip truffles; return to cookie sheet. Decorate with a sprinkle of chopped chocolate, pralines, candies, sprinkles—whatever suits your fancy—then refrigerate 1 hour.