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Fresh berries will dress up this easy-to-prepare dessert

Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Here's a dessert that is restaurant quality but can be done in your kitchen.

Fresh berries are readily available at all the major markets and are reasonably priced.

This dessert really is a showcase center of the buffet display that will have all of your guests heading for the dessert first. It's very easily made and kept refrigerated until serving time.

For the best presentation, individual champagne flutes are the selection. However, other half-cup size clear glasses or bowls will work.

Fresh berries in champagne jelly

(makes eight servings)

1 liter champagne or sparkling wine

1 1 / 2 tablespoons gelatin

1 cup sugar

4 strips lemon rind

4 strips orange rind

1 2 / 3 cups small strawberries, hulled (sliced or quartered if needed to fit the glass)

1 2 / 3 cups blueberries

Pour 2 cups of champagne or sparkling white wine into a bowl and let the bubbles subside. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top in an even layer.

Wait until the gelatin is spongy, do not stir. Place the remaining champagne in a large pan with the sugar, lemon and orange rind and heat gently, stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the gelatin mixture and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Leave the jelly to cool completely, then remove the orange and lemon rind.

Divide the strawberries and blueberries among eight half-cup flutes, glasses or bowls and pour the jelly over them. Chill until the jelly has fully set. Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes prior to serving.

Chef's note: Keep this in mind for your wedding, rehearsal dinners, graduations and just about any formal fancy event.

• • •

If you just gotta have chocolate, here's a candy for you. It makes about six-dozen individual candies so you'll have enough treats to go around.

The paraffin wax will be found in the baking section of larger markets or at craft and hobby centers with the candy making supplies

Chocolate peanutbutter balls

(makes about six dozen)

1 cup butter or regular margarine

1 1 / 4 cup crunch-style peanut butter

1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted

3 1 / 2 cups toasted rice cereal

6-ounce package semisweet chocolate pieces

8-ounce milk chocolate bar (you will need only 4 ounces)

piece of paraffin wax, cut-up

Melt the butter in a heavy, two-quart saucepan over low heat. Add the peanut butter and stir until blended. Remove from the heat.

Combine the confectioners' sugar and rice cereal in a mixing bowl. Pour the hot peanut butter mixture over all and mix thoroughly.

Use your hands to form and shape the mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on wax paper-lined baking sheets. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Combine the chocolate pieces, milk chocolate bar and paraffin in the top half of a double boiler. Place over hot water until melted. Dip the chilled peanut balls in the chocolate mixture to coat. Place on the wax paper lined baking sheets.

Cool in the refrigerator then transfer to a container and again and store in the refrigerator.

My friends, the happiest of holidays to you all. May all the blessings you receive be the ones you need the most.

As always, enjoy.

David Kelly has been a chef for more than 40 years. He has been sharing recipes and cooking tips in Culinary Corner for 21 years.

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