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Robyncz
08-26-2001, 07:45 PM
Okay, I'm jumping the gun a bit, but I've started thinking (just thinking!!) about the holidays. Each year, I exchange home-made food gifts with a small circle of friends. We've exchanged things like bean soup mix, cookie and brownie "mixes," marmelades, citrus vodka, home-made caramels, etc. This year I seem to be plum out of ideas and I was hoping you guys might have some.

One thought I had from reading some recent threads was home-made vanilla, but besides not knowing how to make it, I don't know if it is something I could "package" so that it looks nice. What do you think? Any other inspired ideas?

Thanks in advance!

Robyn

tracey67
08-26-2001, 08:29 PM
Robyn - what a great thread! I can't wait to keep checking back to see other people's ideas!

I love giving food as gifts - to me it's more personal and it's also pretty inexpensive. Here are some previous gifts:

Kitchen Potpourri -- buy WHOLE spices from Penzeys (whole nutmeg, star anise, cloves, allspice berries, cardamom pods and any other WHOLE large spices you can find) and package this inside a really nice bowl. Wrap in colored plastic and tie with a ribbon. When you buy the bags from Penzeys you usually get enough spices to fill a few bowls. Once the bowls are unwrapped they smell really great, plus the person can also grab the individual spices to use in cooking if they want.

Red Lentil Soup Kit -- This soup is really easy to make and the kit is very simple - basically just red lentils and a garam masala mixture. I wrap the spice mixture separately and put the lentils and spice mixture into a large Bell canning jar. Add the recipe card, and wrap any number of ways. All the cook has to do is add some stock and an onion. Even though this gift is so simple, it's nice to give because the soup calls for lots of spices that most people don't have.

Biscotti Bucket -- fill a small galvanized bucket with packages of biscotti and some coffee and/or hot cocoa packets. I usually make 3-4 different flavors of biscotti, including: blueberry-pecan, chocolate-cherry, cappuccino, and double chocolate with walnuts.

Breakfast Basket -- Mix together all the dry ingredients for cinnamon pancakes and put these with a recipe into a Bell jar, add a nice bottle of real maple syrup, and some coffee and hot cocoa packets.

I also just make big batches of assorted cookies and quick breads and wrap these nicely.

tracey

Missi
08-26-2001, 08:44 PM
I have been thinking about this too! (Never too early to plan!) I was thinking of making some dipping oils (with olive oil) and some flavored vinegars. I was also considering flavored sugars, such as vanilla and orange. And, maybe some homemade mustards or BBQ sauces. I have been saving interesting jars to have a large supply when the holidays come around. I look forward to other replies to this thread!

lisas3575
08-26-2001, 09:11 PM
I'm planning on making up pints of Pear Preserves... wish me luck!!:eek:

Melman
08-26-2001, 09:17 PM
Robyncz, I've given homemade vanilla in the past. To make it look more "gift-like", buy tall bottles at a place like Michael's or Gardenridge or whatever craft store is near you. I can't remember exactly where I got mine, but it seems like the bottles were very affordable. I probably let the alcohol and vanilla beans "blend" in the alcohol bottle and then poured everything into the purchased bottle (bean and all....I think the beans help it to keep a strong vanilla smell....my own personal vanilla bottle probably has 10 or so beans in it. )

Jewel
08-26-2001, 10:01 PM
Originally posted by Melman
I think the beans help it to keep a strong vanilla smell....my own personal vanilla bottle probably has 10 or so beans in it.

Oh Melman, tell me that was a typo!! 10 Beans?? I was all ready to make 5 or 6 bottles of Homemade Vanilla for my mother, MIL, SIL and assorted friends and family memebers, but I read on this board that 3 or 4 beans fills a 750ml bottle of dark rum quite nicely! Those Madagascar Vanilla Beans from Penzey's are well-priced, but buying 50 or 60 beans would set me back a car payment or two! :eek:

If it WASN'T a typo and you really use 10 beans...why? Can I get by with the 3 or 4 that I originally intended without sacrificing flavor? :confused:

LaraW
08-26-2001, 10:03 PM
I have been thinking for a while that I would like to do the jars of cookie and/or soup mix. Does anyone have instructions on the "layered" cookie mix? That seems like something that I could do in a short period of time - unlike the day I made 20 dozen cookies! :)

Thanks!
Lara

flourgirl
08-26-2001, 10:12 PM
Robyn,

Making homemade vanilla is apparently gaining popularity because I keep seeing receipes for it everywhere I go. I've heard of 2 different methods, one using vodka and another using bourbon. Although I threw out the source that contained the last version I saw (last Sunday's paper), I can tell you that you just fill a bottle with the liquor and add 1-3 vanilla beans (cut or slit them to let the flavor come through)......I suppose the amount would vary based on how big the bottle is that you're using. And don't bother using the expensive alcohol.....the cheap stuff works just fine.

The good news is that you are NOT thinking about this too early as homemade vanilla takes a couple months to ferment.....the longer the better I say. If you start now, you'll have some deeeeeee-licious vanilla to use in your holiday recipes and to give as gifts!! If you want specific intructions, I know that one of the many recipes I found was in Martha Stewart Living....maybe in the May or June issue (somewhere around there).....but I'm sure she has it listed on her site.

Aside from the vanilla, some of the other things I've given as gifts include hot chocolate mix, pasta sauce and herbed vinegars/oils......which I usually package in a basket or bag with complimenting items (gourmet pasta, breadsticks and a pasta spoon to go with the homemade sauce, for example).

In any case, I'm excited to see some of the other ideas in this thread, because I could use a few new ones!

Cheers,
Michele

Beth
08-26-2001, 10:31 PM
Originally posted by LaraW
I have been thinking for a while that I would like to do the jars of cookie and/or soup mix. Does anyone have instructions on the "layered" cookie mix? That seems like something that I could do in a short period of time - unlike the day I made 20 dozen cookies! :)

Thanks!
Lara

There was a popular thread last year that had a number of recipes for mixes in jars and some links to other sites for more recipes. I could not find them in the archives here, but I will find what I can and post them in a new thread (since that may get long itself).

Beth
08-26-2001, 10:54 PM
What about homemade pasta? Always impressive and it can be as simple or as fancy as you like (plain, filled, flavored, etc.). It can be a gift in itself, or be paired with a sauce, some vino or other goodies.

For a special neighbor or friend you know will be entertaining, what about baking a cheesecake or other fabulous dessert? A casserole or other prepared meal? A basket of muffins or scones would also be good. Both of these require a little planning and coordination for timing and delivery.

In the candy category, I like to make peanut and other nut brittles (pecan, cashew, mixed nuts). Popcorn and nuts glazed with toffee-like coatings. Divinity is a treat, plain or dipped in chocolae or caramel. A box of homemade mints that could be put out during the holidays.

We used to get a jar of homemade chocolate or hot fudge sauce from a neighbor every year and looked forward to it.

I am making flavored vinegars this year. They came as the by-product of some seedless raspberry jam and the desire to not waste even the seedy pulp. I have also done a mixed berry, blueberry and cranberry.

In years past, I have made other jellies and jams. Some more unusual ones include:
key lime marmalade (you have to love the bitterness and tartness of marmalade for this one)
pineapple-apricot marmalade made with dried apricots and canned pineapple (easy to make any time and wonderful)
ruby red (grapefruit) marmalade
red onion marmalade
tapenade
pineapple cranberry jelly (beatiful Christmas color)
Sezchuan pickle

Melman
08-27-2001, 05:00 AM
Jewel...nope, there really are probably about 10 or so beans in my bottle of vodka. BUT....I didn't start with 10!! I have the same bottle that I've been using for years. Whenever the liquid drops to maybe half a bottle, I add more vodka (or rum...depending on the bottle). Whenever the strength of the vanilla smell starts fading, I throw in another bean.

Why do I do that and not toss the old ones? Well..the main reason is because the person who sold me my first vanilla beans gave me an instruction sheet and told me that's what they've always done. The 'logical' reason is because I know it takes a little while for a fresh vanilla bean to turn alcohol into vanilla that can be used. If I took out the old beans, I'd be stuck with a bottle of alcohol with new vanilla beans that might not keep the vanilla strength and smell as yummy. Make sense? In other words, I don't want to take a chance on having weak-smelling vanilla.

But...if I'm giving it as a gift....there are TWO beans in the bottle. It's my own personal stash that has the multitude of beans in it. ;-) Never had a problem...the bottle looks kind of strange...but it smells heavenly when it's opened!!!

Nirak
08-27-2001, 05:24 AM
My children made this gift for their teachers and bus drivers last year:


Snowman Soup:

1 packet of home-made hot chocolate mix
several hershey's kisses
several marshmallows

put in a paper bag stamped with snowman stamps. Fold over the top and punch two holes and then insert a candy cane as a handle. We had a cute little poem that gave the instructions to make up the hot chocolate, add the kisses & marshmallows and stir with the candy cane. I got this idea from a craft site, but we definately ran with it and enhanced it somewhat. They handed them out to all the "special" teachers too. We got rave reviews and many stopped me and asked permission to copy it next year. That is truly a gift that keeps on giving!

Peggy C.
08-27-2001, 05:37 AM
How about home made and jarred Salsa? It is that time of year when tomatoes are plentiful!

I also have arecipe for spiced pecans, not an original, but very yummy. Of course pecans can be pretty pricey also.

Julie A
08-27-2001, 06:49 AM
I love this thread!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last year, I made blueberry jam and canned it for Chrismas gifts - this year wasn't so great for blueberries, so I was looking for something else.

There's some great ideas here!

michelern
08-27-2001, 07:08 AM
I loved the idea on making and jarring fresh salsa. I have a question however. I have never in my life "jarred" anything so how could I do it with salsa?? I have really only been cooking for a few years and there are many many things I haven't conquered yet. Jarring would be one of them. I would love to learn!!

BlueMoose
08-27-2001, 07:13 AM
OK...nobody will be surprised to hear me piping in with this...
homemade dog treats are always a hit with dogs and their owners. You can't forget dogs at Christmas time, can you? :D

Chrisi ;)

Peggy C.
08-27-2001, 07:17 AM
I'm not going to claim to be an expert on jarring, but I've done a little bit with success. I used the Ball instructions, I think it's called the Ball blue book or something like that. Check with old fashioned hardware stores, they have the supplies and know how.

Oh and recipes.

Jewel
08-27-2001, 08:05 AM
Originally posted by Melman
Jewel...nope, there really are probably about 10 or so beans in my bottle of vodka. BUT....I didn't start with 10!! I have the same bottle that I've been using for years. Whenever the liquid drops to maybe half a bottle, I add more vodka (or rum...depending on the bottle). Whenever the strength of the vanilla smell starts fading, I throw in another bean.

Melman, one more question please!! Why would the vanilla strength and smell start fading? If the bean has already 'fermented' into the alcohol and flavored it, wouldn't the vanilla be as complete as one bought in the grocery as long as it was in a sealed bottle? I'd hate to give my MIL a huge 750ml bottle of vanilla and tell her that halfway through it's gonna fade and she may have to add more pricey vanilla beans! :eek:

Also, what's the general opinion on type of alcohol? I bought Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, but I've heard on this thread vodka, dark rum, bourbon... :confused: What's everyone's favorite and why?

Beth
08-27-2001, 08:05 AM
I haven't tried it yet, but if you do a search for canned salsa, you should come up with a couple of threads where a couple of us gave basic instructions as well as referrals to the Ball Blue Book or Kerr canning book (about $5, and may be available at Walmart or Target, possibly on clearance). I think one of my earlier posts had the website to order it from (allistra.com, I think). I also think I posted a picante sauce recipe that we made 3 gallons of this year. You need a large stock pot for canning, another large pot for cooking your goodies, canning jars, and a jar lifter -- not a lot of extra equipment is essential. A canning or wide mouthed funnel will make things easier and neater and is worth a couple of bucks. Ball sells a starter kit that has the jar lifter, canning funnel and a lid dunker (for lack of a better term), possible a spatula, and I think it sells in the $8 range. If you have trouble finding the earlier info, send me a pm or let's start a new thread.

On the vanilla theme, I have one preserving book that has instructions for vanilla brandy -- 1 or 2 vanilla beans in a pint of brandy for at least 2 weeks. Says it can be used in place of vanilla extract, lasts forever and the beans can be used until they lose their strength. It might be fun to do something that is a little different from plain vanilla. That opens a whole bunch of other possibilities -- like spiced rum, cinnamon schnapps, and so on.

Beth
08-27-2001, 08:07 AM
Originally posted by BlueMoose
OK...nobody will be surprised to hear me piping in with this...
homemade dog treats are always a hit with dogs and their owners. You can't forget dogs at Christmas time, can you? :D

Chrisi ;)

But no one ever has cat treats. Maybe because cats think everything is their treat! :D

I do have a recipe for cakes to put out in bird feeders if anyone wants that.

Linda in MO
08-27-2001, 08:42 AM
I love giving food gifts! Here are some of my tried and true favorites. Warning--it's long.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Chocolate Pretzel Rings

Recipe By :Quick Cooking, Nov/Dec 98
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Appetizer/Snack

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
48 pretzel rings -- (48 to 50)
1 pkg. milk chocolate kisses -- (8oz)
1/4 cup red and green M & M's

Place the pretzels on greased baking sheets; place a chocolate kiss in the center of each ring.

Bake at 275 degrees for 2-3 min. or until chocolate is softened. Remove from the oven.

Place am M & M on each, press down slightly so chocolate fills the ring. Refrigerate for 5-10 min. or until chocolate is firm. Store at room temp.

Yield:
"4 dozen"


NOTES : I made a huge batch of these last year. YUM!!! I made some with regular Hershey's kisses, some with Hershey's Hugs, and some with Rolos. Plus I used the Christmas "crispy" M&M's (the inside is like a Crunch bar). This recipe is a keeper!
By the way, I used the mini pretzels since they don't have the pretzel rings in my area. They worked great.

*************************************************

* Exported from MasterCook *

Cranberry Jalapeno Jelly

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Appetizer/Snack , Preserving and Canning,
Sauces/Condiments

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3 cups cranberry juice -- (or cran-raspberry juice)
1 cup jalapeno peppers -- chopped and seeded
7 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
2 pouches liquid fruit pectin (Certo) -- 3 ounces each
10 drops red food coloring -- optional

Prepare your jars and get all canning supplies ready.

Place cranberry juice and peppers in a blender; cover and process until peppers are fully chopped.

Strain through a double thickness of cheesecloth.

Pour the strained juice into a large kettle; add sugar.

Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Stir in vinegar and pectin; return to a full rolling boil.

Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat; skim foam. Add food coloring, if desired.

Pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust caps.

Process for 5 minutes in a boiling-water bath.


Source:
"Country Woman, July/Aug. 98"
Yield:
"8 (1/2 pints)"


Serving Ideas : Serve the jelly with cream cheese on crackers or use as a condiment with meat or poultry.

**************************************************

You could give a jar or container of this dip and some apples, bananas, and grapes packaged in a nice basket lined with a pretty cloth napkin. Or just use red and green apples to make it look festive for Christmas.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Creamy Caramel Fruit Dip

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Appetizer/Snack , Dessert,
Dip

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
8 ounces cream cheese -- SOFTENED
1/2 c. light brown sugar -- packed
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. pure vanilla extract
green and red apple slices, banana chunks,
and red grapes

Blend 1st four ingredients in a bowl with a mixer until smooth. Chill until serving or serve immediately.

Serve with apple slices, banana chunks, and red grapes.


Serving Ideas : If desired, serve with only apple slices. I use red delicious and granny smith or golden delicious apples.

NOTES : Doesn't seem to get as creamy with light cream cheese. You will probably need to add a little milk to make it thinner.

**************************************************

I made this for my son's preschool Halloween party one year. It was good and it makes a lot.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Halloween Party Mix

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Appetizer/Snack

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 box Ritz miniature peanut butter filled
crackers
1 -11 oz. pkg. small pretzel twists
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbs. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 -18 oz. pkg. candy corn
1 -10 oz. pkg. plain M&M's

Combine the peanut butter filled Ritz bitz, pretzels and peanuts and place in a large greased baking pan (I used my turkey roaster). Set aside.

In saucepan combine butter, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Mixture will foam up.

Pour over the combined pretzel mixture and stir until coated.

Bake in a preheated 250 oven for 45 minutes. Be sure to stir well every 10 minutes.

After baking pour out onto wax paper lined cookies sheets and break mixture apart while still warm.

When cooled completely toss with candies. Store in Tupperware or other airtight container.


Source:
"Taste of Home"
Yield:
"16 cups"


NOTES : This makes about 16 cups of party mix. Looks cute when placed in festive Fall or Halloween bags and tied with raffia or ribbon.

**************************************************

This is awesome!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Apple Bread with Streusel Topping

Recipe By :Penzey's Spices catalog
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Breakfast , Muffin/Quick Bread


Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 cups apples -- 4-5 large apples--they used McIntosh and I used gala
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil -- they suggest canola
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated white sugar
Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 Tablespoons butter -- room temp.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9x5 loaf pans and set aside.

Peel, core, and cut the apples up in good size chunks, about 1 inch in size. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the oil and beat until combined. Add the vanilla, almond extract, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Beat until thoroughly mixed.

Next add the flour and sugar and mix on low just to blend. Turn mixer to high and beat until mixture is smooth. The batter will be very thick.

Fold in the chopped apples, mixing by hand so the apples do not get too broken up.

Divide the mixture between the two pans. Since the batter is so thick, it is easiest to spoon the batter into the pans.

To prepare the topping, combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture with a fork or pastry blender until moist and crumbly. (Can also use your hands). Sprinkle equal amounts of topping on each loaf.

Bake for about 1 hour on the center rack of the oven. The loaf should feel fairly firm when touched in the middle, or cook an extra 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans.

Yield:
"2 loaves"

NOTES : The first time I made this I cut the recipe in half, but forgot to cut the vanilla and almond extract in half. It was still great, so use more vanilla and almond extract if desired.

************************************************

These are surprisingly very good and really do taste like Butterfingers.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Mock Butterfingers

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Candy , Cookies/Brownies


Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
Wheat Thins crackers or "Original"
Wheatables
creamy peanut butter
1 pkg. almond bark (white or chocolate)--I used
the white


Melt almond bark in a heavy pan on low, stirring ocassionally until melted completely.

Meanwhile, spread peanut butter on one side of wheat cracker and place another cracker on top, like a sandwich.

Dip them in the melted almond bark (I used small tongs), shaking off excess chocolate.

Place on foil sprayed with Pam. Let dry.


NOTES : I sprinkled multi-colored sprinkles on them while they were still wet. You can also do this same thing with Ritz crackers and peanut butter, or peanut butter Ritz Bits.

************************************************

These are good.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Double-Fudge Brownie Mix

Recipe By :The Perfect Mix
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Cookies/Brownies , Mixes


Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa (not Dutch process)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients together in an airtight container or ziploc bag OR layer in a jar or glass cannister.


NOTES : Attach this to the Jar:

Double-Fudge Brownies
Makes 24

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
4 eggs
1 package Double-Fudge Brownie Mix

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 12 by 9 inch pan. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the Double-Fudge Brownie Mix & continue to beat the mixture until it is smooth. Spread the mixture into the greased pan, & bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

*************************************************

This is one of my favorite "mixes" to give and to eat.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Dill Dip Mix

Recipe By :"The Perfect Mix"
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Appetizer/Snack , Dip,
Mixes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1/2 cup dried dillweed
1/2 cup dried minced onion
1/2 cup dried parsley
1/3 cup Spice Islands® Beau Monde seasoning

Combine all ingredients and attach instructions.

Dill Dip:

1 cup mayonnaise or low-fat mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream or low-fat yogurt
3 Tablespoons Dill Dip Mix

In a medium bowl, using wire whisk, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and dill dip mix.

Refrigerate the dip until ready to serve with raw veggies or as a topping for baked potatoes.

************************************************** *

This is so good!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Lemon Curd

Recipe By :Quick Cooking, Nov/Dec '99, pg. 30
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Spreads

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
6 T. butter -- melted
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 T. fresh lemon zest

In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar.

Stir in butter, lemon juice and zest.

Cook and stir over simmering water for 15 minutes or until mixture reaches 160 degrees and is thickened.

Remove from heat and cool a bit.

Cover and refrigerate until chilled and may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

************************************************

* Exported from MasterCook *

Prailine Sundae Topping

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Dessert , Sauces/Condiments


Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
16 large marshmallows
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
dash salt
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup chopped pecans -- toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
ice cream

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add brown sugar, marshmallows, corn syrup and salt. Cook and stir over low heat until marshmallows are melted and mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat; cool for 5 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk, pecans and vanilla; mix well.

Serve warm or cold over ice cream. Store in refrigerator.

Source:
"TOH Country Cooking Recipe Collection, Vol. 4"
Yield:
"2 1/2 cups"

Serving Ideas : I bet this would be good over waffles with or without a scoop of ice cream.

*************************************************

* Exported from MasterCook *

CrockPot Apple Butter

Recipe By :Taste of Home, 1997 Annual Recipes, pg.112
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : CrockPot , Preserving and Canning,
Sauces/Condiments

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
5 1/2 lbs. apples -- peeled and chopped
4 cups sugar
2 -3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place apples in CrockPot. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over apples and mix well. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

Reduce heat to low; cover and cook on high for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown, stirring occasionally (stir more frequently as it thickens to prevent sticking).

Uncover and cook on low 1 hour longer. If desired stir with a wire whisk until smooth. Spoon into freezer containers or jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cover and cool; refrigerate or freeze.

Yield:
"4 pints"
************************************************** *

* Exported from MasterCook *

LEMON JELLY

Recipe By : BHG Hometown Cooking
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Jelly, Canning and Preserving

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 large lemons
1 1/2 c. water
4 1/4 c. sugar
1 foil pouch of liquid fruit pectin from a 6 ounce box (like Certo)

Finely shred enough lemon peel to make 1 T (I probably used more). Squeeze juice from lemons to make 3/4 cup. Combine peel, juice, and water; let stand 10 minutes (I think I let it sit a little longer). Strain to remove any pulp and peel; measure out 2 cups juice mixture.

In a heavy pan combine the two cups of lemon juice mixture and the sugar. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Quickly stir in pectin and return to a full boil and boil for one minute.
Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam with a metal spoon.

Ladle into hot sterilized half pint jars leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe off jar rims and adjust lids.

Process in boiling water for 5 minutes (start timing after the water comes to a boil). Remove jars. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 5 half pints.

***********************************************

My son's preschool teachers really liked this.

* Exported from MasterCook *

White Chocolate Snack Mix

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Appetizer/Snack

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3 cups Fritos
2 cups mini pretzel twists
2 cups Chex cereal (I used Honey Nut, I'm sure any would work--an unsweetened version would probably be better)
1 cup M&M's -- peanut or plain
1/2 cup cashews -- optional
1 package white chocolate chips (Ghirardelli chips are good) -- (11 or 12 oz.)

Mix 1st five ingredients in a large bowl.

Melt chips in the microwave according to pkg. directions. (If desired, add 1 T. oil or shortening to the chocolate when you melt it. This will make it smoother and easier to pour.)

Pour over snack mix and stir well.

Pour out onto wax paper or parchment paper lined cookie sheets to dry.

Store in airtight container.


NOTES : Measurements are approximate.

*************************************************

Here is the poem that goes with the Snowman Soup. I included these in gift baskets for my son's preschool teachers. Very cute.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Snowman Soup

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Beverage , Mixes


Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------

Snowman Soup

1 package Hot Chocolate Mix
3 Hershey Kisses or Hershey Hugs
10 miniature marshmallows
1 peppermint Candy Cane

Place all the above into a new mug, then cover or wrap with cellophane,
decorate and attach the following poem:

Was told you've been real good this year
Always glad to hear it
With freezing weather drawing near
You'll need to warm the spirit
So here's a little Snowman Soup
Complete with stirring stick
Add hot water, sip it slow
It's sure to do the trick!

Have a Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year!


Whew! Sorry this is so long! :eek:

Linda in MO
08-27-2001, 08:55 AM
I forgot. I also made these last year--Turtle Pretzel Rods. Large pretzel rods dipped in caramel, then dipped in milk chocolate, then sprinkled with chopped pecans. Very good.

http://www.sturgispretzel.com/Chef_TPS.htm

gertdog
08-27-2001, 08:57 AM
There are some great ideas here! I'm going to try homemade vanilla this year...

A few things I've done...

Spicy Maple Pecans ... no real recipe, I made this one up (although I'm sure it's similar to other candied nut recipes). No butter in this one! I love these and so do my friends and family. I package them in small white chinese take-out containers lined with waxed tissue paper.

Here's what I do:

Toss pecan halves with maple syrup until all pecans are thoroughly moistened. Stir in some granulated sugar... enough to lightly coat the pecans. Sprinkle in a generous amount of cinnamon and some cayenne pepper; stir to distribute. Taste a pecan; adjust amounts of sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne to taste.

Spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350, stirring occasionally, until pecans are toasted and sugar coating has started to harden. Don't overbake! Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet. Break up any clusters and store airtight.

I've also made Orange Biscotti , drizzled it with melted chocolate, and given the biscotti as gifts with cocoa mix. I don't have the recipe here but can post later if anyone would like.

Finally, I learned to make English Toffee several years ago, and now make it many weeks before the holidays, then set it aside to "cure". I have to hide it from my DF though... otherwise it would be all gone before I could package it! Again, I don't have the recipe here, but can post later.

Linda in MO
08-27-2001, 08:58 AM
How about White Chocolate and Raspberry Ripple Brownies?!

http://www.gardenguides.com/recipes/whitechocraspbrownies.htm

Wendy w
08-27-2001, 09:23 AM
Great ideas! I was thinking about food gifts this weekend too. I bought a bottle of dark rum for vanilla and need some brandy for Kahlua.

Last year, I made up jars of spices like southwest seasoning, dried celery and roasted garlic powders, almond roca and peanut brittle (these were a hit with my friends' kids).

This year BF and I are going to attempt sausage making and mustard. I just bought the pasta plates for the Kitchen Aid this weekend and may take Beth's advice and make pasta.

I just got a book called Good Things by Helen Witty (suggested by ReneeV) that has all kinds of interesting gourmet goodies in it like basil biscotti, breads, pasta, mustard, oils and vinegars, pates, etc.

Melman
08-27-2001, 09:40 AM
Hmmm..."wouldn't the vanilla be as complete as one bought in the grocery as long as it was in a sealed bottle?" Good question. You're probably right that it wouldn't change. I can't think of a reason it might "fizzle" out. BUT....I know I sometimes have to add additional vanilla beans because the wonderful smell sometimes starts to fade out. Another hit of a vanilla bean takes care of it. I'm thinking maybe once a year, I either add another bean...or additional vodka or rum (not interchangeably...I have a bottle of rum-vanilla...and a bottle of vodka-vanilla)

If you have two really good beans, it should last a LONG time.

As far as which one is better? Personally, I like the vodka version better. When I make it from scratch (one bottle/two beans), it ALWAYS takes between 3 and 4 weeks before I think it "smells" useable. The rum version seemed to take a good bit longer. It started turning to vanilla-color almost immediately...but the fragrance took a long time to appear. When actually using either, I can't tell any difference in any taste. I sort of use whichever bottle looks like it has the most in it. Scientific, eh? ;-)

PS...to add to the rest of this conversation, I usually make at least 5 or 6 kinds of jam through the year, I started making biscotti last December (BIG hit!!!), and I've even thrown in fudge for my food gifts. Oh yeah....and certain people ALWAYS get a gift of "favorite cookies" (my brother and sister both like snickerdoodles, b-i-l likes oatmeal choco-chip, etc.) I LOVE giving out goody bags of all kinds of treats.

hka
08-27-2001, 10:09 AM
What great ideas you all have! I love the packaging suggestions that have been made as well. I find that I get in a rut at times on how to package things so I appreciate that. One other suggestion would be, if you're going to someone's house for a party and wanted to give them a gift, you could purchase a pretty cassarole dish and bake something yummy for them and then they keep the dish. Or you could do the same thing for a pie or any other kind of dish. This way, they get the wonderful food you're making plus, they can keep the pretty dish it came in and use it for themselves.:p

Kelli Kerrigan
08-27-2001, 10:31 AM
I do have to admit, I'm almost done with my Holiday shopping. I do not like shopping during the season when I feel I HAVE to purchase something for someone. So, during the summer I go to neat art fairs and purchase one-of-a-kinds gifts for those I love.

I have decided to make Indian baskets this year. I make homemade curries, so I'll include a few of my favorites. I'll probably include rice, some nice lentils, maybe some nan and some nicely decorated recipes. Yummy!

BlueMoose
08-27-2001, 10:42 AM
Last year I was really pressed for time, so I just made some ginger cookies, some of those pb cookies with the Hershey's kisses on top, and some chocolate chip banana bread. I love making things for the holidays (food and nonfood Items). I'm going to have to print this thread out, because so many of you have good ideas!

Beth
08-27-2001, 10:50 AM
Wendy, if you find some good mustards, would you mind posting? I'd like to try some too. I have a couple from a few years ago I want to pull out. When I find them, I'll let you know what they are.

Jewel
08-27-2001, 10:58 AM
Thanks Melman, but now I'm in even MORE of a Vanilla Quandry!!

Who has made their own vanilla, and which booze works better!? I want to buy these 5 or 6 bottles this week (liquor store is gonna be watching me!) and I want to make sure I buy the right stuff! Bourbon? Vodka? Dark Rum? Light Rum????

Heck, has anyone tried Tequila?? :D

Kelli Kerrigan
08-27-2001, 11:14 AM
Jewel- you may consider calling the Spice House @1-847-328-3711. They sell great beans and can give you advice on making your own vanilla.

BlueMoose
08-27-2001, 11:17 AM
Jewel,

Heck, why even bother with the vanilla beans? Go straight for the tequila! ;)

Robyncz
08-27-2001, 11:20 AM
Thanks for all the great ideas and please, keep them coming! I'm thinking I'll probably try the vanilla for my really good friends. I hadn't even thought about my daughter's teachers (she's in mother's day out for the very first time). I'll probably try one of the other ideas for them.


Bourbon? Vodka? Dark Rum? Light Rum????

Jewel, if you were planning on making several bottles anyway, why don't you make one of each and compare! Each of your recipients could get a different kind. Or---Several years ago, a friend made six different kinds of flavored vinegar. She bottled them in beer bottles and stuck them in six-pack containers to give. They were VERY cute. You could do a variation on the theme and give each of your recipients four small bottles of vanilla.

Jewel
08-27-2001, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by BlueMoose
Jewel,

Heck, why even bother with the vanilla beans? Go straight for the tequila! ;)

......Hic! :p

Melman
08-27-2001, 04:47 PM
Ok...I sure hope none of my neighbors stop by unexpectedly. I'm sitting right at my front door (at my computer desk) and have a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka on one side of my monitor...and a bottle of Ron BARCARDI Superior Puerto Rican Rum on the other. ;-) BOTH vanilla bottles. No tequila (hmmm...maybe I should dig deeper in my cabinet.)

I just gave them both a smell-test too. I definitely like the vodka bottle better. Even though the rum version has been "brewing" since about November, I can still detect the alcohol smell a little more than the vodka bottle. The vodka version just smells heavenly to me!! Oh...both bottles are the 375 ml size. Not the smallest bottle in the store...but pretty close. These aren't whopping huge bottles!!

To be honest, the kind of liquor isn't the important part of the equation though. I've tried vanilla beans from a local grocer (YUCK!! Hard and dry and brittle and just yucky...at a high price. When you slice these babies, they crumble.) I've bought them at Penzey's. Even though I absolutely love Penzey's for everything else, I was not impressed with their vanilla beans. They're sort of squishy..but not very big. My favorite tried-and-true-and-always-consistent vanilla beans come from a company called Just Herbs in Big Stone Gap, VA. If their tollfree number still works, it's 888-59HERBS. They have a very tiny website: www.justherbsusa.com (we're talking one page of limited info....) The owner has told me how her suppliers always laugh when she orders vanilla beans...she says something like "bigger, juicier, best of the best" beans (ok..that was paraphrased a bit) but she looks for the qualities that make the best vanilla beans. I think their beans are usually $2.50 each. Go for it!!

Ok..I'm going to put my bottles back in the cabinet.

Searcher
08-27-2001, 05:20 PM
Just for future information, www.kitchenlink.com has a ton of "in a jar" mixes. They also have some nice ideas for baskets.


Adding my two cents into the vanilla liquor discussion. My son-in-law brought me home some vanilla from Mexico on a recent trip and we were dismayed to find out it was clear. Since then I've been delighted that I can use it in ice cream or frostings without chaning the pure white color. I've never made my own vanilla, but does the vanilla bean color vodka much? If not that would be a very good thing.

browneye
08-27-2001, 05:34 PM
Gertdog-
Would you please, please post the Orange Biscotti recipe? And anyone- any other Biscotti recipes you might really like? I plan to do a holiday Biscotti assortment.

Here is a recipe for a jarred cookie mix. I have not tried this, but plan to this year:


* Exported from MasterCook *

Cowboy Cookie Mix in a Jar

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


Directions
1 Layer the ingredients in a 1 quart jar in the order
given. Press each layer firmly in place before adding the
next one. Include a card with the following instructions:
2 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease
cookie sheets.
3 In a medium bowl, cream together 1/2 cup of butter or
margarine, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir in the entire
contents of the jar. You may need to use your hands to finish
mixing. Shape into walnut sized balls. Place 2 inches apart on
the prepared cookie sheets.
4 Bake for 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove
from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.




Yield:
"3 dozen"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Also, I have made Espresso Truffles in the past, and given them for gifts. If anyone is interested, I can post the recipe. It was my first time making truffles, and it was a success!

What great ideas have been posted on this thread!

Mamasue
08-27-2001, 05:52 PM
What about BlueMoose's Blueberry Syrup? That would a great gift in a nice round canning jar (they look like the old fashioned ones with rubber gasket and clamps). Make a little basket with the syrup, pancake mix with recipe and maybe a non stick spatula and a whisk. :D

Zinnia
08-28-2001, 05:18 AM
All of the ideas on here are awesome! I am also getting ready to start on things myself, and can't wait to try some of the ones posted here.
I feel guilty for posting another site, but this site gave me alot of ideas over the past 2 years. This "Gifts in a Jar" site (is 13 pages long), and may be of help to some of you. :) Zinnia

http://www.geocities.com/giftsinajar/

I just tried the site I posted above & many of the recipes are gone:o! Oops! This next site (I just checked it, it's a great one!), has jar recipes, oils, vinegars, cookies, seasonings, nuts, popcorns, etc. Check it out-

http://busycooks.about.com/library/weekly/aa110899.htm?once=true&

crc77
08-28-2001, 05:36 AM
Please post your espresso truffle recipe! Sounds delish.
Thanks
cheryl

Leonard
08-28-2001, 06:18 AM
Last year for holiday gifts I made something everyone seemed to enjoy. I baked bread in my bread machine. I got a recipe from Libby's Pumpkin for Pumpkin Butter. I placed the bread, well wrapped and a jar of the Pumpkin Butter in a pretty basket along with several tea bags. The instructions read something like: Toast bread, spread with Pumpkin Butter and enjoy with brewed tea! Everyone raved!

Linda in MO
08-28-2001, 07:50 AM
* Exported from MasterCook *

Pear Butter

Recipe By :the Northwest Pear Bureau
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Spreads, Canning, Low-Fat

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 pounds ripe pears -- preferably Northwest
Bartletts -- peeled, cored, and
cut to 1-inch chunks
5 cups apple cider
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon powdered clove
2 tablespoons vanilla extract (optional)

Bring cider to boil over high heat. Cook until reduced
to 2-1/2 cups, or half.

Add pear chunks and cook until fruit is soft and
translucent, about 30 minutes.
Transfer to a food processor. Puree until mixture is
smooth.

Wash original pan, or use another. Add fruit puree,
brown sugar, spices, and stir
to dissolve. Bring mix to a simmer, stirring frequently
to avoid scorching. Cook
until very thick, 30 minutes or more.

Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Add optional
vanilla if using it.
(Taste at this point; you may not want to add it.)

Put pear butter into clean sterilized canning jars, seal
with canning lids and rings.
Process according to jar manufacturer's directions or in
a boiling water bath for 10
minutes.

Always be sure to use ripe pears.

************************************************

* Exported from MasterCook *

Microwave Berry Jam

Recipe By :Taste of Oregon
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Low-Fat , Spreads


Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen boysenberries -- strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries (enough for 1 cup mashed) (1 1/2 to 2 1/4)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. butter or margarine*

Thaw berries, if frozen; do not drain. Mash berries; measure 1 cup. In 2-quart microwave-safe casserole, combine the mashed berries, sugar, lemon juice, and butter.

Microwave on 100% power (high) for 8 to 9 minutes or until mixture thickens and is reduced to about 1 cup, stirring every 2 minutes.** Cool. Cover and chill to store. (The mixture will thicken a little as it is cooled and chilled. If the consistency becomes too stiff, stir in water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach desired consistency.) Makes about 1 cup.

*Test Kitchen Tip: The 1/4 teaspoon butter or margarine is just enough to prevent excess foaming.

**Note: If you prefer seedless jam, press the hot mixture through a sieve to remove seeds. The yield will be less than 1 cup.


Per 1-tablespoon serving: 42 cal., 0 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 1 mg sodium, 11 g carbo., 0 g fiber, and 0 g pro. Dietary exchanges: 1/2 other carbohydrate.


NOTES : Choose boysenberries, strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries to spotlight in this fresh-tasting spread. It’s terrific on toast, biscuits, or English muffins

**********************************************

* Exported from MasterCook *

Maple Pumpkin Butter

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Spreads, Low-Fat

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 cups pureed, cooked pumpkin
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP. pure Grade A maple syrup
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Pinch mace
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart heavy bottomed sauce pan. Cook on lowest heat, stirring often, until very thick and no excess liquid remains, about 30 minutes. If you are using fresh pumpkin, you will have a longer cooking time, because it has more liquid.

Cool and refrigerate for up to 1 month, or pour into clean, hot canning jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes approx. 2 cups

NOTES : Maple syrup and pumpkin combine to make this a richly flavored butter that is simple to prepare. You may want to make double, as it tends to disappear quickly! The butter would also make a delicious tart filling.

Recipe by Renee Van Hoy
A recipe from Renee's Tea Party
c. 2000 by Renee Van Hoy, all rights reserved.

***********************************************

* Exported from MasterCook *

CARAMEL APPLE JAM

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Spreads, Canning, Low-Fat

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
6 cups peeled -- diced apples
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. butter -- or margarine
1 pkg. powdered pectin -- (1 3/4 ounce)
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Combine apples, water and butter in heavy pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat, until apples are soft. Stir in pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugars and spices. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly, and boil for one minute. Pour into jars and seal.

Source:
"posted by Connie L at Recipe Exchange"

**********************************************

* Exported from MasterCook *

CARAMEL SPICE APPLE BUTTER

Recipe By :The Ball Blue Book
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Low-Fat , Spreads


Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 pounds Rome apples
4 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples
1 cup Water
4 cups Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1/4 teaspoon Ginger
2 tablespoons Lemon juice

Wash apples and cut into pieces; combine with water in
a large covered sauce pot. Cook until soft, about 30
minutes. Press through a food mill; measure 12 cups
apple pulp; and return to sauce pot. Heat 2 cups
sugar in a saucepan, stirring until sugar melts and
turns a rich golden brown. Carefully pour into apple
pulp. Sugar will crackle and harden. Add remaining 2
cups of sugar and spices. Cook, uncovered, about 1
hour or until apple butter thickens, stirring
occasionally to prevent sticking. Stir in lemon juice.
Pour hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
Adjust caps. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

Yield: 6 half pints.

gertdog
08-28-2001, 07:59 AM
Here you go, browneye!

Orange Biscotti

Recipe By : Biscotti, Bars, and Brownies by Terri Henry


1/2 cup butter or margarine -- softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons grated orange rind
1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
***for chocolate glaze***
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening or vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 10x15" baking sheet.

Beat together the butter or margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, orange rind, orange juice concentrate, and vanilla, mixing well.

Combine the flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt. Add to the egg mixture, mixing well. The dough will be somewhat stiff, but sticky.

With floured hands, divide the dough in half. On the prepared baking sheet, pat each half into a loaf the length of the baking sheet. Space the loaves evenly apart on the sheet. Flatten the loaves slightly. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.

While they are still slightly warm, slice the loaves on the diagonal into 3/4" slices. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet cut-side down. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, gently flipping the cookies halfway through the baking time. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and allow the biscotti to cool completely. You can drizzle them with chocolate or serve them plain.

To make the chocolate glaze: Melt the chocolate together with the vegetable shortening or oil. Pour it into a small ziptop plastic bag. Snip one very tiny corner off the bottom end of the bag. Use bag to squeeze and drizzle chocolate over cooled biscotti. Let stand until chocolate is set.

browneye
08-28-2001, 10:28 AM
Here ya go!

Espresso Truffles

For center mixture:
1/2 pound finely chopped semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tblsp. instant espresso coffee
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tblsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
2 tblsp. Cognac (I experiemented here with different liquers, including Gran Marnier, etc. I bought those little airplane bottle size goodies I did half the batch without the espresso, just flavored liquers they were great.)

For Enrobing:
3/4 pound finely chopped semisweet chocolate
1 pound confectioners' sugar

It is important to follow directions closely.

Prepare center mixture: Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. In a saucepan, boil cream, remove pan from the heat and stir in coffee and cinnamon. Pour mixture over the chocolate and let stand 2 minutes. Beat chocolate until smooth and completely incorporate the butter. Cool for several hours or until the consistency of frosting.
In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat chocolate mixture until light in color and fluffy in texture. Gradually beat in the Cognac.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 -inch plain tube with the chocolate mixture and pipe truffles on a paper-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
Prepare the enrobing: Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan half-filled with hot water. Water must not simmer or touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir frequently until chocolate has melted. Remove bowl from pan, stir occasionally and allow chocolate to cool to the touch.
Remove truffles from the refrigerator, dip in chocolate and coat evenly (I used a toothpick to dip them If the chocolate gets too thick, return it very briefly to the heat, stirring constantly. Coat truffles with the sugar. After the coating has set, shake the truffles in a wire strainer to remove excess sugar. Store in an airtight container for two weeks at a cool room temp.

Makes 4 -5 dozen 3/4 to 1 inch truffles.

Note: use high-quality chocolate. I cannot remember exactly which brand I started out with, but it was good. Probably Lindt or something. Anyway, I ran out partway through and ended up trying to use some Nestles toll-house chips, but they did not work at all.

These kept very nicely, and my friends went gah-gah over them. Much less costly than buying those expensive things for a buck a piece or whatever.

Kristine
08-28-2001, 11:11 AM
Kelli~
I saw that you are giving Indian Baskets and that you mentioned naan bread. Anyways, I was wondering if you have a good recipe for naan. I simply love the stuff but haven't found an acceptable recipe yet. Please post if you have one. Thanks. :)

gobluem82
08-28-2001, 01:43 PM
These ideas all look so great!!

I usually make up 10-12 batches of cookies around Thanksgiving and put them in the freezer. This thread is reminding me that my extra freezer is FULL (I can't resist a bargain!) and I need to start using things up.

I can second the biscotti suggestions. They are so easy, everyone thinks they are very "gourmet", and best of all, they can be stored for a couple of weeks without having to freeze them. They are perfect to have around, just in case. There was a thread for savory biscotti a couple of months ago--I make some of those as well to bring to holiday parties with a bottle of wine or champagne.

For my kids' teachers, we usually make a variety of different quick breads in mini-loaves and freeze those as well. Then each teacher gets an assortment of breads. This year, though, I think I'm going to try some of the recipes on this thread!

Laura Wick
08-28-2001, 05:39 PM
try this site for lots of great ideas for handmade Christmas gifts, and for their presentation:

http://celebrate.faithweb.com/christmas/

Kelli Kerrigan
08-28-2001, 08:56 PM
No, I do not have the secret to good nan bread, although I wish I did, I could eat goo-gobs of the stuff. Most recipes will deliver roti bread to you. The Tandoor oven is really the secret here. I live in Chicago where I can get fresh nan bread at local restaurants and that is what I should plan is giving. Even my Indian friends tell me it can not be made at home.......

Anyone up for the challange???? I have plenty of recipes to share.

Beth
08-28-2001, 09:10 PM
Bernard Clayton has a recipe for Naan in his Complete Book of Bread, and there is another one in The Book of Bread by Judith and Evan Jones. I haven't tried either one of them, but they are both cooked in a flat skillet or on a griddle.

LaraW
08-28-2001, 09:16 PM
gertdog,

would you mind posting the recipe for English Toffee? Is it very difficult to make?

Thanks!
Lara

Beth
08-28-2001, 09:29 PM
I also have a recipe for English Toffee. The hardest part is deciding whether to put chocolate and nuts on one side or two and what kind of nuts, then not eating it all. DH had a secretary who made it for him at Christmas, and we had a company that sent a gift basket each year, always including English Toffee. The recipes are virtually identical. Mine is not in Master Cook, so Gertdog may have hers posted before I can get mine typed up.

akairo
08-28-2001, 10:19 PM
I love all of these ideas. I'm going for the vanilla, the biscotti, and the snowman man soup. Plus, I am going to try for the first time a recipe for homemade marshmallows. I understand that homemade ones are fabulous. My sister loves to cook, but I know that she doesn't know about the vanilla thing. (I certainly didn't!)
I can't wait for the holidays this year. It is the first in many that I will be close to family. Keep the ideas coming. If anyone wants the marshmallow recipe, let me know. It will be a week before I can get it though, as I will have to unpack my house first.

Tamara

Robyncz
08-29-2001, 10:16 AM
If anyone wants the marshmallow recipe, let me know. It will be a week before I can get it though, as I will have to unpack my house first.

Me! Me! Me! I want a recipe for homemade marshmallows. Never heard of such a thing, but it must be great!

Also, Tamara, are you an "I" this week??

Robyn

gertdog
08-29-2001, 10:27 AM
I'd be happy to post the English Toffee recipe. I'm at work w/o Mastercook, though, so it will be tomorrow morning (so Beth, I bet you'll beat me to it!)...

Lara, Beth is right on about the ease of making the toffee. I had never made candy before and it came out great the first time. You do need a candy thermometer, but other than that you just combine ingredients and stir til they hit the right temperature. Then you spread it out on foil, let cool, swab on melted chocolate, and sprinkle with nuts. Yum!

Be back tomorrow with the recipe!

akairo
08-29-2001, 01:47 PM
Originally posted by Robyncz


Me! Me! Me! I want a recipe for homemade marshmallows. Never heard of such a thing, but it must be great!



Also, Tamara, are you an "I" this week??

Robyn

I'll post it next week once I unpack.

And no, I am not "I".
Keep thinking:D

Tamara

Sherribabee
08-29-2001, 02:31 PM
I have a FABULOUS recipe for lemon-pistacchio biscotti that I made and gave as gifts last holiday season. I'll go home and dig out the recipe tonight and post it tomorrow (I'll email it to you too, just so you don't have to go searching all over the board for it.)

The homemade vanilla sounds like a wonderful idea - I think I'm going to give it a try this year, and some infused olive oils too!:D

Sherribabee
08-29-2001, 02:35 PM
My mom gave out little bags of marshmallows last year with a cute little poem about "SNOWMAN POOP" -- maybe that could be a way to give out the homemade marshmallows. I'll ask my mom if she still has the poem.

Sherri

Sherribabee
08-29-2001, 02:41 PM
Love the pancake mix and blueberry syrup (how do I make it?) gift idea - it's making me hungry!


Sherri

Wendy w
08-29-2001, 02:53 PM
Originally posted by Beth
Wendy, if you find some good mustards, would you mind posting? I'd like to try some too. I have a couple from a few years ago I want to pull out. When I find them, I'll let you know what they are.

Thanks, Beth. If I try any and if they are good, I will be happy to post them.

Nirak
08-29-2001, 03:57 PM
If you go for the snowman soup with the home-made marshmallows you really should make your own hot chocolate mix with Penzy's cocoa. I'd be happy to post the recipe once I find it. It is in my foot-high stack (see organizing thread). That is my first priority for back-to-school time.

Kristin Jackson
08-29-2001, 04:09 PM
Great idea for Turtle Pretzel Sticks as a gift. I printed the recipe from the web site. You can make these pretzels, purchase a decorated tall glass (beer mug, tall coffee mug or vase) and place some tissue in the glass container with the pretzels and you have yourself a great home-made gift.

:)

BlueMoose
08-29-2001, 05:24 PM
Sherribabee,

Here is the blueberry syrup recipe...


* Exported from MasterCook *

Blueberry Syrup

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Breakfast

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
16 ounces blueberries -- fresh or frozen
1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Cook, stirring frequently until mixture begins to thicken. Let cool slightly, then puree the mixture in a blender. Refrigerate syrup if it won't be used immediately.

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akairo
08-29-2001, 06:51 PM
Honest-To-Goodness Marshmallows

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes 50 marshmallows
Per marshmallow: 38 cal.; 1 g pro.; 9 g carb.; 0 g fat; og mg chol.; 0 g dietary fiber; 7 mg sod.

Ingredients

vegatable shotening for pan
confectioner's powder for dusting; plus extra for pan
2 1/2 packages (2TBLS plus 1 1/2 tsp) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup hot water
2 cups sugar
!/2 cup light corn syrup
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract (may substitute lemon, almond, orange, peppermint, or other extracts)
Food coloring, if desired

Instructions

1. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch metal pan and sprinkle with
confectioner's sugar; tap out any excess sugar.

2. Place the gelatin in a large bowl and add the cold water. Let
the gelatin sit for about 5 minutes.

3. In a saucepan over low heat, stir together the hot water,
sugar and corn syrup and cook, until the sugar is dissolved.
Raise the heat to medium and cook, without stirring, until the
mixture comes to a boil and threads; it should register 240
degrees on a candy thermometer (the soft-ball stage).

4. Stir the gelatin mixture into the sugar mixture. Using an
electric mixer on high speed, beat the mixture until it triples in
volume, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

5. In a medium bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed,
beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg
whites and vanilla (and optional food coloring) into the gelatin
mixture just until incorporated.

6. Transfer the marshmallow mixture to the prepared pan, dust
the surface with confectioner's sugar until it is lightly coated
and refridgerate, uncovered, for at least 3 hours or overnight.

7. To serve, use a sharp knife to cut around the edges of the
pan. The bottom of the confection will be sticky. Cut the
marshmallow slab into 1-1 1/2 inch squares, then gently ease
the pieces from the pan and toss them in a bowl of
confectioner's sugar. This may be done in several batches
transfer to a colander and toss again to remove any excess
sugar.
To store: Cover tightly and refridgerate for up to 1 week.

For the fun part you can use flavored water (like orange blossom); instead of dusting with confectioner's sugar you can roll in toasted coconut, a cinnamon/sugar mix. Or, after dusting with the confectioner's sugar you can you can put the on a wire rack and pour melted semi-sweet or dark chocolate over them (be sure to coat the bottom too). Try using fresh vanilla beans to flavor marshmallows. Kitchen shears sprayed with cooking spray can help cut through finished product. If you omit the gelatin from the recipe what you get is "an amazing sauce for hot fudge sundaes" (not that anyone on this BB would ever eat those;) ). Try adding them to a tropical fruit salad of papaya and mango set off with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Cut the finished product into rounds that fit snuggly into your mugs.

Merry Christmas and have a ball.

Tamara

lisapin
08-29-2001, 07:14 PM
Congratulations for making your own x-mas gifts. I have done so for the past 3 years and everyone appreciates it. I have a great idea for you for Choc. Covered Marshmallows that I have made these for all sorts of holidays. They are a big hit and are very attractive and not too bad for the diet. You can make about 40 of them in 2 hours.

Instructions are as follows to make 40 marshmallow pops:

You Will Need:

(Note: besides the marshmallows, all other items needed can be found at most larger craft stores):

1 bag of regular size marshmallows (use the name brand, not generic - there is a difference!)

1 bag chocolate melting discs (found in the candy making aisle -you can use any chocolate, white chocolate or colored flavors)

40 6" lollipop sticks (found in the candy making aisle)

40 small clear cellophane bags (in candy making aisle)

assorted candy sprinkles (I use the holly blend for x-mas)

1 roll or two of thin satin ribbon cut in 8" strips

1 larger sheet of florist styrofoam (for drying the marshmallows)

1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

Directions:

Place chocolate discs in a medium size aluminum bowl (to sit on top of a saucepan - to act as a double boiler)

Add oil and stir - set aside

Bring a saucepan with 2" of water to a boil. Remove from heat source.

Place aluminum bowl with chocolate discs on top of the simmering saucepan. Let sit for a minute and stir with a spatula. Let sit for another minute and stir until chocolate is smooth and a good consitancy for dipping.

Place one marshmallow on top of a lollipop stick and submerse the marshmallow into the chocolate. Twirl the excess choc. off of the marshmallow and tap the stick several times to the side of the aluminum bowl while twirling so that all of the excess chocolate drips back into the melted chocolate pan.

Sprinke the candy sprinkles on the marshmallow.

Place marshmallow stick standing up in the styrofoam sheet to harden (will take about a 1/2 hour to firm up)

When all of the marshmallows are finished, place a small cellophane bag over each marshmallow and tie a bow at the bottom.


Note: Last x-mas, I gave my coworkers a bouquet of six marshmallows each. I cut a small styrofoam square and placed it in a x-mas themed coffee mug and put some colored shredded paper gift-bag filling on top of the styrofoam. Then I placed the marsmallow sticks into the styrofoam and it made a nice presentation. I've also displayed larger quantities in a similar fashion using a flower pot or basket.

Enjoy!

amber
08-29-2001, 09:37 PM
I had the same idea a couple of years ago and I found a book called "Chistmas Gifts of Good Taste". It has many wonderful ideas and not only for Christmas. Good Luck.

akairo
08-29-2001, 10:14 PM
In regards to the homemade marshmallows please note that uncooked eggs may contain salmonella and should be avoided by young children,, seniors, and anyone with an immune-system deficiency.

This has been a message from the safety police.

Personally, in all my years of licking egg beaters and chocolate silk pie (3 uncooked eggs), I have never had a problem. But you never know.

I love the snowman soup, or is it poop, idea. If you can find the poem please print it.


Tamara

Luika
08-29-2001, 10:45 PM
Originally posted by Kristin Jackson
Great idea for Turtle Pretzel Sticks as a gift. I printed the recipe from the web site. You can make these pretzels, purchase a decorated tall glass (beer mug, tall coffee mug or vase) and place some tissue in the glass container with the pretzels and you have yourself a great home-made gift.

:)

These found wonderful... but I can't find the recipe (I searched the Recipe Finder in CL and this website). Can anyone help? Thanks.

Kristin Jackson
08-30-2001, 06:43 AM
http://www.sturgispretzel.com/Chef_TPS.htm

Have fun!
I have a great friend who just moved to Midland Michigan.

KJ

tovie
08-30-2001, 07:41 AM
Originally posted by Beth
But no one ever has cat treats. Maybe because cats think everything is their treat! :D

LOL. Maybe because the cats won't eat them? I've made cat treats, and homemade cat food, and my cats were very unimpressed. Actually, of all the cats I tried the stuff on, the only ones who would eat it were a friend's outdoor cats that live way out in the country (they'll eat anything, though).

I have a gourmet catfood cookbook (really kind of cute) and I've gotten little bags of cat treat mix that come with cute little cookie cutters (fish, mouse) but the cats aren't interested. Although I've always figured that if I ever give it a try again, I think I'll pretend it's people food and they'll probably love it (g)

It's funny, cause they like Pounce and other store-bought ones. Maybe I should have served them from the Pounce can (g)

Tovie

gertdog
08-30-2001, 01:19 PM
The toffee recipe I promised to post (sorry for the delay) and another one I just remembered, called Mint Meltaways, which are pretty and very tasty too!

Butter Nut Toffee
modified from a recipe by Marilyn Martell

1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup butter
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
pinch salt
2 T. light corn syrup
3 T. water
splash vanilla extract
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
4 oz. milk chocolate

Spread the almonds in separate pans. Toast in a 300 degree oven until lightly browned. Keep warm.

Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy 2 qt. saucepan. Add the sugar, salt, corn syrup, and water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees. Watch carefully after 280! Quickly stir in the coarsely chopped almonds and a splash of vanilla.

Spread in an ungreased 9x13" pan.

When cool, turn out onto waxed paper. Melt the chocolates together. Spread half of the chocolate on the cooled toffee and sprinkle with half of the finely chopped almonds. Cover with wax paper and flip over. Spread with remaining chocolate and sprinkle with remaining nuts. Cool (can refrigerate) until chocolate is set. Break into pieces.

Makes 2 1/2 lbs. Store in an airtight container. Can be made several weeks ahead.

Mint Meltaways
I believe this recipe came from Parents magazine.

5 oz. starlight mints
12 oz. vanilla chips or white chocolate chips
3 T. vegetable shortening, divided
red food coloring
splash peppermint extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate

Melt the vanilla chips with 2 tablespoons of the vegetable shortening. You can do this in the microwave, in a microwave-safe bowl, set on MED-HIGH for 1 minute. Stir and microwave again until melted. Stir in crushed mints and a few drops of red food coloring. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Smooth the tops of the candies. Refrigerate 1/2 hour or until set.

Melt the chocolate with the remaining shortening. Dip half of each mint patty into the chocolate and place on wax paper. Let stand until set, at least 1 hour.

NOTE: To crush the mints, I unwrap them and place in a large ziplock bag. I then take them outside and place them on the driveway with a kitchen towel underneath. I use a hammer to smack and crush the mints. It's noisy but effective!

Beth
08-30-2001, 01:39 PM
Here's what I have:

English Toffee

1 lb butter (the real stuff)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 lb milk chocolate
1 lb walnuts, chopped

Cook the butter , sugar and almonds together over medium heat, stirring constantly (mixture scortches easily) to 305 degrees on a candy thermometer. Pour into a buttered 10x15 pan. Cool completely.

Melt 1/2 ov the chocolate and pourover the cooled toffee, the sprinkle with 1/2 of the walnuts. Press the nuts in lightly. Cool, flip and repeat with remaining chocolate and nuts.



Merilyn's English Toffee

2 C sugar
2 sticks butter
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 Hershey bars, broken into pieces
1 cup nuts, finely chopped
Large piece of foil

Cook butter and sugar in skillet over medium heat until toffee colored, stirring constantly. Stir in cream of tartar. Pour mixture onto aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle chocolate pieces over hot toffee and spread even when melted. Sprinkle nuts over chocolate and press lightly. When complaely chilled, break into pieces.

Leonard
08-31-2001, 06:32 AM
Every holiday season I made Toffee. I have tried several recipes over the years. The best "hands down" is from Gourmet Magazine. Go to www.epicurious.com Type in Toffee McGreevey. That's the name of the recipe. You can also read the reviews. I guarantee you will love it!

Luika
09-01-2001, 07:03 AM
Originally posted by Kristin Jackson
http://www.sturgispretzel.com/Chef_TPS.htm

Have fun!
I have a great friend who just moved to Midland Michigan.

KJ

Kristin,
Thanks for the recipe. Sounds easy and festive! Your friend must work for Dow? Seems everyone (or their spouse) in Midland has some connection!
Louise

Luika
09-01-2001, 07:08 AM
Homemade granola is a nice gift... fill a mason jar or decorative container. This recipe is from the CL website. It's great alone or as a topping for yogurt and fresh fruit.

Crunchy Granola with Dried Fruit

For breakfast or on the trail, this fruity coconut, almond, and sunflower seed granola comes rich in iron.

Ingredients
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries (such as Craisins)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 (6-ounce) bag dried mixed tropical fruit
3 cups regular oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup roasted sunflower kernels
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
Estimated Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Preheat oven to 300º.

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl, and let stand 15 minutes. Combine oats and remaining ingredients, and stir into the dried-fruit mixture. Sprinkle oat mixture over a jelly-roll pan, and bake at 300º for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool granola to room temperature. Store in an airtight container.

Little Bit
09-01-2001, 11:08 AM
I love this thread! Thanks for the wonderful ideas, everyone!
I usually make three or four batches of cookies, usually the ones that make HUGE quantities, so I can give the mail carrier, the garbage men, the bank tellers, the folks at the library, the folks at the clinic, the neighbors ... a plate of assorted cookies wrapped in colored cellophane and a ribbon. It's a good way to make multiple yummy presents that please a crowd. I try for a mixture of things, so there's always at least one cookie with chocolate, one with nuts, one without either, and maybe some fruitcake. I try to make cookies that have a good shelf life, so I can make them a bit ahead of time and not wear myself out baking.

For closer friends, I like to give homemade stuff in a jar. I usually make pickles every summer, so I almost always have a few jars of pickles available as presents. My favorites are lime pickles, since they are so crunchy and tangy. (not citrus limes, but pickling lime)

This summer I made some Lemon Chutney, but it smelled kinda odd as it was cooking, and I'll reserve judgement about whether or not to give as gifts until after it's aged three or four months, LOL!!

My friends all seem to be fruitcake addicts, so I have fun trying new fruitcake recipes every fall. I'm glad of this thread, since I seem always to need a reminder to bake my fruitcakes a bit early so the rum can soak in the cake nicely before the holidays. Noone stops eating the fruitcake because the rum's a bit strong, but still. :o

The only other things I can think of that I like to give are pepper jellies, though I don't have a recipe at the moment. It's sort of a joke at our house that people in our old hometown always serve a block of cream cheese topped with pepper jelly or Pick-a-Peppa sauce to eat on a cracker at their parties, so I fell out of the jelly habit a few years back. I love the cream cheese and peppery topping, so I don't mind the jokes, much, at least not when I'm in a GOOD mood. :D (Dad jokes about the cream cheese block even as he's scarfing it down, LOL!)

debg
09-01-2001, 07:13 PM
HOLIDAY TREATS!
This was a great thread! I've copied many of these fabulous ideas and can't wait to try them! As a teacher, I give gifts to many helpful staff members, my team, as well as parent volunteers in my classroom. Last year I did vanilla. It was a HUGE HIT! Fortunately, (or unfortunately as the case may be) I've kept my same class for the next grade and therefore need to come up with some new ideas. I'd do vanilla again in a heartbeat, just not this year! Anyway, I gave the vanilla with some very holiday bark. Also very easy to make. I buy the Ghirdelli chocolate at Trader Joes (both dark and light). Melt. Spread on a sheat of wax paper. Sprinkle the top with crushed candy canes. PUt into the freezer till set. Remove and break into bark type pieces. You can make these ahead and freeze. I pack each one full of both dark and light chocolate bark. You can do white chocolate also, but I just don't care for it. After I began this tradition, my mother sent me a catalog from Neiman Marcus department store. They ACTUALLY SELL THIS STUFF FOR BIG BUCKS! Guarantee it will be a hit for any chocolate lover. Also makes any holiday table look very festive! Bon Appetite!

Nirak
09-01-2001, 08:21 PM
You can also pour the melted dark & light on the same cookie sheet and use a knife to swirl ... then freeze and break. Very fancy looking, very easy.

birdsitter1
09-01-2001, 08:31 PM
I do the chocolate covered pretzel rods as mentioned earlier. I also do chocolate covered Oreos. I buy the normal oreos, not those w/the funky colored fillings. Then I buy white, dark & milk chocolate. I melt each type, and dip the cookies in them about 2/3 of the way. That way they're still identifiable as an Oreo. So I have 3 varieties in case someone doesn't like white choc, for example. Personally I think the white choc ones look the best, white choc contrasts nicely w/the black oreos.

Then, I melt more white choc, color some red & some green, put the colored choc in squeeze bottles, and then drizzle the colored choc over the already dipped cookies. Wrap it all up pretty using holiday cellophane and ribbons. Looks festive, people rave, and it's so easy! I don't even think of this as cooking, it's more like assembling a VERY easy craft project.

Bonus: I can't stand oreos so I'm not tempted to "sample" any of these!

Molli526
09-02-2001, 09:50 AM
Hi-

I made these a few years ago and now, everyone expects them at Christmas. They are easy and the recipe makes a lot! The wax is optional

Buckeyes

3 lbs powered sugar
2 lbs peanut butter
3 T vanilla
1 lb butter- must use butter
1 layer of gulf wax
3, 7-8oz Hershey Bars

Blend butter, sugar, vanilla, peanut butter; form into about 1 1/2
inch balls. In a double boiler, melt wax and chocolate. Dip peanut
butter balls into chocolate leaving about a 2cm diameter of peanut
butter ball showing to resemble a buckeye. Store in an airtight
container when chocolate has hardened.

This makes about 6-7 dozen 1 inch balls.

Jewel
09-02-2001, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by tracey67
Biscotti Bucket -- fill a small galvanized bucket with packages of biscotti and some coffee and/or hot cocoa packets. I usually make 3-4 different flavors of biscotti, including: blueberry-pecan, chocolate-cherry, cappuccino, and double chocolate with walnuts.

Tracey, you've really intrigued me with this idea!! This is something I really want to try, but I have a question. What do you package the biscotti in so that it stays fresh but also looks nice? I don't want to use FoodSaver or Zippie bags in a nice bucket presentation, but does plastic wrap work? Several of these would be shipped, so I'd really have to be creative in the securing and packaging. Does anyone have any ideas on wrapping the homemade biscotti?

I plan on putting a package of Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee in with the biscotti since this IS Seattle! :D

Grace
09-02-2001, 11:45 AM
Originally posted by Jewel


I plan on putting a package of Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee in with the biscotti since this IS Seattle! :D

Like a stake through my heart, Jewel.....Why not Seattle's Best?


:D :D

tracey67
09-02-2001, 12:13 PM
Jewel - I buy little decorated plastic bags from party supply stores. I'm not sure what you have on the west coast, but out here I've seen these bags at: Paper & More and The Big Party. I think I've also seen them at craft stores like Michael's. Look wherever they have the baking stuff.

They usually are available in three different sizes. You can buy totally plain and clear ones, or clear decorated ones. If you look around xmas you'll probably be able to find some decorated with snowmen (don't you have a special fondness for snowmen?) and other xmas-y themed ones.

To seal them I use "curling" wrapping ribbon. You know the thin little ribbon that if you run scissors down it quickly will curl up into little ringlets? I cut off a long piece, make a tight knot around the bag and then use the scissors to curl the ribbon and make it look nice. I know that this isn't an absolutely airtight seal, but you can make it pretty tight and it should be good enough for a week or two.

Also...I don't have a Foodsaver and don't know a whole lot about them, but could you maybe use these little plastic bags and put them in your Foodsaver to make an airtight seal?

Let me know if you try it, how it comes out.

tracey :D :D

Jewel
09-02-2001, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by Grace


Like a stake through my heart, Jewel.....Why not Seattle's Best?




Actually, Grace, I don't really care much for Starbuck's coffee!! :eek: !!! I LOVE Seattle's Best and I love Tully's...but I thought of the 'Christmas Blend' and just figured in keeping with the theme! :D But you're right...why serve my loved ones something I wouldn't have in my own Seattle Coffee Pot?? We'll give 'em SBC!!! (Just gotta check and see if they have a Christmas Blend! :rolleyes:

And Tracey, I just have one word... "DUH!!" :rolleyes: You'd think I could come up with the colored bag thing! Completely spaced on that! Yes, I do have a special love for snowmen and their little snow-families, so I will definitely check out Party Universe around here. Actually, there is a store in North Seattle called 'Display and Costume' that I LOVE to go to and spend all day...One side is Party, Halloween and Costume stuff, the other side is NOTHING but Christmas stuff all year long!! Now I have an excuse to go! DH thought of tying a mini-snowman ornament to the curling ribbon on the bag of biscotti? Not bad for a guy, huh? :p

Thanks for all the help y'all! Now I just gotta tell myself that I CAN make biscotti!!

tracey67
09-02-2001, 01:15 PM
DH thought of tying a mini-snowman ornament to the curling ribbon on the bag of biscotti? Not bad for a guy, huh?


...sounds like you've got yourself a "keeper" ;)

tracey

Grace
09-02-2001, 02:26 PM
Whew.....you had me worried Jewel!!! :D And there is indeed, a WONDERFUL Christmas Blend. It used to be called Santa's Best, but they're changing the name this year - don't know yet what it will be - I think something more generic - to appeal to all people who celebrate some kind of holiday at that time, not just Christmas. But I did see the packaging - VERY, VERY pretty - gold/white snowflake type thing. Anyway, I was just razzing you, but I'm glad you've decided to send FANTASTIC coffee to go along with those FANTASTIC Biscotti you'll be whipping up!! :D