- Holidays and Celebrations
Delicious Holiday Gifts
The Gift of Food
Let's face it, Christmas is spectacular but can also be STRESSFUL! Making sure everyone on your list gets a gift can be not only time consuming but expensive. Whether it is the mailman, hairdresser, teacher, co-worker or vet here is a good way to say "Merry Christmas" without going crazy and breaking the bank. Who doesn't love a homemade treat?? I know I do! Here are some suggestions for some easy treats to turn into gifts. I hope you enjoy!
Coco Crinkle Cookies
Melt in your mouth devine!
These cookies make a great gift placed inside a cookie tin or decorative take out container. I love to make a big batch of these and then divide them up as separate gifts. This recipe makes approximately six dozen.
1 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso granules
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup powdered sugar
In a medium size bowl beat the brown sugar and oil with a mixer. Mix in the sour cream, egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl using a wire wisk or fork, mix the flour, cocoa, espresso, baking soda, salt and pepper. Add the flour mixture to the brown sugar mixture and mix well. Refrigerate the dough for about 3 hours to firm it up. When you are ready and the dough has stiffened preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Use a small cookie scoop to scoop out dough. Scoop the dough out into your hand. Roll the dough into a ball and then place into the powdered sugar. Swirl the ball around in the bowl to coat it with sugar. Place the covered ball onto a cookie sheet and bake approximately 10-12 minutes or until the tops are firm. (Be careful not to overbake). As the cookies bake they will spread and give the crinkle look. Cool cookies.
Use ribbon, bows, Christmas picks or other decorative items to make your cookies look extra special in their container.
A Few Ideas to Try.... - These tools will make it easy to make these awesome cookies! Oh, and pretty too!
To make and assemble the coco crinkles you may want to try some of these products.
Butter Almond Crunch
A fun recipe, if you have never made candy before this is an easy recipe to start with!
This recipe makes about 2 pounds of candy. It is surprising how far this one recipe will go to make a lot of gifts. This recipe will require a candy thermometer. If you don't have one, check out the links below to get one. This is a must make recipe, I absolutely love it. My friends look forward to me making it around the holidays!
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups chopped almonds
1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
Line a 13x9x2 inch pan with foil; butter the foil. Or use a silpat or silicone mat to make life so much easier! Sprinkle 1 cup of the chocolate chips onto the pan. Set aside. In a small sauté pan toast the almonds until just lightly browned. Set aside. In a heavy 3 quart saucepan melt butter, blend in sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. (Make sure not to rest the thermometer on the bottom of the pan, it will give an inaccurate measurement). Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the toasted almonds (Make sure to reserve the rest for later). Immediately spread the mixture evenly over the chocolate chips. Do not disturb the chips. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup toasted almonds and remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Allow to cool. Break the cooled candy into pieces, any size you wish. I like to break mine. If you prefer you can score the candy after it slightly cools into the size pieces you would like. Then once cool break the remaining candy.
Tools to make your Butter Almond Crunch - A candy thermometer is a must have to make candy.
Pretty close to the real thing, give it a try!
Ok, these are a bit more tedious than the others but if you like Peppermint Patties, you have got to try these!
1 egg white
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil or extract
cornstarch for dusting
1 12oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a medium metal bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Slowly add the powdered sugar while blending with an electric mixer set on medium speed. Add the corn syrup and peppermint oil/extract and knead the mixture with your hands until it has a smooth consistency. Add more sugar if necessary until mixture is no longer sticky. Dust a rolling pin with cornstarch and roll out the peppermint dough. Roll until about 1/4 inch thick. Punch out circles of peppermint dough with a biscuit cutter or a clean can with a diameter of 2 1/2 inches. Make approximately 20, place them on cookie sheets and let them chill in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, set on high for 2 minutes. Stir halfway through. Make sure not to overheat. Drop each patty into the chocolate and coat completely. Using a large serving fork, or 2 dinner forks, one in each hand, lift the coated patty from the chocolate. Gently tap the forks against the bowl to get off excess chocolate. Place onto wax paper. Chill the peppermint patties until firm about 30 minutes.
This recipe is from the book "A Treasury of Top Secret Recipes" by Todd Wilbur (love this book, a must have!)
Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Super simple...if you want simple this is the one!
Who doesn't love something dipped in chocolate? These are simple to do and very easy. You can chose to use whatever shape pretzel you like. I like the rods the best.
Dark Chocolate Melting chocolate (or whatever flavor you like)
Decorative sprinkles, candies, crushed oreos, whatever you can think of!
Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Start with 1 minute and then stir. Heat in 10 second intervals until chocolate is smooth and melted. Be sure to not overheat or chocolate will burn. Once chocolate is melted, dip your pretzel in the chocolate. Then dip the pretzel into your topping (sprinkles, crushed oreos, crushed candy pieces, etc.) Place on a piece of wax paper to cool and harden.
Items to make your chocolate covered pretzels spectacular - Terrific Christmas sprinkles to decorate your pretzels or chocolate covered treats.
If All Else Fails There is Always Zazzle - If homemade goodies are not your thing...you can always get great gifts at zazzle.
- Shop here for great holiday gifts
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