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Topic: Gift food

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Subject: Gift food
Date Posted: 10/13/2008 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 2,541
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Anyone have any good gift food recipes they would like to share?  I mean outside of cookies.

Every year I make candied almonds and pecans, and the cinnamon almonds you get at the fairs.  They are always a big hit.  I just give them in pretty jars or cute boxes.  This year I found a recipe for Jack Daniels pecans I am going to give  a try.

Last year I attempted to make truffles, but I blew it.  My chocolate didn't set,  so I basically had a bowl full of frosting.  I'm going to give it another go this year.  I found a recipe for orange/chocolate ones that sound interesting. 

I think its time for me to shake it up a little bit!  Any suggestions?

Date Posted: 10/13/2008 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
Posts: 2,728
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I have some friends who make homemade almond rocha every year, and I know we always look forward to it!  They make huge batches of it, basically spread it in jelly roll pans, then just break it up into pieces.  I don't have a recipe, but I'm sure you could find one easily- it's similar to making brittle, only they add chopped almonds, then spread melted chocolate chips over the top, then when  everything cools, just break it up.

Date Posted: 10/13/2008 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 5,111
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I have a great book called Christmas Book of Good Taste, ISBN number 0-942237-13-7, that is just excellent.  Far from just cookies, it has pizzas, marinated fruits, breads and rolls, liquers, crackers, wines, candies, soups, flavored popcorns, ice cream toppings, etc., etc.  It also suggests very cute boxes, wraps and other packaging to go along with the gifts.  I find this book so handy every Christmas.  I love it!!

Unfortunately, I am not posting it, sorry.  But if you can find it out there, I think you'll find it a great source of inspiration for The Holidays.        



Last Edited on: 10/13/08 6:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/13/2008 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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My sister makes caramel corn and then drizzles it with white chocolate and dark chocolate. Then she put it in pretty Christmas tins, tied with ribbon, for Christmas gifts. It was very good! It think it would be pretty put in cellophane bags and tied with red, green, and white ribbon.

Date Posted: 10/13/2008 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 2,541
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Stephanie, thank you!  That book was in the system and I just ordered it.  It looks great!

Lesley, I hadn't even though of almond rocha!   I love that stuff!

Sheila, I'm going to try the carmel corn too.  I bet that's delicious!

Date Posted: 10/14/2008 6:31 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 5,111
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Shannon, that's great.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and make lots of cool gifts.  I just flipped through my copy again last night, and my favorite idea is to make wine jelly out of red or rose wine, and then use wine glasses instead of jam jars when giving it as a gift.  It is so clever, and I would never have thought of it.

I also just discovered that this book is actually series of books.  I just ordered # 5 in the series, which I didn't even know existed.  Now I just have to track down the others.  Hope there's as many good ideas in this one.

Anyway, have fun!!  And, Merry Christmas a tad early.

Date Posted: 10/15/2008 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2005
Posts: 3
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And easy candy to make to give for Christmas.  I buy the white almond bark, melt it and mix in broken up pieces of candy cane.  Let it set and break into pieces.  I made it last year for an office treat table, and it was the first thing gone!

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2008
Posts: 2,161
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I do pans of brownies... I make a mix of brownies and add milk instead of water, and add chocolate chips. After it cools (in a foil pan I can gift as well), I make a frosting with confectioners sugar, KAHLUA, instant coffee, and butter. Sometimes I add a little milk. To this, I then melt extra chocolate and make a thin ganache and pour over the top- very thin. You could also just use a chocolate syrup and just drizzle the top. These are soooooo rich, and ultra good for chocolate lovers!

Grasshopper brownies are also nice- same pan of brownies, but for the frosting use a mint liquer and a mint extract.

For my basic holiday cakes, I do a variety of flavors- pumpkin, chocolate chip, cherry almond, etc.

ETA: I can't believe I forgot my homemade granola! I only use 1-2 tablespoons of oil in this- not sure why it calls for so much. I make different flavors and put it in jars with pretty ribbons. My favorite flavor is tropical which contains the basic granola, chopped dried pinapple, sliced cashew nuts, sliced dried papaya and sliced dried mango

Homemade Granola

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup raisins (add this optional ingredient after cooking)
  • 1/2 cup dry milk(optional)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt


Directions:

Mix brown sugar, oil, and honey in a saucepan. Heat until the sugar isdissolved. Combine dry ingredients in a large cake pan. Pour sugar mixture overdry mixture and mix well. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes. Let cool inpan. Store in an airtight container.

Optional: Add nuts, wheat germ, coconut, dates, etc.



Last Edited on: 10/16/08 5:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/16/2008 11:35 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 2,541
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Leslie, I think if I made those brownies there would be none left to give away! 

Date Posted: 10/18/2008 1:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2008
Posts: 2,161
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Shannon, they are VERY rich, but yes, we make a pan for ourselves, too! :-)

Date Posted: 10/22/2008 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 798
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I second the granola idea! And my mom always gives away hot chocolate mix around Christmas in pretty jars/containers!

Kim (Mistry) -
Date Posted: 10/22/2008 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2006
Posts: 4,089
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Last year I made Oreo Truffles. I think they are either Dartha or Bernie's recipe and it's in the database here. They were a huge hit both with neighbors and the guys at my Dh's work!  I also made chocolate covered pretzels and gave spiced nuts a try, though I wasn't a big fan of the nuts.

Date Posted: 10/23/2008 11:27 AM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2008
Posts: 2,161
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I have been making the orea truffles for about three years- so yummy and soooo easy! Thats a great suggestion!

Date Posted: 11/4/2008 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,377
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We make rum balls and pumpkin-cream cheese truffles. (I like to add mini chocolate chips to the truffles).   Or, we'll melt chocolate and add it to, or dip various things in it to make platters.  (mini oreos or ritz bitz peanut butter sandwich crackers, holiday shaped pretzels, etc.; or add melted chocolate to rice crispies, coconut, crushed potato chips, crushed pepermint candies, etc. and then pour or spoon into paper candy cups.

 

Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Truffles

Makes about 30

These truffles pair pumpkin with gingersnap and graham cracker crumbs. For the best results, chill truffles until you’re ready to serve them.

Ingredients

2½ cups white chocolate chunks
1/3 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of fine salt
2 ounces cream cheese, softened

Method

Melt 1/2 cup of the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat or in the microwave for about 1 minutes. Stir often to keep the chocolate from burning. Transfer to a large bowl. Add gingersnap crumbs, pumpkin, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, zest, cinnamon, salt and cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to a shallow bowl, cover and chill until just solid enough to roll into balls, about 2 hours.

Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper. Melt remaining 2 cups chocolate and transfer to a small, deep bowl. Roll 1 heaping teaspoon of the pumpkin mixture into a ball in your hands, then drop into the chocolate. Working quickly, gently spoon chocolate over to coat. Using a small spoon or fork, lift the truffle out of the chocolate, shake off excess and transfer to prepared sheet tray. Dollop a bit of extra chocolate on any parts that remain exposed, then sprinkle a few gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs over the top, if you like. Repeat process with remaining pumpkin mixture and chocolate, then chill truffles until chocolate is completely set, about 1 hour.

 

Date Posted: 11/24/2008 1:40 AM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2007
Posts: 2,380
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I make pumpkin rolls and give them as gifts.  They are very easy to make and ohhhh so delicious!!!!   I also do "Snowman Soup" baggies for the little ones:

Print these out on the computer and insert it all into a ziplock baggie (Christmasy if you have them)

                                                     Snowman Soup

Ingredients:

1 packet Hot Chocolate

1 Hershey's Kiss

5 Mini Marshmallows

1 Candy Cane

 

Directions:

Was told you've been 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 and sip it slow,

It's sure to do the trick.

                       Happy Holidays!!

 

Date Posted: 11/24/2008 5:25 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 5,111
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Emilie, the Snowman Soup recipe is very adorable!!  Thanks for a great idea!

Date Posted: 11/24/2008 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2007
Posts: 2,380
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You're welcome!  It's really fun to give.

Jenny (Jenny) - ,
Date Posted: 11/24/2008 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/13/2005
Posts: 682
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Union Square Bar Nuts--

These are crazy-good. Best when still warm, but also great for gifts:

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. assorted unsalted nuts, including peeled peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and whole unpeeled almonds (when I'm feeling decadent, I'll roast up an all-pecan batch)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, depending on taste)
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread nuts out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter.

Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm.



Last Edited on: 11/24/08 9:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Jenny (Jenny) - ,
Date Posted: 11/24/2008 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/13/2005
Posts: 682
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Oh, I'll also add that Martha Stewart has a darn-good but very simple truffle recipe. I think this is it:

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/best-chocolate-truffles

The secret is to use the best chocolate you can find. When I made them, I used one type of liquer for flavoring (actually, I think I used cognac), and then got creative with the coatings. Crushed candy cane was a big success.

Date Posted: 11/24/2008 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/15/2008
Posts: 108
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My husband's grandmother makes fudge and divinity.  It's always a big hit.



Last Edited on: 11/24/08 9:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/25/2008 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 2,541
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Thanks for all the great ideas!  I love the snowman one.

The union square bar nuts i'm making for tommorow!

My gift food is going to be great this year!