Christmas Gifts from Your Kitchen

Christmas Gifts from Your Kitchen

Christmas Gifts from Your Kitchen
by Brenda Hyde of Seeds of Knowledge

 

Nuts and candy make wonderful Christmas gifts for that hard to buy for person, or as an addition to gifts you may have crafted or purchased. Family and friends love homemade treats! We have many easy and delicious recipes you may try this year, and ideas for how to package your goodies when finished.

Chocolate Billionaires

A gift from the kitchen is a gift from the heart. This booklet offers suggestions for everyone on your gift list who shares your passion for good food and creative cooking.

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Ingredients:
1 14 ounce package caramels
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup coursely crushed crisp rice cereal
1 tablespoon shortening
2 cups semi sweet or milk chocolate chips

In top of double boiler over low heat, melt caramels with water. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and cereal. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto lightly greased waxed paper. Chill until firm. Melt Chocolate chips and shortening in the double boiler or heavy saucepan and dip candies until coated. Place on wax paper and chill until set. Store in airtight container. Makes about 4 dozen candies.

Swedish Nuts

Ingredients:
1 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
dash salt
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup walnut halves

Spread almonds on a cookie sheet and roast at 325 degrees until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally; cool. Melt butter in oven in a 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Beat egg whites until foamy; add sugar and salt, nad continue beating until stiff. Fold in all of nuts; spread mixture in baking pan over melted butter. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes or until mixture is browned and all the butter is absorbed, stirring and turning every 10 minutes to cook evenly. Makes about 4 cups.

Cinnamon Nut Mix

Ingredients:
2 cups whole almonds
2 cups pecan halves
6 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large saucepan, cover almonds and pecans with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 minute. Drain well. In a large bowl combine the next 6 items. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add nuts and stir until nuts are well coated. Pour nuts into sugar mixture stirring until well coated. Spread evenly on a greased baking sheet. Stir occasionally, baking 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on baking sheet. Store in airtight container. Makes about 4 cups.

Mocha Walnuts

Ingredients:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups walnut halves

In a large saucepan, combine first 6 items, mixing well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, to soft ball stage (238 degrees). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add nuts, stirring to coat. Spread nuts on a buttered baking sheet. Cool and break into pieces. Store in airtight container. Makes about 4 1/2 cups nuts.

Sugared Peanuts

Ingredients:
2 cups granulated sugar
4 1/2 cups shelled raw peanuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water

Coarse Salt In a large heavy pan place peanuts, salt, sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil until all liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Watch carefully. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread nuts on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven, stir, and bake 20 minutes longer. Cool. Store in airtight container. Makes about 4 1/2 cups.
Note: Raw nuts usually are found in the produce section this time of year.

About the author
Brenda Hyde is a wife and Mom of three, a freelance writer, bookseller and editor of Old Fashioned Living. Visit her website at OldFashionedLiving.com

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