Holiday food gifts

rob333November 15, 2007

What sorts of sweets could I make to give as a present? I have to give quite a few at work for the holidays, and I was thinking this year I'd like to give food. Only two people are diabetic and I'll give them something else. I want to do an assortment.

What sorts of things would you put together? Cookies, fudge, candy???

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Jams, jellies and a loaf of home made bread, wrap it in a piece of festive cloth and put in a basket with a bow. I've done that lots of times and it's very well recieved. I think because most people don't make jams and jellies and most people don't make their own bread so both are a treat.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 1:25PM
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CA Kate

A variety of Cookies, many people don't bake
Refrigerator Jam with a pkg of Scone mix
Candy... fudge, caramels, chocolate drizzled pretzels
Fancy breads
Quick breads
Coated/candied nuts
Bag of Chex Mix

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 1:29PM
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CA Kate

Linda: it would seem great minds think alike... at the same time none-the-less.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 1:32PM
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Well I'll be darned, d@mned actually!

I have a recipe for White and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark that is a fun Christmas gift recipe but I can't find it anywhere. I know others have made it, perhaps someone will post it.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 3:38PM
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How about a nice glass canning type jar, with rubber gasket, filled in layers with the dry ingredients for pancakes or corn muffins or chocolate chip cookies, or... your favorite specialty, with a recipe attached on a pretty card. Or same jar filled with pretty candies.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 3:55PM
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How about a canning jar filled with buckeye candies with a ribbon around it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Buckeye Candy

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 7:41AM
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Here's Sharon's recipe which I make every year since she first posted it! (I posted this the last time you lost it, Sharon :)

Sharon's Peppermint Bark

1 lb bittersweet chocolate
8 drops peppermint oil
1 lb chopped white chocolate
3/4 cup chopped candy canes

Line a 11 X 17 inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside

Melt bittersweet chocolate in a heavy pan over low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in 4 drops of peppermint oil. Spread evenly over pan and chill for about 1 hour.

Melt white chocolate in a heavy pot over low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 4 drops of peppermint oil and then add in candy cane.

Spread white chocolate over chilled dark chocolate, spreading to the egde of the pan. Chill 4 hours.

Refrigerate just until just before serving then break into pieces. Will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks ( yeah right!!! LOL)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 8:09AM
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These are all great ideas, I appreciate the help! Even though I started out thinking "Candy... fudge, caramels, chocolate drizzled pretzels, White and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark and buckeye candies", I keep coming back to "jams, jellies and a loaf of home made bread", that is likely to fit more people.

The jars with dry ingredients are exactly what I was planning to do for family. We have an AppleBarn nearby and their pancake mix is excellent.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 8:16AM
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I do different things depending on the people I'm giving to. I try to make something not too sweet nor chocolate for one person, who hates chocolate. I've made her biscotti 2 times and she loved it. I've also made her rosemary focaccia, which she was polite about. I found out later that she doesn't really like rosemary. Oh, well. Some people are hare to please. Luckily, my boss and another co-worker love anything sweet, so they're easy. I usually make them those Ina Garten Outrageous Brownies. Those suggestions others have made sound excellent, too.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 8:40AM
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Have fun filling your jars or baking your loaves. I find it refreshing when people give thoughtful gifts rather than one more 'tchatcke' most of us don't need.

I bet everyone appreciates the gifts even if you make the mistake of giving someone a food they can't eat. This is the season for sharing treats and you may be supplying that someone with just what is needed when an unexpected guest arrives at the door. (And there's a thread floating around here somewhere about that unexpected guest!)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 10:04AM
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I posted this picture here last year. These are the plates I handed out to teachers and friends.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 11:28AM
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I am diabetic and so are several of my friends. There are some really good things you can make for them as well. Do you make your own jams or jellies? I even do salsas and they would make great gifts.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 10:57PM
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Every year for the past 25 years-I buy the cases of jelly jars at the grocery store and fill half with my homemade Zesty French Dressing and my PA Dutch Sweet & Sour Bacon Dressing. Folks look forward to them and even return the jars so they're assured of next years goodies! The dressing can be made a week ahead of gifting and keeps for 2 months in the fridge.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 11:25AM
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I like non-sweet food gifts also. This year I intend to make Shelley's Brandied Peppercorn Melange and Bar Nuts, both new for me.

Brandied Peppercorn Melange

Posted by ssommerville (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 13, 07 at 13:23
Several people on the swap forum requested this recipe, so here it is.

1/2 c whole black peppercorns
2 Tbsp rosemary
2 Tbsp minced dried garlic (I used the freeze dried stuff)
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp dill seeds
2 Tbsp brandy
Mix all ingredients and spread in a baking pan and place in a oven on low. Allow to bake until the misture is dry. This will take a couple of hours. Check and stir every now and then. When all the moisture has evaporated, remove pan from oven and cool completely. Fill grinder with mixture and store remainder in an airtight container.
We love this stuff and it has become a real favourite. While it really good used with beef, its equally as good on chicken, soups etc. Note, that when first baking mixture in oven, the aroma will be quite potent, but eases as it bakes and the brandy evaporates.

Bar Nuts
From The Union Square Cafe Cookbook, HarperCollins, 1994

These nuts won The New York Press award for "best bar nuts in New York." Every afternoon at about 4:45, a piping hot batch emerges from our ovens and is sent out to the bar, where the sweet rosemary fragrance wafts throughout the restaurant. Though they don't have a television set at they're bar, these nuts would probably be a hit in your living room accompanied by a football game and some ice-cold beer.
Yields 5 cups

 1/4 pound each peeled peanuts, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, and whole unpeeled almonds or 1 pounds unsalted, assorted nuts.
 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
 2 teaspoons kosher salt
 1 tablespoon butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven until they become light golden brown, about 10 minutes.
3. In the large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter.
4. Thoroughly toss the warm toasted nuts with the spiced butter and serve warm.
From the The Union Square Cafe Cookbook, ©1994

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 12:01PM
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Sharon fl, would you please let us know the recipes for your zesty french dressing and the PA Dutch sweet and sour dressing? TIA

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 12:05PM
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Tracey, I've figured out why your screen name is Tracey_Oh......I just said "Oh, wow!" when Iooked at the goodies you made. Is that chocolate biscotti?


    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 8:25PM
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Sally, You're sweet! I'm an Ohioan by birth (go Buckeyes!) so that's how I picked my screen name. It never dawned on me that it Tracey_OH would be taken a different way :) And yes, those are Chocolate Walnut biscotti. I got the recipe off Epicurious. They are a wonderful deep dark chocolatey biscotti.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 9:05PM
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Carol Schmertzler Siegel

Barnmom, I think, made delicious looking biscotti last year to give as gifts. She wrapped them in cello bags and arranged them in a pretty Trifle bowl! Maybe she will see this and post the pictures, they were beautiful gifts!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 12:41PM
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How about candied/caramel popcorn in a cute cellophane bag with ribbon.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 3:25PM
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Several years ago my husband, a teacher/coach, was given a pan of homemade dinner rolls for Christmas. It was a great gift; made one meal really special at our house! Since then that's been one of my favorite gifts to give to school secretaries, teachers, neighbors, etc.

We've also give MANY teddy bear breads to younger friends (sometimes with a jar of jam). My college age son has even taken to making these to give to favorite coaches and buddie's parents. (Complete with a homemade picture/card of him in the kitchen.)

Our family also always makes at least one dlb batch of PEPPERNUTS (small little German spice cookies). These actually are best made in advance, travel well and are a Christmas tradition in this area.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 8:01PM
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For Sharon's peppermint bark, could you please tell specifically what kind of chocolate do you mean by bittersweet? Lindt, bakers? Is there a % that you have in mind? Same with the white, please. I am guessing lindt or ghiradelli, but there are so many new versions of bittersweet chocolate.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 8:36PM
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OK dinkans - give up the recipe for your peppernuts!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 9:32PM
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Ya'll are such a bad influence (Or just good at giving great ideas!)... now I'm thinking salty and sweet. Thanks for the recipes given.

Are there recipes for the dressings and peppernuts?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 4:42PM
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Nuts are always wonderful in Holiday Goodie Baskets.

I was going to try out BLACK PEPPER ALMONDS for TG.


Butter for foil
¼ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons water
4 cups (1 pound) whole almonds, skins on
1 tablespoon black pepper (freshly ground pepper for up-front pepper heat, commercially ground pepper for background bite)
2 teaspoons table salt

Preheat oven to 300F. Line one or two rimmed baking sheets with lightly buttered foil.

Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet on medium heat. Add the brown sugar and water, then stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the almonds, pepper and salt. Cook at a fast bubble for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Spread nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet(s). Bake for 30 minutes or until the nuts turn a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit, then separate the nuts into individual pieces. Keep separating the nuts until theyÂre fully cooled and dried. If nuts are sticky, store in frig.

Here's one that everyone was making last year.

Sour Cream Walnuts

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups walnuts

Cook and stir sugars and sour cream to soft ball stage (240 degrees F on candy thermometer). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add walnuts stirring gently till coated. Spread on pan to cool.

And here's another one that you might want to try.


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon (generous) freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine corn syrup and next 4 ingredients in large bowl. Stir to blend. Add pecans; stir gently to coat. Transfer to baking sheet.

Place large piece of foil on work surface. Bake pecans 5 minutes. Using fork, stir pecans to coat with melted spice mixture. Continue baking until pecans are golden and coating bubbles, about 10 minutes. Transfer to foil. Working quickly, separate nuts with fork. Cool. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Bon Appétit
September 1999


    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 3:26AM
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Woodie thanks for posting the recipe! It's in one of my cooking magazines but I'm not sure which. I need to start a notebook with the issue and page number of recipes I like.

Jo I just go to our local chocolatier (sp) and buy a hunk of bittersweet and white chocolate. It's not bakers chocolate I know that. Lindt or Ghiradelli would be fine.

Here is an old savory favourite.

Nuts and Bolts

1 Lb butter
2 Tbl Lea and Perrin Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl garlic powder
1 1/2 Tsp celery salt
1 1/2 Tsp onion salt
4 Cup cherrios
4 Cup shreddies or Wheat chex
4 Cup Life cereal
2 boxes pretzels
2 Cup salted peanuts
1 box Bugles
1 box Cheese Nips or Cheese Bites

Heat oven to 250. Place butter and Worcsetershire in very large roaster and put in the oven to melt the butter while oven is preheating. Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir well to coat evenly with the butter.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours, stir every 1/2 hour

Here is one posted by MQ a long while back, darn I miss that girl! They are delicious!

Spicy Spanish Walnuts Or Pecans (MQ)

2 Tbl butter
3 Tbl sugar
2 Tsp each orange and lime Grated peel
1 Tsp ground coriander cinnamon, and cloves
1/4 Tsp each red pepper Ground(cayenne) and salt
2 Cup walnut (or pecan halves)

1. Melt butter in medium saucepan on low heat.
2. Add sugar, peels and spices.
3. Toss nuts w/spice mixture. Spoon onto cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 300 for 20 minutes or until nuts are toasted. Stir every 5 minutes. Let cool.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 9:52AM
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Every year my kids and I make an assortment of goodies for their teachers.
We have made: Jam thumbprints (Ina Garten), chocolate crackle cookies (Martha Stewart), Heath Bar cookies, chocolate biscotti, holiday biscotti (Giada DeLarentus), chocolate peppermint bark, white chocolate covered pretzles w/sprinkles, cutout sugar cookies, peanut butter - nutrageous cookies, rocky road brownies and peanut brittle. We package in Holiday tins lined with tissue paper (purchased at AC Moores or Michaels).

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 10:25AM
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I've made Ann T's cream cheese danish a couple of times, it's easy to substitute an artificial sweetener in the cream cheese filling for my diabetic father

I always make her Cream Cheese Brandied Cherry Balls for Amanda and lots of fudge, but the thing that everyone likes the best is the maple butter twist, kind of like a cinnamon roll, but twisted into a wreath. Everyone loves it. Sometimes I drizzle it with maple glaze or a white glaze and decorate with cherries. Sometimes not, depending on my mood but everyone loves them.

Maple Butter Twists


1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1/2 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour


1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring


In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the milk, butter, eggs, sugar, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into a 14-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Combine filling ingredients; spread over each rectangle to within 1/2 in. of edges.

Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down on greased baking sheets. With a sharp knife, cut each roll in half lengthwise; carefully turn cut sides up. Loosely twist strips around each other, keeping cut sides up. Shape into a ring and pinch ends together. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until browned. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 coffee cakes.

I put the dough into my bread machine, my big one will handle a double batch. Shaping is done by hand, and I put each one on a pretty plate. I usually get those plates at the dollar store with a Christmas theme but sometimes I get something really special and the recipient can keep that plate.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 4:17PM
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Aunt Nancy's Peppernuts

1 cup dark syrup
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups melted butter
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 tablespoon annise seed
3 teaspoons baking powder
8 cups flour

Mix first 10 ingredients together. Stir in the flour. Mix well, dough will be very stiff. Cover and chill (overnight or for several days). On well floured board roll dough to pencil size. Cut into very small pieces (about 1" long)and bake on ungreased cookie sheet 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. (Watch carefully, remove from oven when cookies are "done" on their bottems.)Quickly remove cookies from hot sheets and cool on waxed paper. Store in tightly covered containers. These cookies are best if allowed to "age" several days / weeks. Makes 1 gallon cookies.

My neighbor lady used to bake one sheet of these cookies every day. We try to get a double recipe baked at one sitting. It helps to have help cutting the cookies. We've been known to invite friends over to help; and they get to take a quart of cookies home! When our kids were in HS their Church youth group baked Peppernuts for a fund raiser.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 9:33PM
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Though these aren't sweet, they are really quite good and spicy. I made them last year for gifts, which also included cheeses and meats. Down South, we call them Hot Damn Crackers. You can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to make them less hot. They'll keep for up to two weeks.

Hot Damn Crackers

1 sixteen ounce box of saltine crackers
1 1/4 cups Canola oil (I've also used vegetable and olive
1 (one ounce) package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
2 tbls. red pepper flakes (I've also used ground red pepper)

I mix mine in a large plastic container (the recipe really calls for a gallon glass jar). The plastic container will stain with this, though,so I've devoted it just to these crackers.
Put the crackers in the container, whisk the pepper flakes, oil, and dressing mix together, pouring this mixture over the crackers. Next, cover and flip the container over and over to spread the mixture on the crackers. Every time I passed it the first day, I turned it.

I really hope you enjoy these crackers. Remember that you can adjust the "heat." Happy Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 11:29PM
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It must not be Thanksgiving, it's Christmas!!!!!!! So many presents. Thanks for all the ideas and recipes. My mind is churning now. I'm even thinking about starting now and freezing stuff. You're inspiring.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 8:41AM
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