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Unique food gift recipes 2006 - what have you got?

I have done most of them over the years- marshmallows, flavored vodkas, pickled garlic, molded chocolates, sundried tomatos, rum balls, biscotti, truffles, spiced nuts, etc.

What is the hot, unique item for 2006- my family expects it of me (in a good way)- but I don't have anything yet- also they need to be shippable

possible- salted caramels.

what are you creative, trendy types doing this year????

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  1. Could you post your recipe for salted caramels? I think those sound awesome!

    2 Replies
    1. re: nissenpa

      I have not made these yet.

      Caramel with Salted Butter

      1 cup half-and-half
      1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
      1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (see note)
      1 pound superfine sugar (about 2 3/4 cups)
      1/4 cup corn syrup

      Bring the half-and-half, butter and fleur de sel to boil in a heavy,
      3-quart saucepan. Set aside.

      Stir together the sugar and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan. Bring
      to a temperature of 293 degrees on a candy thermometer over medium
      heat. As the sugar begins to melt, swirl the pan often until all
      the sugar is melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the
      half-and-half mixture. Set the pan over medium heat and bring the
      mixture to 248 degrees, stirring frequently. This will take 10 to
      15 minutes. (The mixture will look like a caramel sauce.)

      Pour into an 8-inch-square nonstick pan and allow to set 2 hours.

      After the caramel has completely cooled, set the pan over very low
      heat just enough to loosen the caramel, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
      Invert the pan onto a nonstick surface. Cut the caramel into 36
      pieces and wrap individually. Store in a dry place.
      Servings: 36 caramels.

      1. re: cocoagirl

        I tried this recipe last weekend and the results were FABULOUS! thanks for sharing it!

        My only problem was with getting the caramels out of the pan. They definitely would have needed longer than two hours to be fully cooled, but that was the limit of our patience. I used a good nonstick Calphalon pan and warmed it as recommended, but they didn't come out readily. We gave up (probably too soon!) and just dug them out with a table knife and devoured them. But eventually, I do want to make them again to give as gifts, so I'd like to be able to get them out intact. Anyone have suggestions? Would it help to butter the pan before pouring in the caramel, or would it just make them sticky? How about lining the pan with parchment paper--would that stick fast to the caramel after it's cooled?

    2. I've always wanted to make marshmallows. You could add essential oils or extracts for variety or dip them in chocolate...

      1 Reply
      1. re: piccola

        There's a great recipe from Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) on the Food Network site. I'm gonna try it....search for coconut marshamallows on the site.

      2. This year, it has to be truffles. Many chefs have become rich and famous with this simple recipe, but use a myriad of wierd and non-traditional, non-sweet flavors, like herbs, spices, salt, tropical fruits. Here in SF bay area, there are at least a dozen such truffle boutiques where you can get these things. I personally do not care for these flavors, but I know that Chocolatier magazine recently devoted an entire issue to it. Most of the exact flavor recipes are closely guarded secrets by the company owners, but the basic recipe they use is pretty much the original by Medrich in the book 'Cocolat'.

        1. How about pate de fruits? Lemon, lime or orange curd?

          1. What about the Paris-style macaroons a la Pierre Herme that have become all the rage of late? They certainly look lovely and festive...