HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

What homemade edible thing do you most commonly gift?

I'm trying to do some early brainstorming for Christmas gifts this year... and am giving myself enough time to do trial runs.

I'm looking for your 'go-to' gift - the tried and trued gift, that makes people squeal with delight! Ideally, it can be made in advance, keep well, be festively packaged, and likely to be consumed.

All ideas and recipes are appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. A few of my past favs included:

    bake a fruited breads ie: panettone gifted along with a recipe card for making french toast using it.

    create flavored oils & vinegars in nice glass bottles

    baked a batch of lavender shortbreads gifted along with a bag of lavender buds

    homemade vanilla extract or vanilla sugar with a bag of vanilla beans

    I can't wait to read the CH's ideas!

    3 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      Oh, will you share your favorite lavendar shortbread recipe? I grow 4 types of lavendar and itching to cook with it. Gracias.

        1. re: HillJ

          Yum--love shortbread and lavendar, so it's a great sounding combo. Thanks.

    2. I have a number of things that seem to be favorites--savory blue cheese cookies, home-made croutons, seasoned pretzels, candied spiced nuts. The nuts are probably most popular and I get requests to make them often.

      I was just thinking about this very thing--I have made a few things recently that would make good gifts and need to start focusing in on a plan. A couple of new things (for me) that I am contemplating are pickled grapes and home-made potato chips. I've also thought about doing my own sampler pack, but that sounds like a lot of packaging effort and I hate to get stressed out (more than usual) about this kind of thing at the holidays.

      The candied nuts definitely best fits your criteria.

      18 Replies
      1. re: jlhinwa

        Savory blue cheese cookies?! Be still my heart! Those sound amazing. Would you please share the recipe?

        I'd also love to know what goes into your candied spiced nuts. I tend to stay away from any sort of candied nuts after several failed attempts at caramelizing pecans.... it always turns into a clumpy mess.

        1. re: The Oracle

          Sure, I will find them both when I get home and post them. The savory cookies were a lot of fun and very different. The nuts were really easy, and when I followed the directions, they turned out perfectly.

          1. re: jlhinwa

            Okay, I found the recipe for the nuts - I got it on the Smitten Kitchen website. I tweaked it a bit and have made those notes below:

            Sugar-and-Spice Candied Nuts
            Adapted from Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country

            1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
            2/3 cup white granulated sugar
            1 teaspoon kosher salt - Note: I used 1-1/2 tsp
            Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
            1 teaspoon ground cinnamon - Note: I doubled to 2 tsp.
            1 pound walnut or pecan halves or whole peeled hazelnuts - Note: I switch up the nut combinations every time--my favorite is cashews
            1 egg white, room temperature
            1 tablespoon water

            Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add walnuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

            1. re: jlhinwa

              And here is the cookie recipe:

              Blue Cheese and Fig Savories

              You’ll find fig preserves at the grocery – it may be shelved with the “fancy” jams and jellies. You can make these a day ahead and keep them in two layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container.

              1 cup all-purpose flour

              ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

              4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

              Ground black pepper

              Fig preserves (about 3 Tablespoons)

              Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

              Place the flour, butter, blue cheese and a few grinds of black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the dough just comes together and starts to form a ball.

              Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to pull the dough together. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick with a floured rolling pin. Cut rounds out of the dough with a floured 1-inch cutter and transfer the rounds to the parchment-lined baking sheet.

              Using the back or a round half-teaspoon measure or your knuckle, make an indention in the top of each dough round. Spoon about ¼ teaspoon of fig preserves into each indention, using your finger to push the preserves as best as possible into the indentions.

              Bake the savories for 10 – 14 minutes, until the preserves are bubbling and the pastry is light golden on the bottom.

              Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes, the remove to a wire rack to cool.

              Makes about 3 dozen

              1. re: jlhinwa

                I want to make these now. thank you so much for posting this!

                1. re: kubasd23

                  You are welcome! I really enjoy them...might be time to make them again!

                2. re: jlhinwa

                  Thank you so much for the recipes!

              2. re: The Oracle

                These are not spiced, but very easy and really yummy. Come out great every time.

                Caramelized Walnuts
                1/2 Pound walnuts, about 1 3/4 cups
                1 egg white , beaten
                1/3 Cup sugar

                Preheat oven to 350º. Mix walnuts, egg white and sugar together in a medium bowl. Place on sheet pan and bake at 350º degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool, then break into pieces if necessary.

                1. re: The Oracle

                  Hi Oracle - Try this cheese crackers recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... It is amazing and highly versatile. It gets rave reviews over and over and over again - I make them often for gifts or as snacks to serve with wine as a light appetizer.

                  1. re: Tehama

                    Excellent!!! Thank you very much!

                    1. re: The Oracle

                      I really liked the crackers, but they didn't keep very well. They seemed to loose their crunch overnight. Any tips for keeping them fresh and crisp?

                  1. re: HillJ

                    I don't know if Molly Wizenberg's recipe for pickled grapes is the one jlhinwa is thinking of making, but I've been intrigued by it since I saw it in her memoir A Homemade Life (as you're big into food bloggers, HillJ, I'm sure you know she's one who made good with a book deal). Anyway, the recipe is at the bottom of this article/excerpt: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Yes, that is the recipe, though I found it on Smitten Kitchen. I also add powdered cinnamon to the mix because I like a strong cinnamon flavore.

                      1. re: jlhinwa

                        I like a strong cinnamon flavor too. Always find myself at least doubling it.

                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        Some women marry for love, and some women marry for money. I'm marrying for pickles.

                        Ok, she had me with this line! Thanks, CMcG. I can't say I follow the blog Orangette regularly but the pickled grapes sounded so interesting...and grapes always seem so plain in taste & texture alone...curious.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          I've been making the pickled grapes regularly as we seem to go through half of what we buy to eat out of hand. People have a very strong reaction to them, they either love them or truly hate them ("I never want to eat those again" is a memorable and at-the-time funny quote from a good friend). Of the pickles I make regularly, this is not my top choice as a gift.

                          However, the pickled zucchini in the Zuni cookbook and this Parsi Tomato chutney are both winners. We're seeing the last of both crops here in the Bay Area and I'm making each of these as holiday gifts.
                          http://www.travelerslunchbox.com/jour...

                          1. re: bernalgirl

                            I didn't care for pickled grapes so I guess I'm in the no thanks camp on that recipe but it was worth experiencing them. I'll take a good look at the link you provided later today. Thanks, bernalgirl.

                  2. I hate to be cliche...but I bake an assortment of cookies every year for my clients. I enjoy every minute of the baking, and then curse myself as I'm driving around in the freezing cold dropping off of the Gift Bags. The phone calls and emails thanking me remind me why I look forward to it every year. My assortment always includes chocolate chip, coconut macaroons & my grandmothers' french chocolates. I add and take away a few items each year. This year I will be adding homemade brownies bites and mini apple pies.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: noelsilver2002

                      Some cliches are good ones! I was going to say:

                      COOKIE!!!!

                      There's a reason they have their own monster.

                      A good home-made assortment will bring delight to all except those few who don't enjoy sweets.

                      1. re: visciole

                        It's funny, I am definitely not a sweets person (I'd choose a cheese plate over a dessert any night), but I have new balance cookie monster sneakers. I guess thats the 'hound in me :P

                    2. Makes 3 pints

                      FRESH GINGER JELLY

                      1/4 pound fresh, juicy ginger root (about 1 cup sliced) Try to find the thinnest-skinned roots which means they're young.
                      1 cup water
                      6 T strained, fresh lemon juice
                      3-1/2 cups granulated sugar
                      1 pouch (2 ounces) liquid pectin

                      1. Scrub the ginger. No need to peel. Trim any dry spots or ends. Rough chop.

                      2. Combine the chopped ginger and 1 cup water in small food processor or blender and with on-off bursts mash the ginger. Do not totally puree it, but give it a good smash.

                      3. Pour the mixture into a very fine sieve or sieve with several layers of dampened cheesecloth and press and/or squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the pulp. Let the liquid stand for at least 1 hour to settle.

                      4. Carefully pour the ginger liquid off the starchy sediment into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. You should have 1-1/4 cups. If not, add enough water to equal that amount. Discard the sediment.

                      5. Combine the ginger liquid and lemon juice in a non-reactive pan. Heat to simmering over medium-high heat. Add the sugar. Stir until dissolved. When the mixture reaches a boil that can't be stirred down, stir in the pectin. When the mixture returns to a full boil, start counting. Boil for exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat.

                      6. Skim off any foam and pour into hot, sterilized 8-ounce jelly jars. Leave 1/2 inch head space. Clean jar lip and seal with new 2-part lids according to manufacturer's directions.

                      I've never hot water processed these, just waited for the seal to "ping" me.
                      This is great on any buttered toasted bread, scone, or muffin. Warm to melt, then brush on to glaze a fruit tart. Make "grown-up" PB&J's (PB or Nutella). Top crackers spread with cream cheese for an appy. I imagine it would work in a ham or pork glaze, or maybe even in an Asian-inspired BBQ sauce.

                      This jelly is a surprisingly lovely pale pink color -- looks pretty in a gift basket.

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: nemo

                        This sounds amazing. If it's more mature ginger, would it be best to peel it?

                          1. re: mollyomormon

                            No need to peel, Molly, because you strain it eventually. Rough chop, then buzz in the processor. Just try to get the smoothest skinned ones, not dry and wrinkled.

                          2. re: nemo

                            Oh my gosh, that sounds absolutely wonderful!

                            1. re: nemo

                              Oh my. I must make this. Perfect for when I'm in a canning sort of mood but didn't get any fruit in my weekly bag from the gleaners.

                              For anyone with more canning experience than me - any ideas how long I need to process this in a hot water bath?

                              1. re: JasFoodie

                                JasF

                                I think half pints take 5-10 minutes after the water has come back to a boil. I think jam or jelly gets too solid after a hot water bath., so I usually skip it, and tell the recipients to put in the fridge and use within 2-3 months.

                                1. re: nemo

                                  Just curious, is ginger high acid?

                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                    Don't know but guessing not since it's used to settle upset stomachs and calm acid reflux. I gave ginger candy to a friend undergoing chemo to help with the nausea.

                                    1. re: nemo

                                      Yes I know about the miraculous affect that ginger has on the stomach. What a wonderful well thought out gift... and, May the God you worship or whatever is your choice, Bless You for such sweet gifts! I agree it does work well for nausea, ginger tea comes to my mind...

                                  2. re: nemo

                                    Life tends to be too crazy for me in the months leading up to the holidays which is why I'm making an attempt at getting all my gifts made in advance if at all possible. For this reason I need to make items that can be made well in advance. The recipe uses simple and cheap enough ingrediants that I'll give it a shot and process a couple of jars to see how they turn out. If they get too touch, I'll jsut keep them for myself to use warmed up as a glaze over meats.

                                2. re: nemo

                                  Thanks, I saved this. It sounds like the ginger jelly I used to buy at the Union Square Greenmarket when I lived in NYC.

                                  1. re: nemo

                                    I saw the new ginger in Manhattan Chinatown a couple of weeks ago - pale, thin-skinned, with pinkish nubbins. Bet it'd be terrific in this.

                                    1. re: nemo

                                      nemo -
                                      I gave your recipe to my sister who is a ginger fiend. This is what she just emailed me:
                                      "I also made the ginger jelly and OMG!!!! I licked ladle. Then I licked the spoon. Then I licked the pot. It is soooooo good. It tastes like candied ginger only in spreadable form. Would be awesome on scones, biscuits, pancakes, cheese, or just plain straight out of the jar. SOOOO yummy. I have to make more."

                                      So thanks for sharing the recipe and I'm looking forward to receiving the ginger jelly as a gift from my sister during the holidays! :)

                                      1. re: nemo

                                        Okay, I know NOTHING about ginger, other than the fact that it is an absolute requirement for some of my cookie recipes. :-) is there a ginger "season"? Or should I be able to find good young ginger roots anytime at the grocers? I'd love to try this for Christmas gifts this year. I'm on a super tight budget now with my son in college, so I thing homemade gifts are going to have to suffice this year!

                                        1. re: FitMom4Life

                                          I saw young stem ginger in the farmers market in Copley Square Boston last Friday. The farmer said they would have it for two weeks. I am going to pick up some to make crystallized ginger for my dad who adores it.

                                      2. The most recent favorites have been Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles and Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Brittle.

                                        I've only done this once so far, but last Christmas I made my in-laws their own personalized ice cream flavors and made personalized labels for them too, and it's been one of my favorite gift ideas so far. I'm going to do that this year for my brother-in-law, because he doesn't seem to like anything else we give him, and who doesn't like ice cream?! ;-)

                                        And a little more involved, but I've done the Cookie of the Month Club in the past for people, and most everyone loves that! And then last year, I gave my brother dinners around the world, and a sweet treat from each country: four countries, four meals throughout the year, and four sweet treats.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: Katie Nell

                                          Would you post the recipes for both, please? (The truffles and brittle). They sounds delicious!

                                          I l-o-v-e the idea of making ice cream, but I know that's a bit beyond what I'm willing to do...

                                          1. re: The Oracle

                                            Sure, but don't judge... the brittle was in Rachael Ray's magazine! ;-) It really is good though; my friend at work moans and calls it orgasmic!

                                            Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desse...
                                            Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Brittle: http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/...

                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                              I'm FINALLY getting around to making these (so much for doing things early for Christmas) and am having trouble figuring out where to find the dark chocolate candy coating for the truffles - what do you use and where do you get it? Any particular brand, etc?

                                              1. re: The Oracle

                                                I just chop up either semi-sweet or bittersweet (depending on the giftee) chocolate and melt that in a double boiler. I've used chocolate chips before too.

                                                P.S. I made some peanut butter cookie dough pretzel truffles the other day too, and those went over really well!
                                                http://crustabakes.wordpress.com/2011... I made them smaller (maybe 3/4") because they were so rich.

                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                  Thanks a bunch! I'm trying these out tonight. Thanks also for the link to the peanut butter ones!!! :) :) I'll report back!

                                                2. re: The Oracle

                                                  Probably too late for this time, but you can buy candy coating wafers at any craft store that has a candymaking an cake-decorating section (a la Michael's or AC Moore). They're also often sold at stores that sell bulk nuts and candies. Merckens is one brand, but the craft stores around me sell another brand whose name I don't really know.

                                                  1. re: ca262626

                                                    I tried this last night and made them WAY too big (using a small cookie dough scooper). It made about 40 from the batch, so they weren't SO big, but I think they should have been much smaller.

                                                    I also had the most ridiculous time with the chocolate coating, using the microwave to melt vs. keeping it warm over a double boiler. I used up a 1/2 bag of chocolate chips on only 13 balls! On my second batch, I made the novice and fatal mistake of adding heavy cream to my already melted chocolate (d'oh!) and the whole thing seized up immediately. At that point, I gave up and have the uncoated and too large cookie dough balls in my fridge. I may throw the whole thing out.... the chocolate coating was the death of me! (they look SOOO pretty though! I put a few colored sprinkles on each of the coated ones... delightful!)

                                                    1. re: The Oracle

                                                      The candy melts are worthwhile, I think, for the sheer ease of use... they supposedly melt a little thinner and the coating is easier, and they set up better. Again, the taste is not great if you eat the wafers straight, but in this particular application, the coating is so thin and the filling so rich that many people won't tell the difference.

                                                      When I work with candy, I use real chocolate and temper it, but to be honest, working with chocolate in small batches as a home cook can be a real pain in the ass. I've come to enjoy the process but it does take me a while and I always make a huge mess.

                                                      For future reference, if you add liquid and your chocolate seizes, it won't be usable for your original use but you can always add MORE cream (closer to 1:1 ratio with your chocolate) and make ganache, which you can do something else with and not waste the chocolate. :)

                                                      1. re: The Oracle

                                                        Ugh, I've done that before too! Baking at midnight, knowing full well what happens when you had heavy cream to melted chocolate... don't know what I was thinking either! I always use a (makeshift) double boiler for the chocolate... I'm too slow! :-) I hope the results you got with the ones you did finish worth worth the pains! I'm making them tomorrow, along with the chocolate peanut butter brittle, and sugar cookies, much to my chagrin... I do not like doing frosted sugar cookies, but my husband's boss keeps requesting them!

                                                        Also, I've frozen the dough balls before and have made the truffles a couple of weeks later... worked like a charm!

                                              2. re: Katie Nell

                                                sign me up for all of those please. How do I get to be your friend? haha I am very impressed by your giving nature, that ice cream idea sounds fantastic :)

                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                  Such thoughtful gifts! Might steal this idea!!

                                                2. Mustard.... Sweet & Hot Mustard to be exact, Friends can not get enough. I only make it at Christmas along with around 32 different cookies. Home made Kahlua yum make it with a raspberry vodka awesome.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: nancy233

                                                    I've been trying to cut back on sugary treats - so I LOVE the idea of mustard. Would you be willing to share the recipe, please?

                                                    1. re: nancy233

                                                      Sorry away for a while... Here is the Mustard recipe.

                                                      1 cup sugar

                                                      2/3 cup dry mustard (Penzys spices) best price and great mustard

                                                      3 eggs

                                                      2/3 cup white vinegar.

                                                      Mix sugar and mustard in a med saucepan until well blended. Mix eggs and vinegar well, then add to sugar, mustard pan, Cook 20 minutes over low heat use a wooden sppon stir often. (note do not put your nose over this pan you will no longer have any nose hairs! I open a window the smell is very strong but the mustard when done is not. I also use a rubber coated wire whisk to mix everything. I also use a saucepan that is coated. Try not to use any metal items with the vinegar and mustard. You will not be disappointed if you try this recipe. It is awesome! ENJOY!

                                                    2. Cranberry pecan biscotti in a nice tin. I make a ton and everybody expects it now. I recently found an old recipe for brandied cookie rings I made years ago which I might do this year, and I think I'll try candied nuts too.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: noodlepoodle

                                                        Canadice grape/Cranberry jelly, Concord jelly, peach/ginger jam. My young nephew says I use it like money (he's seen me give it as a hostess gift)

                                                        That Ginger jam recipe looks great!

                                                      2. The things I gift most often are a sour cream babka and pumpkin butter that tastes like pumpkin pie without the crust. I give other preserves when I make them.

                                                        I have also given nasturtium vinegar tho this year I didn't have much in the way of nastrutiums for some reason I don't understand. And recently I have begun making my own mustard. It's a big hit at my house so I may be gifting some of that too.

                                                        The thing I most look forward to getting each year is my friend's Rockenwagner stollen. This stuff is to *die* for if you like holiday breads with candied fruit. And I DO!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: rainey

                                                          http://bakedbree.com/slow-cooker-pump...
                                                          Yum to pumpkin butter!

                                                          To the OP, this version might be just what you'd need for a large batch recipe; made in (genius!) a crockpot.

                                                          1. re: rainey

                                                            I forgot nocino. I have a walnut tree in my backyard and I make nocino from the green walnuts every summer.

                                                          2. My go-to is a trio of nuts: One slightly spicy mixed nut mix, thyme and sea salt almonds (Patricia Wells), and my grandmother's very simple but addictive sugar and cinnamon coated pecans.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Terrie H.

                                                              Please put me on your gift list. That sounds wonderful.

                                                              1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                Oh, can you post the thyme and sea salt almonds? I adore anything thyme...

                                                              2. Granola and homemade nut butters! You can totally add your own twist to your nut butters (chocolate almond, pumpkin hazelnut, etc)

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: blinknoodle

                                                                  A year or so late chiming in here (just found the thread)...do you have a recipe for your nut butters? This sounds like something I could actually do, and it definitely appeals to the "mad scientist" part of my culinary personality. :-)

                                                                  1. I'm doing jams and preserves this year. I have a family of 7 that I I need a token gift for each person, so they'll each get a different item out of this summer's canning spree.

                                                                    So far I've made:
                                                                    Tomato Jam
                                                                    Zesty Peach BBQ Sauce
                                                                    Balsamic Strawberry Jam with Black Pepper
                                                                    Spiced Nectarine
                                                                    Onion and Red Wine Relish

                                                                    All these are made and once I decide who gets what, I'll custom make the labels for each one - right now I used blue painters tape to mark each jar with contents so I don't risk mixing them up.

                                                                    Closer to the holidays I also plan on making bacon jam, and some mustard of some sort. I think the women will get the jams and relishes while the men will get the bacon jam and mustard. They all live in the same household so most likely they'll all share it all anyways.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: JasFoodie

                                                                      Would you please share your Balsamic Strawberry Jam with Black Pepper recipe? Are you using reduced balsamic? Thanks!

                                                                      1. re: jocarol_marie

                                                                        I looked through my bookmarks and can't seem to find the specific recipe that I ended up using. I know I found atleast a dozen versions of it online, I'm just not sure which one I ended up following. I know I didn't use pectin though, so maybe it was this one:

                                                                        http://celebratefood.blogspot.com/200...

                                                                        I didn't measure the black pepper I used, jsut ground some in right at the end before processing until there was enough to leave a slightly peppery bite that lingered at the end of a taste. It doesn't have a heavy pepper taste now and even the balsamic is pretty mellow but it most definately has more depth than just a plain strawberry jam.

                                                                        For the balsamic I didn't use anything fancy, just a bottle of the cheapie stuff that I got at target for about 4 bucks.

                                                                    2. Dumplings (餃子) and baozi (包子)

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        In what form do you gift? Frozen, fresh, cooked and ready to reheat?

                                                                        I'm not a cookie person. This sounds really good.

                                                                        1. re: Altarbo

                                                                          I've never made boiled peanuts before (sounds so simple, tastes so delicious, just have never done 'em) but I buy them about twice a day whenever I'm in the south. I'm assuming you start with raw peanuts and then... ohmygosh.... boil them with spices. But where can you get raw peanuts? I've never seen them around here (CT).

                                                                          1. re: kubasd23

                                                                            get raw peanuts this time of year in asian shops -- at least i saw some in a recent trip to a vietnamese grocery in the d.c. suburbs.

                                                                            they boil at LEAST 6 hours in a lot of salty water. you can add cayenne, and i guess other things (bay? whatever. i like them pretty plain).

                                                                            you can freeze boiled peanuts for a couple of months. i don't know how long the "green" (raw) peanuts last before they are boiled. once boiled, they are perishable and must be kept refrigerated.

                                                                            1. re: kubasd23

                                                                              :)

                                                                              Yes. Start with raw peanuts. They'll be sold as "green" peanuts, but don't expect them to be that color. In baton rouge you can find them at produce stands and grocery stores.

                                                                              They'll be kind of wet and dirty, so you rinse them off first. Then boil them for a long time with plenty of salt and whatever spices you want. I use whole red chiles, garlic, shallots, and little bit of liquid crab boil. (I can give a more exact recipe if you're interested, but it's all personal taste.) On the stove top it'll take at least six hours or about ten hours in a crock pot on high.

                                                                              You can freeze them to preserve them afterwards, but I've never been a big fan of the texture when they thaw, and my sweetheart eats the extra pretty quickly. They'll last a week easily in the fridge. You can't can them without a pressure cooker; this creepy slime mold will develop on them.

                                                                              1. re: Altarbo

                                                                                Dumb question. What do they taste like? Like roasted peanuts with your seasonings? Or different?

                                                                                And texture? Soft?

                                                                                1. re: karykat

                                                                                  soft, like an edamame. taste like the seasonings, with an "earthy" undertone. de-li-cious!

                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                    Thanks! I think I've seen these at our farmers market. Didn't know peanuts could grow here. (We have cold snowy winters!) I will have to investigate.

                                                                                    1. re: karykat

                                                                                      get altarbo's ratios -- a good amount of salt is critical, but too much will ruin them. the crockpot is easiest, but i don't recall needing 10 hours…. you can test at 6 and 8 hours from when they begin to boil).

                                                                                2. re: Altarbo

                                                                                  this is so interesting. i've never heard of them. My mom was a VA gal and my dad from New Orl. but boiled peanuts never appeared or were discussed in our house. Are they a GA thing?
                                                                                  and SIX hours to cook??? wow, i don't think i've heard of any legume taking that long. sounds like pebbles! but i am so intrigued. do you eat them as a snack, or a side dish? are they peanuts that were too young at harvest time- to be used for roasted peanuts?
                                                                                  thank you for educatin' me!

                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                    they are eaten as a snack.

                                                                                    the peanuts are the same "virginia" variety as those used for roasting. of course, there are other varieties that are roasted. http://www.harvestwizard.com/2009/04/...

                                                                                    they cook in their tough shells…hence the long time needed to cook. you peel them as you eat them, as you would roasted peanuts in the shell.

                                                                                    so sad your folks didn't give you any boiled peanuts. ;-).

                                                                                    they are all over the deep south -- mostly starting around the va. - n.c. border as you go south on 95. they are big in the low country, ga., alabama, n. florida -- basically wherever peanuts are grown around the south. true soul food!

                                                                                    ""Peanuts came to North America by way of Africa, having been transplanted there from the Portuguese and Spanish colonies in South America. The peanut is known by several names including groundnut, earthnut and ground peas. Two other words of African origin for peanuts are pinder and goober. Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington called peanuts "peendar" and "Pindars" (1794, 1798), while the word goober was used principally in the 19th century. Union soldiers fighting on southern soil during the Civil War found southern peanuts both tasty and filling. The Civil War song "Eating Goober Peas" was a popular ditty sung by Union soldiers, and, when the song was published its lyrics and music, were attributed to the fictitious team of "A. Pindar" and P. Nutt."

                                                                                    Enslaved Africans used the peanut to make peanut pie and peanut soup. Often times, it was boiled in salt and spices, and consumed as a soggy, strong tasting but good source of nutrition. Community "peanut boilings" were common neighbourhood events, and the practice of feeding pigs massive amounts of peanuts to fatten them for show or sale was known as "hogging off."""" http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/histo...

                                                                                    i think the vietnamese like boiled peanuts, too.

                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                      They're popular in China too. Boiled w salt and star anise, among other flavorings. Often a giveaway appetizer in restaurants. Raw in-shell peanuts are often available in Manhattan Chinatown.

                                                                            2. Homemade caramels, wrapped in parchment squares. My brother always asks if I'm going to make them. I often pass them out with cookies, but last year I did fudge (cheater fudge with marshmallow cream, I'm afraid of the real deal) peanut butter bars, two kinds of marshmallows, and a spicy and salty and sweet pecan and pumpkin seed brittle, which will definitely get made every year.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                I'm late to this thread, but if you see this, would you mind posting your brittle recipe? Thank you!

                                                                              2. I'm not really sure why I started doing this, but most years, I give away beef jerky for Christmas. I've seriously considered pralines, canned tomatoes (from the summer), or cookies, but for whatever reason, it's the jerky that always makes a hit. I've also done pickled watermelon rinds, but that only worked so-so. Now that I think about it, spiced nuts might be a nice addition.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: gilintx

                                                                                  Jerky is right up my alley. AND may just be the excuse I need to purchase the dehydrator I've been wanting. Would you share any favorite recipes or jerky making techniques, for this newbie?

                                                                                2. In addition to cookies I make caramel corn, almond buttercrunch and candied fruit rinds. I also give canned goods where I provide a list of what I make then my family and friends choose their favorites. Some of the ones that are valued are dilly beans, watermelon rind pickles, BBQ Sauce and chocolate raspberry jam.

                                                                                  1. Fleur de sel caramels and/or chocolate truffles. Presented in a candy box (so many pretty ones can be had online) and wrapped in thick metallic paper (check out Nashville Wraps for a big, inexpensive roll of metallic kraft paper), people have always been very excited about these. If you're handy with a candy thermometer and/or know how to properly temper chocolate, it's a great gift. I buy a big bulk bag of Valrhona and go to town. I tend to pass boxes out around the holidays or use them as hostess gifts. Great in addition to that cliched (but solid) bottle of wine. I believe they can be made in advance and frozen. I still have a hundred leftover from my wedding (I went a bit crazy) and they thaw fine (and eat fine, too...a few midnight freezer raids in this house).

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Orange_Blossom

                                                                                      That sounds so lovely!! Would you share your recipe for both the caramels and truffles?

                                                                                    2. chocolate truffles,flavored and or coated uniquely IE add almond extract or amaretto,roll in coarse ground almonds,peppermint booze or extract,coat with ground peppermint candy,rum and coconut,bourbon and pecans
                                                                                      Thick chocolate sauce,won't pour until warmed
                                                                                      herb flavoured vinegar and include different vinegars,rice vinegar based are most popular on my list
                                                                                      jelly,jam,pickles,cookies
                                                                                      Maybe even just one thing that becomes "yours" my sister's strawberry jam is legendary,as is Carol's fudge,Julie's green bean,elephant garlic,habanero pickle,Betsy's rosemary jelly,almost salty in a pear base.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: lcool

                                                                                        All great ideas! I'm definitely trying to figure out that 'one' thing that I can prefect into 'my' classic gift!

                                                                                      2. Home made blue cheese dressing! We just mix equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise (you could do homemade or not) and then add blue cheese (we actually use gorgonzola usually) until you have the consistency you want. Throw in some whole cloves of garlic, let the whole thing sit for two days to meld, pop into mason jars with ribbons and people love it!

                                                                                        It's nice because it's a little unusual. It keeps in the fridge for about a month.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: luciaannek

                                                                                          Ooohhh--I think you could put gorgonzola on a shoe and I'd be tempted to eat it. Great idea, thanks!

                                                                                        2. I really like thinking of something different every year. Last holiday, I think we made a few chutney and pickled things from Ad Hoc At Home. They were very good.

                                                                                          But as we were making these things and spending more than I thought we would, I thought of something easy and simple for thie year. Toffee and Coffee. It will be little fruit baskets wtih bags of homemade toffee (which could be frozen if too many sweets at Christmas) and good coffee beans. Easy and good.

                                                                                          1. Despite what I just said about being really easy this year, I had a different thought while I was picking black currants this morning. I've been tucking them away in the freezer as they ripen.

                                                                                            And was thinking about little batches of a savory sauce with black currants, some onion, some sherry vinegar, other things. I've seen a few recipes. May do that if we aren't using up our black currant fortune at a good clip by the holidays. It would be good with pork or poultry.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: karykat

                                                                                              karykat, I'd be thrilled if someone gave me a jar of blackcurrant sauce (or jam, or whatever). I adore blackcurrant things, and also think it would make good gifts in general, because they are still relatively rare and unknown in the US after many years of their cultivation being banned due to disease.

                                                                                            2. I make homemade pimento cheese every year and it's become such a tradition for giftees that we are getting gifts earlier and earlier in the season so that we do not forget them on the "cheese" list. Don't know what part of the country you are in but this is wildly popular in the south and it's a real treat when it's homemade. The best part about it is that I can make it in the fall as time allows and it freezes beautifully.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: cooking4watts

                                                                                                I do not know what pimento cheese is but sounds very intriging - would you please-please-please share your recipe?

                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                  You must not be from the south! Pimento cheese could be called roasted red pepper spread anywhere else in the country and I really don't follow much of a recipe - but here's the basic premise -

                                                                                                  cheese - sharp cheddar, white cheddar. pepper jack if you like spicy, whatever ends you need to use in your fridge! - GRATED - do not use pre-grated stuff from the grocery
                                                                                                  mayonaise - I always use Hellman's light
                                                                                                  diced pimentos - you may have to use roasted red peppers if you cannot find them in your area
                                                                                                  salt
                                                                                                  pepper
                                                                                                  slight dash of sugar
                                                                                                  slight dash of apple cider vinegar

                                                                                                  mix by hand until you have a good "spread" - serve on crackers, raw veggies (especially celery) grilled, or toasted; very popular as cheese on a burger

                                                                                                  It's easy to make a big batch and freeze in containers that you can reasonably use; will keep 2 weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!

                                                                                                  1. re: cooking4watts

                                                                                                    Ah! So that's what "pimento cheese" is. I've always thought of some horrid sliced stuff that was made commercially in the 50s and 60s based on tasteless American cheese.

                                                                                                    I do a similar thing with about 3 parts sharp cheese, 1 part butter and some smashed roasted garlic or herbs as a schmeer for hardy whole grain bread. Good with a cold beer.

                                                                                                    1. re: cooking4watts

                                                                                                      Thank you, c4w! I'll definitely make it soon - sounds so very yummy:)

                                                                                                      1. re: cooking4watts

                                                                                                        Your reply was so cute! I had no idea that Pimento Cheese did NOT exist outside the South!

                                                                                                        Thank you for the recipe .... I have always wanted to make it at home and now I can. Merci!

                                                                                                  2. Several that I love to make:

                                                                                                    - roasted applesauce

                                                                                                    - lemongrass simple syrup

                                                                                                    - all sorts of jams and jellies

                                                                                                    - Saskatoon vinegar

                                                                                                    - spicy pepitas

                                                                                                    - English toffee with dark chocolate and roasted hazelnuts

                                                                                                    - chile infused honey (i.e. chipotle)

                                                                                                    - homemade vanilla extract

                                                                                                    - chutneys, relishes (fruit and veg)

                                                                                                    - marinated feta

                                                                                                    - seasonings such as orange rosemary salt , rubs and chile blends

                                                                                                    - candied orange, tangerine, lemon, lime, grapefruit zest

                                                                                                    - preserved lemons
                                                                                                    - various kinds of BBQ sauce

                                                                                                    - various kinds of pesto

                                                                                                    - carrot dills

                                                                                                    - candied garlic

                                                                                                    - various ketchups (i.e. papaya)

                                                                                                    - many mustards

                                                                                                    - mostarda

                                                                                                    - am working on charcuterie such as duck sausage

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                      How do you use your lemongrass simple syrup.

                                                                                                      The lemongrass is just starting to come into our farmers market here.

                                                                                                      1. re: karykat

                                                                                                        Drizzled over fresh fruit, pavlova, pound cake, in trifles, as a glaze for pork, shrimp, scallops and duck...it is delicious and different. Just do a simple syrup but throw in some crushed stalks of lemongrass to infuse and let sit until the mixture cools to room temperature.

                                                                                                        1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                          Sounds fantastic. How long does it keep?

                                                                                                      2. re: chefathome

                                                                                                        chefathome - please explain your roasted applesauce and how you feel it differs from regular applesauce (homemade of course!)

                                                                                                        1. re: twyst

                                                                                                          Whaaaat? Sounds insane! Recipe, please!

                                                                                                        2. Homemade liqueurs -- this time of year I'm making basil, often basil-ginger. Other standbys include limoncello (including vanilla limoncello and rosemary limoncello), orange with ginger/cardamom/star anise, blood orange with cardamom, lavender, and falernum. So many options!

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: andreaborn

                                                                                                            I'm thinking about making bacon bourbon this year but may have to keep it!

                                                                                                            1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                              Me too, reine de Saba type usually, fruitcake to aficionados ONLY! Or brownies. Shortbread and spice cookies at Christmas.

                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                I think I'm going to make madeleines this year.

                                                                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                  They're attractive and delicious. Great idea.

                                                                                                            2. Peppermint Bark
                                                                                                              Chocolate Truffles
                                                                                                              Gingerbread snowflakes
                                                                                                              Ina Gartens Lemon Loaves http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...
                                                                                                              Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rollshttp://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/cinammon_rolls_/
                                                                                                              Cheddar Shortbread
                                                                                                              Gramercy Tavern's Gingerbread http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/12/gra...

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                okay...i will be making those cinnamon rolls and gingerbread cake this week. thanks for making me gain 10lbs.... :)

                                                                                                              2. I used to give:

                                                                                                                Jams, jelly, chutney

                                                                                                                Homemade pastas

                                                                                                                Orange Liquor or Plum Gin

                                                                                                                Spice Mixes

                                                                                                                Semolina Olive Bread

                                                                                                                1. Last year, I did sea-salted caramels individually-wrapped in parchment paper and several kinds of barks. One was dark chocolate with pumpkin seeds and chopped figs, the other white with mini marshmellows and crunched up Brach's peppermints.

                                                                                                                  Homemade granola bars. Elk jerky.

                                                                                                                  Sometimes I give my home canned mango/plum/salsa/chutney, or salsa. One year I was on a homemade seasoned salt kick. I kind of go in fads then burnout to something new and fun to make.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: natewrites

                                                                                                                    the caramels sound so good - are they difficult to make?

                                                                                                                    1. re: fromaroad

                                                                                                                      Not to totally speak for natewrites, but since it's been a while since he posted - no! they're so worth the time with the candy thermometer and people just drool over them. Hardly anyone gets homemade candy anymore.

                                                                                                                  2. Black olive pesto. Great on bread, pasta, or a pizza topping.

                                                                                                                    1. Tall quiches, cookies, jam, ice cream, bbq pork buns, and flautas. Lots of things that has already been listed. However, I'm getting some good ideas here today.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                        How do you gift your quiches? ...I'm drooling at the thought of bbq pork buns.

                                                                                                                      2. I'm pretty boring for Christmas:
                                                                                                                        Jam (I usually make 5 or 6 varieties a summer); my mother also makes chutneys and chili sauce..
                                                                                                                        -Candied pecans.
                                                                                                                        -Peppermint bark
                                                                                                                        -Pretzel Toffee bark.
                                                                                                                        -5 or 6 types of cookies.. a few standards, and I try new ones every year.

                                                                                                                        For birthdays I tend to give cookies or brownies/blondies and jam...

                                                                                                                        1. Last year I made a simple dessert that was very well received and I have already decided will become a tradition for me- homemade almond butter cups! I have a friend who can't eat most peanut butter cup candies because she's extremely allergic to milk products. I made this originally as a gift for her but everyone loves them! This isn't so much a recipe as a process:

                                                                                                                          Melt down (in a double boiler or microwave) dark chocolate chips (easy to find dairy free- try Trader Joe's, and I believe Ghiradelli's are as well?). Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners, spray with nonstick spray or oil (I use olive oil spray- it doesn't really matter). Spoon a dollop of chocolate into each cup and "paint" it up the sides with a small brush (I used a small painbrush which I washed, but had never been used anyway). Place in the fridge to chill while you make the filling. Beat creamy almond butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, vanilla extract, and honey to taste (I use salted almond butter and basically keep adding spices and honey until I think it's yummy, also add cocoa powder) with a fork until rather dry and fluffy, though it will still be quite dense. Press a small ball of almond butter into each chocolate cup (I find this easy to do with fingers, actually). Top with another dollop of chocolate and spread it out to the edges of the cup to seal it. Top with some cinnamon, salt, sugar, or what have you and chill or cool at room temp. Please note that I am not very professional about candy making and your chocolate may "bloom" but it still tastes AWESOME.

                                                                                                                          This is NOT like a Reeses cup at all. It is thick and rich, less sweet and more satisfying. If you want a fluffier and sweeter filling, I recommend perhaps beating the nut butter with butter and confectioner's sugar.

                                                                                                                          It's easy to do endless variations with all kinds of extracts, different sweeteners, spices, add-ins, etc. The cup format is cute and makes them seem super fancy when all you really did was melt some chocolate (shhhh...). This summer I made a batch of white chocolate cups filled with a dark chocolate espresso pudding for a friend's birthday gift- those went down well too. :)

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: frannieface77

                                                                                                                            This is BRILLIANT and definitely 'speaks' to me!

                                                                                                                            Do you recall the ratio of spices and almond butter? I know it's to taste, but if you could start me off with some sort of starting point, it would be much appreciate it!

                                                                                                                            1. re: The Oracle

                                                                                                                              Oo I just love being called "brilliant"! [: I'm trying to remember...I think i started off with a half jar of almond butter (I think I flavored the other half differently) last time I made these. Probably added a couple tablespoons of honey, at LEAST a couple teaspoons cinnamon (I love the stuff, and it may have amounted to far more), a couple dashes of nutmeg (yeah, real specific, heh...) and probably a few good pinches of clove. With sweet spices like cinnamon I always start off with most. Clove I start off easier and keep adding. Don't recall whether I added any ginger, but I'd start off easy depending on the flavor you want to achieve. I think that a veryyyy subtle hand with a pinch of cayenne could be fantastic...I need to give that one a try sometime, just popped into my head...

                                                                                                                              Of course, it doesnt necessarily need much spice at all, but since I made this for the holidays I wanted it to taste warm and seasonal. :) Sorry for the not-very-specific instructions, but experimentation is fun! Just go with the flow and have a ball! Let me know how your own turn out if you ever make them.

                                                                                                                              1. re: frannieface77

                                                                                                                                Thank you! That was just the type of guidelines I was looking for! :) I can't wait to make these... I will let you know how they turn out.

                                                                                                                                Did you end up taking them out of the wrappers, when you gifted them? Or did you keep them in.... just curious. Thanks, again!

                                                                                                                                1. re: The Oracle

                                                                                                                                  Oh, right- forgot that bit. I take them out, that's why I put in the spray- just in case the paper sticks. Though I suppose if you used foil wrappers they wouldn't stick. I usually just stack 'em in a box or tin with paper between the layers if necessary, tie a bow and go.

                                                                                                                          2. Not fancy, but I usually bake up some breakfast breads (pumpkin harvest, morning glory, etc), pre-slice them, and wrap them up for the older ladies in my family. They freeze them and then they can just pull out a slice or two for breakfast or snack. Personally, I don't want my grandmother turning on the oven since she forgets to turn it back off...so this way she can have homemade goodies.

                                                                                                                            We always do cookies for the neighbors.

                                                                                                                            Here a super easy, but very yummy candy that is always a hit:
                                                                                                                            Melt a bag of dark chocolate chips and a bag of peanut butter chips in the microwave. Mix them together with a jar of honey roasted peanuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto a waxed lined cookie sheet and cool. These things are awesome!

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: rizzo0904

                                                                                                                              rizzo - I would love your morning glory bread recipe - pretty please?!

                                                                                                                                1. re: lilgi

                                                                                                                                  ... well, I certainly think so! Plus, it's more appropriate when you show up to a wake with bread...

                                                                                                                              1. I make vinegars. It's probably a little late for this year (unless you have everblooming plants) but the most popular raspberry vinegar. The hardest part is finding a source for good quality white wine vinegar. I buy bottles from a wine making supplier that come with foil tops. You just fill the bottles with your flavored vinegar, put on a screw on type lid that comes with it. Then this foil top that you dunk it boiling water. It ends up looking very professional. I attach a card with a recipe and I've had people begging me to remember to keep them on "the list". I've also made basil vinegars white wine vinegar with opal basil turns into a very pretty pink color. And for my brother who loves all things spicy I put a bunch of garlic, dried peppers and a handful of basil.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: chocchic

                                                                                                                                  The best source for wine vinegar, red or white, is IMHO home made. Look for a bottle of organic/unfiltered vinegar that looks a little cloudy on the bottom. The cloudiness is vinegar "mother.". Add the same color of wine, put it in a crock or jar with a loosely fitting top. Throw dregs of similarly colored wines in. After awhile, vinegar! I keep both colors going all of the time. I gift plain wine vinegar, but raspberry sounds even better! I will try it.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                                                                    Hmm, I've had that globby cloudy thing at the bottom of some of the commercial red wine jugs that I've had in the past and always suspected that it was a mother vinegar but was a little dubious of just adding wine. It works huh? Does it need to be organic cause this was a pretty ordinary brand vinegar but came in gallon jugs.

                                                                                                                                2. Your post reminded me of a recipe that has received rave reviews on other websites yet we have not yet nade it, I guess we have just forgotten. It is Marilyn's English Toffee that has a chocolate coating, similar to a Heath Bar or Skor candy bars.

                                                                                                                                  http://lisa-cooks.blogspot.com/2007/1...

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                    This looks good. I am going to do "toffee and coffee" for gifts this year. Some toffee and some good ground coffee or beans. So I have been on the lookout for a good toffee recipe.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                        Thank you! I've tucked this recipe away for the holidays.

                                                                                                                                    1. The most requested edible item I gift each year are my flavored vodkas. Home made Limoncello, Cranberry Liquor and Pomegranate Liquor, to be exact. People beg to be put on the gift list : ) The Limoncello is bright, the Cranberry thick and a bit syrupy, the Pomegranate unexpected. I start them after Halloween.

                                                                                                                                      22 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: katcancook

                                                                                                                                        I can certainly understand why! Care to share your liquor making secrets?! I'm mostly interested in Limoncello.... but would not mind all! :)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Oracle

                                                                                                                                          Sorry for the delay - here is the link I use - http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bevera...
                                                                                                                                          I can't claim originality : ) Use lemons with the thickest skin you can find. Heavy for their size. I also juice the lemons and freeze the juice so I don't waste it. I bought glass gallon jars at Wal-Mart for cheap - that way it doesn't add to your cost. I've only made it with Grey Goose. My friends beg for it every year! Once it's done, keep in the freezer so as not to lose flavor. Let me know if you try it!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: katcancook

                                                                                                                                            THANK YOU!!!!!! I appreciate the tips as well!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: The Oracle

                                                                                                                                            Part II - Cranberry liquor - 2 cups of crushed fresh cranberries (I just whirl a bit in the old food processor), 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of vodka. Combine and stir a bit to dissolve the sugar. Then let it sit for 22 days. This will be nice and syrupy. Cranberries have a lot of natural pectin, so it thickens a bit. I use this to make Christmas Bellinis! Get some Prosecco, add some of your liquor, voila - beautiful, home made cocktail!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: katcancook

                                                                                                                                              i am sooooo bookmarking this thread! ;-).

                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                Let me know if you make it! Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: katcancook

                                                                                                                                                Stupid question, but where do you get your bottles to gift them in?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sillysully

                                                                                                                                                  I don't know where katcancook gets hers/his. But I've had good experiences ordering from Specialty Bottle ( http://www.specialtybottle.com/sauceb... ) for the ones I use when I've made limoncello. They aren't expensive and some of the bottles are really nice.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                                                    I've had good experiences with specialty bottle too. You don't have to buy 100 at a time. I like the bottles with swing tops for vinegars and things like that.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks! Swingtop or cork for liquer?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sillysully

                                                                                                                                                        I like corks, but I've used swing tops as well. Now I want to go buy some cranberries and get going! I think I saw pomegranetes at the store last week . . . heaven.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: katcancook

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks! Going to order now so I can get going on this!! And the bacon jam which sounds insanely good!

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: sillysully

                                                                                                                                                          I've never tried the swingtops. I'm eager to try the cranberry liqueur too.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                                                            I think they look really nice and are practical. I need to order more -- have only a few left. And the holidays are coming fast.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sillysully

                                                                                                                                                        I got some at World Market (I think they were 2 for $8.00). You can also order online - LNG212's site is a good one!!

                                                                                                                                                      3. re: katcancook

                                                                                                                                                        katcancook - after the 22 days of "maturing", do you then strain out the cranberry fruit leaving only the liquid? Or do you use some of the crushed fruit when making drinks and such? Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                                                          Ooo, sorry! Forgot that part ; ) Strain out the fruit through a fine sieve, don't leave it in the drink. I use the fruit to make cranberry sauce - I hate to waste anything!!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: katcancook

                                                                                                                                                            Cool, thanks. The cranberries infused with booze would make a great starter to cranberry sauce. Good idea!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                                                            katcancook -- OMG WOW!! I just tasted my first "mature" jar of the cranberry liqueur. It is delicious. And so syrupy. I love it. I can't wait to bottle it. I'm afraid I'm not going to have enough to give away - I'll have to buy small bottles! :) Thanks again for the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LNG212

                                                                                                                                                              This is definitely on my to do list.

                                                                                                                                                          3. re: katcancook

                                                                                                                                                            This sounds AMAZING. I just asked if you strain, but saw the response upthread. How do you do your pomegranate liquor?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: katcancook

                                                                                                                                                              Your recipe is a gem! The cranberry liquor turns out so delicious and was much enjoyed. I will probably make it again this year. So simple and so good.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I have gifted this candied-nut recipe a few times in a few months (I've eaten my fair share too), and plan to make more this winter because it is warm and cozy.

                                                                                                                                                          With slightly altered wording, from the early summer 2011 Food & Drink magazine (thank you Ontario liquor stores):

                                                                                                                                                          1/2 cup honey
                                                                                                                                                          2 tbsp. butter
                                                                                                                                                          1 tbsp. garam masala
                                                                                                                                                          Generous pinch cayenne pepper
                                                                                                                                                          4 cups salted mixed nuts
                                                                                                                                                          1 tsp. kosher salt

                                                                                                                                                          1. Preheat oven to 325F (160C).
                                                                                                                                                          2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place honey & butter in large frying pan over medium heat until butter melted/mixture bubbling. Cook 2-3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until butter turns caramel colour. Remove from heat, add garam masala and cayenne, then nuts. Stir until well coated.
                                                                                                                                                          3. Spread nuts on baking sheet in one layer, and bake until nuts are toasted (about 15 mins.). Cool slighty & toss with salt, then add add'l salt to taste if desired. Cool completely, stirring occasionally to break nuts into clumps.

                                                                                                                                                          (I add some spicy madras curry powder and have tended to make this with straight-up peanuts instead of a mixture, but either way wrapped up in cello with some lovely ribbon people love this!)

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. I recently made a Salted Caramel Pear Butter, and it was absolutely delicious! My co-worker gave me a 5-gallon bucket of pears which were the best pears I've ever had, and I made pear cinnamon basil sorbet and then the pear butter with them. Thank goodness for my mom, or I would have never got all of those suckers peeled! Anyway, here is the recipe, I highly recommend it: http://knitandnosh.typepad.com/knit_n... I did double it and I added a teaspoon of cinnamon. I can't wait to make some biscuits! :-)

                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                              Katie, that recipe is a keeper and a good base formula for so many combinations. I love fruit butters!

                                                                                                                                                              Recently I made pumpkin butter. When I made my mini loaves of pumpkin bread a week later I sub'd the same amount of canned pumpkin and all of the spice ingredients for the pumpkin butter. It produced a moister, richer pumpkin result that I won't be going back to the traditional recipe for the bread again. Takes a bit of pre-planning but the fruit butter as a baking ingredient is really terrific.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                I will need to try a pumpkin butter too... my hubby loves anything pumpkin! Good idea! And excellent substitution idea too!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                  HillJ, can you give us a bit of clarification about what you did, please?

                                                                                                                                                                  ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                  all i know is that my mom put up pears and then we always had cobbler from those… yum. http://www.chow.com/recipes/13522-geo...
                                                                                                                                                                  not so great as a "gift" (per the OP) but dang good as a dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                    Sure alkapal, I'd be happy to.

                                                                                                                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                    My pumpkin bread recipe calls for 15 oz of pumpkin and a list of what we all call "pumpkin pie spice" in the ingredient list. For the mini loaves I made, I substituted the same amt. of pumpkin and the entire spice list for the pumpkin butter. Then, proceeded with the rest of the ingredients (flour, eggs, b soda, b powder, oil, salt, except the sugar-which I cut back on given the amt. in the butter). Then baked at 325 for 35 mins. (remember this is for 4, mini loaves). What resulted was a moist tea bread that held it's shape well and was super rich in pumpkin flavor. I didn't have any pepitas on hand or I would have sprinkled a small handful over each loaf before baking.

                                                                                                                                                                    If you took those delcious pears and followed a fav basic tea bread recipe, I have little doubt it would be wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                      thank you very much, hill J! why do you think using the pumpkin butter makes for a deeper flavor and moister loaf? maybe because it is concentrated in flavor already?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                        By cooking the pumpkin, sugar and spices together in a pot; warming until well blended and jarring them for a time to ripen you've got some wonderfully concentrated flavor there. Pumpkin by itself straight out of the can for a recipe provides flavor, moisture...but not the same time given to meld flavors. So yes I agree with you.

                                                                                                                                                                        Also using the pumpkin butter created a tender loaf. Cuts beautifully, isn't the least bit gooey or under cooked (especially in the middle) but wonderfully moist.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                  This just in from the husband: "This is the best jelly or jam or butter I've ever had!" Not that he's biased or anything! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                    hey when the hubby says so it's gotta be true!

                                                                                                                                                                3. Salad dressings. So few people make their own. My best include: Mom's Curry Vinaigrette, Port and Walnut, Hazelnut Madeira, Tofu Cumin,Dijon Sherry Viniagrette, Orange Chipotle, Raspberry, Caesar. If you want any of these recipes, let me know.

                                                                                                                                                                  I also do Multigrain Pancake Mix with Pecans (they have to add buttermilk, butter, eggs, opt. berries.)

                                                                                                                                                                  28 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                    Opinionetedchef, all your recipes sound wonderful - please post as many as you can. What a great idea to give dressings! I was at the farmers market with a friend on the weekend and she bought several salad dressings because she "never gets around to making them". And she is pretty good cook, go figure... I have a friend who adores pancakes and your mix would make a lovely gift for her.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                      If gifting this pancake mix, you might want to include a card with the list of wet ingredients to add, and a print out of the recipe directions. let me know if you try them! i'll do dressings later

                                                                                                                                                                      MINDY’S SUCCULENT MULTIGRAIN RASPBERRY BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

                                                                                                                                                                      WITH ORANGE MAPLE SYRUP

                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 C. WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR (pastry or regular)

                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 C. WHITE FLOUR (pastry or regular)

                                                                                                                                                                      3/4 C. CORNMEAL- stoneground preferable

                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 C. ROLLED OATS (not Instant) chopped briefly in cuisinart

                                                                                                                                                                      1 T. BAKING POWDER

                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 HEAPING TSP. Kosher SALT

                                                                                                                                                                      6 T. PACKED DARK BROWN SUGAR

                                                                                                                                                                      2 1/2 T. WHITE SUGAR

                                                                                                                                                                      2/3 C. CHOPPED PECANS
                                                                                                                                                                      -------------------------------------------------------

                                                                                                                                                                      6 T. MELTED UNSALTED BUTTER

                                                                                                                                                                      3-4 EGGS

                                                                                                                                                                      1 1/4 C. BUTTERMILK (or 5 T. buttermilk powder plus 1 1/4 c.warm water)

                                                                                                                                                                      1 T. FROZEN OJ CONCENTRATE (OPTIONAL)

                                                                                                                                                                      ZEST OF 1 ORANGE OR LEMON, CHOPPED FINE(OPTIONAL)

                                                                                                                                                                      RASPBERRIES 1 1/2 C. (fresh or frozen)

                                                                                                                                                                      BLUEBERRIES 1 1/2 C.

                                                                                                                                                                      Combine Flour though sugar and mix well with fork, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar. Add pecans.

                                                                                                                                                                      Combine butter through zest and add to dry ingredients, combining quickly and thoroughly. Batter should be veryb thick, not thin. If batter needs thickening, add a little cornmeal or oats. (Thick= batter should not spread much in pan.)

                                                                                                                                                                      Melt a thin coat of butter in non stick skillet over med high heat. When hot and sizzling,but not brown and burning, quickly add fruit to batter and drop spoons of batter into skillet, forming approx. 3” pancakes (easier to flip when this size.) Cook a few minutes til air bubbles show on surface and their bottoms are medium brown. Turn cakes and complete cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                      SYRUP: COMBINE 1 C. GRADE B MAPLE SYRUP WITH 1 T. O.J. CONCENTRATE.

                                                                                                                                                                      HEAT AND POUR OVER PANCAKES.

                                                                                                                                                                      This recipe makes approx. 24 pancakes. Option- divide dry ingredients into 2 containers and store for future use or gifts.

                                                                                                                                                                      Add wet ingredients when make pancakes.

                                                                                                                                                                      Ex: x1/2 dry ingredients needs this added later:

                                                                                                                                                                      3 T. melted unsalted butter

                                                                                                                                                                      2 lg. eggs

                                                                                                                                                                      2/3 c. buttermilk

                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 T. OJ concentrate

                                                                                                                                                                      3/4 c. raspberries

                                                                                                                                                                      3/4 c. blueberries

                                                                                                                                                                      For gifting, you could add 2 1/2 T. buttermilk powder to x 1/2 dry ingredients,

                                                                                                                                                                      and add 2/3 c. water to wet ingredients

                                                                                                                                                                      **I like dense chewy pancakes. You may want to add more leavening if these are not light enough for you.

                                                                                                                                                                      Opinionatedchef 11/06

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you sooooo much, Opinionatedchef! The pancakes sound amazing. I am going to try them on my daughter and little grandboys - all love pancakes. My SIN is gluten intolerant and I usually make his separately from a GF mix. My friend would love these for sure. I will half the recipe, write out directions on a nice card and attach it to the bag. Should look for suitable bags to put the mix in - what do you use? I love your idea of adding buttermilk powder but do not know where to get it. Any suggestions?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                          To make it even easier on giftees, you could add the buttermilk powder to the mix. I have done this with cornbread mix I made as a gift, so the recipient only had to add butter, eggs, and water; good since they then don't have to buy buttermilk to fix it.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you for the suggestion, Caitlin! Opinionatedchef also suggested this option in her post above. Where do you buy buttermilk powder? I have not seen it in a grocery store though have not specifically looked for it in the past.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                              i buy saco butmilk powder at Whole Foods. do you have those where you are? maybe also a health food store would carry it. i put the dry mix in a plastic container w/ lid. i store it in the frig or frzr (we have bad food moth problems.)

                                                                                                                                                                              yes, caitlin, i included that option in the recipe above!

                                                                                                                                                                              herby, i am going to make this recipe soon and will report back if i change it again
                                                                                                                                                                              (i have tweaked it since i started making it!)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                Opinionatedchef, I am in Canada and we do not have Whole Foods in Ottawa - it is coming but not for another 2-3 years. There are plenty of health food stores, a good one is close to where I live and I will stop by on the weekend. I am thinking about making a batch to try and then to take to my daughter's. My other daughter is unfortunately dairy intolerent. Both live in NYC and I will be there for T-giving.

                                                                                                                                                                                Please post your salad dressings if you can. I like the sound of all of them but particularly interested in Port and Walnut, Mom's Curry Vinaigrette, Orange Chipotle and Ceasar (in this order) - TIA!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                  We keep buttermilk powder on hand in the refrigerator. We find it in the same aisle as the baking supplies, flour, sugar, baking powder, etc. I see it in all of the grocery stores here in Minnesota. The brand is also Saco, it costs about $5 per can.

                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.amazon.com/Saco-Cultured-B...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                    Mindy’s CAESAR SALAD DRESSING 8Cups

                                                                                                                                                                                    3 T Garlic

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 tsp Dry Mustard

                                                                                                                                                                                    3 cans Anchovies

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 ½ C Lemon Juice

                                                                                                                                                                                    4 C Vegetable Oil and/or Extra Virgin Olive Oil

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 ½ C Parmesan Cheese , good quality,ground fine

                                                                                                                                                                                    ½ C Worcestershire Sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                    salt and freshly ground , coarse black pepper, to taste

                                                                                                                                                                                    Puree anchovies first in mini processor. transfer to cuisinart. Add the garlic, dry mustard, lemon juice,worcestershire sauce. Buzz to combine. While running, drizzle in oil til thick. add the parmesan cheese and Salt and pepper to taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I often end up adding more anchovies, garlic and/or worc. sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                      Mindy’s HAZELNUT MADEIRA/WALNUT PORT DRESSING 3c.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1 C Toasted Hazelnuts or Toasted Walnuts

                                                                                                                                                                                      3/4 C Sherry Vinegar

                                                                                                                                                                                      ½ C & 1 T Madeira or Port

                                                                                                                                                                                      3 T Dijon Mustard (Grey Poupon, not French’s)

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 tsp Sugar

                                                                                                                                                                                      1 T Pepper

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 1/4 C Walnut Oil or Hazelnut Oil

                                                                                                                                                                                      3/4 C Vegetable Oil
                                                                                                                                                                                      opt. minced and sauteed shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                      Rough chop nuts set aside. Combine all other ingredients except oils in cuisinart and process. Add oils in thin slow stream until combined. Pour into container and add nuts and/or shallots.

                                                                                                                                                                                      *Good quality nut oils are very expensive;this ratio gives a full nut flavor, but to economize, change the ratio of nut and vegetable oils.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                        yum. yum. yum. and did i say YUM?

                                                                                                                                                                                        i'm tasting it in my mind with arugula and goat or gorgonzola dolce cheese, maybe some thinly sliced apples -- maybe some frisee, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                        what do you prefer?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                          it works really well w/ cheese- we like chevre or truffle cheese. and i do prefer it on greens and not spinach (i like Mom's curry vingrette on spinach). but apples and pears, even dried tart cherries would be good. so glad you're psyched!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                        Mindy's MOM’S CURRY VINAIGRETTE‭

                                                                                                                                                                                        ‭ ‬3‭ ‬C‭ ‬Vegetable Oil‭

                                                                                                                                                                                        ‭ ½ ‬C‭ ‬White Wine or Dry Vermouth‭

                                                                                                                                                                                        ‭ ½ ‬C‭ ‬Chinese Soy Sauce (I like Superior Soy)‭ *

                                                                                                                                                                                        ‭ ‬1‭ ‬T‭ & ‬1‭ ‬tsp‭ ‬Sugar‭

                                                                                                                                                                                        ‭ ‬1‭ ‬C‭ ‬Red Wine Vinegar‭

                                                                                                                                                                                        ‭ ‬1‭ ‬T‭ & ‬1‭ ‬tsp‭ ‬Dry Mustard‭

                                                                                                                                                                                        ‭ ‬2‭ ‬tsp‭ ‬Curry Powder‭ (I prefer Sun Brand Madras curry powder)

                                                                                                                                                                                        ‭ ‬2‭ ‬tsp‭ ‬Salt‭

                                                                                                                                                                                        ‭ ‬2‭ ‬tsp‭ ‬Pepper‭

                                                                                                                                                                                        Combine White wine to pepper in cuisinart.While running, drizzle in oil until combined.‭ ‬Adjust seasoning.

                                                                                                                                                                                        *Kikkoman or other quality Japanese soy are too light for this to taste right

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                            How do you gift these dressings? In bottles or jars? I'd love to try them.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kim2310

                                                                                                                                                                                              kim, i put them in used condiment bottles, mini wine bottles, and plastic drink bottles (like odwala, where the labels are not glued on and come right off.) Or, for really a nice presentation, Homegoods/Marshall's often have inexp. painted glass vinegar/dressing bottles w/ corks in them.

                                                                                                                                                                                              For servings, you can estimate 1 T. per salad serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kim2310

                                                                                                                                                                                                I've gotten swingtop bottles that look neat by mail from Specialty Bottles for things like vinegars. With little tops that are attached and swing off and on. I like this place because you don't need to buy too many at a time: http://www.specialtybottle.com/swingt...

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you for sharing, Karykat! Will look some more tomorrow but thinking about ordering some for holiday gifting of Opinionatedchef's dressings. Going to make one or two for myself and most definitely her pancake mix to take to NYC for a kid-friendly test:)

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                              ‭ Mindy’s ORANGE ‬CHIPOTLE VINAIGRETTE‭ 2 c.+

                                                                                                                                                                                              ‭ ‬1‭ ‬T‭ ‬Ground Toasted Cumin‭ Seed

                                                                                                                                                                                              ‭ ‬1‭ ‬tsp‭ ‬Minced Ginger‭

                                                                                                                                                                                              ‭ ‬2‭ ‬T‭ Pureed canned chipotle in adobo sauce* (seedless preferred)

                                                                                                                                                                                              ‭ ‬1/4‭ ‬C‭ ‬Red Wine Vinegar‭

                                                                                                                                                                                              ‭ ‬1/4‭ ‬C‭ ‬Orange Juice frozen is fine‭

                                                                                                                                                                                              ‭ ‬2‭ ‬tsp‭ ‬Salt‭

                                                                                                                                                                                              1‭ ½ ‬C‭ ‬Vegetable Oil‭

                                                                                                                                                                                              Buzz Cumin through salt in cuisinart.‭ While running, d‬rizzle in oil.‭
                                                                                                                                                                                              ‭ ‬Adjust seasoning as needed.
                                                                                                                                                                                              * leftover chipotle puree can be kept in freezer forever; no need to fully defrost> just scrape off quantity as needed.
                                                                                                                                                                                              * if your canned chipotles have seeds, remove seeds before pureeing.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                *** CORRECTION to ABOVE chip. vngtte recipe:
                                                                                                                                                                                                it should say GARLIC, not Ginger! mea culpa. sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                You can find it at Bulk Barn, that's where I buy it in Toronto

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cheesymama

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you! I'll stop by this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                herby, i made these today and the proportions worked for me. i did use 4 eggs instead of 3. I also used plain yoghurt in place of buttermilk and that worked fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Did you make the whole recipe? You said the whole recipe makes 24 pancakes - large ones like in IHOP? How many people would it feed? Three per person?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                    herby, no, there's just TWO of us!! i made 12 3" pancakes. 3", not 6" ! we usually eat 3-4@ plus scrambled eggs .

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                      OK, that clarifies it. I just sorted out all ingredients for myself and plan to try the pancakes in the morning. Found buttermilk powder in the Bulk Barn, btw. So, here are a few additional questions:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. When you write 1 t. butter (or other), do you mean teaspoon or tablespoon?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Is it OK to use steel cut oats? I do not buy the flat kind. I could chop oats in the FP fine and let the mixture sit a bit before cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I only have AP flour and no OJ concentrate (have an orange and could squeeze the juice) - do you think it would make a huge difference?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll report on results once I make them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                        herby, i would think it wise to process the steel cut oats a bit but not to powder or anything. And let the pancake batter sit 5 or 10 min. For the OJ concentrate, sub orange zest finely chopped and OJ for the water as part of the buttermilk (meaning buttermilk powder mixed w/ all OJ, no water).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        T = tablespoon
                                                                                                                                                                                                        tsp= teaspoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                        you might not want as much fruit as i called for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                        p.s. it seems you could ammend that to 6 pancakes each (when we are hungry!)

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I'm gearing up to make jars of Apricot Chutney, page 240 of Ball's "Complete Book of Home Preserving." Everyone loves this stuff. When I gave it to a friend for the first time, I suggested that she serve it with chicken, pork or any kind of curry. I asked her later what she ate it with and her reply was "A spoon." It's also something you can make year round since the main ingredients are dried apricots and Granny Smith apples.

                                                                                                                                                                                        If I have time, I'll make the Cranberry Mustard from the same book.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mandycat

                                                                                                                                                                                          I've heard that the Ball's book is the BEST one for preserves. I love cranberry mustard!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                            As a young girl I considered Ball to be a very reliable primer. And, it still is: http://www.freshpreserving.com/home.aspx

                                                                                                                                                                                            There are a few blogs that really help cover the practice of making jams, jellies and jarred food well. One I really like right now is:

                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.foodinjars.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                              thank you hillJ!

                                                                                                                                                                                              ask and ye shall receive!

                                                                                                                                                                                              here is the cranberry mustard recipe! http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. 1.Chocolate chips cookie
                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Brownie in form of a cupcake
                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Biscotti
                                                                                                                                                                                          4. Mayonnaise
                                                                                                                                                                                          5. Lemon curd
                                                                                                                                                                                          6. Peanut butter cups
                                                                                                                                                                                          7. Chocolate truffles.

                                                                                                                                                                                          So basically the usual favorite sweets and I just happen to make good mayo that my family and friends love.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                              I love fruitcake! Do you have a favorite recipe? If so, would you share?? Thanks in advance!

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The usual cookie mixes (though I often throw in rosemary shortbread for a semi-savory alternative) jams, quick bread. Had luck with bourbon-fig preserves but didn't get to them this year. Also Kentucky Bourbon Spike a while back and maybe again this year:

                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                                              And dog biscuits for all the pooches on the street!

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mediumgoof

                                                                                                                                                                                                How did the Spike turn out? I have wanted to make this for years, might actually make it this year. Is the flavor intense?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mediumgoof

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do you have a special recipe you use, and would you be willing to share? I'm on the search for a wonderful treat for my canine friends. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Apart from the usual cookies, i seldomly make chocolate truffles, chocolate and nut bark and the occasional fruitcake (really more of a dried fruit/citrusy/boozy poundcake). The idea of make pannetone interests me, I'll look aroud for an begginer's recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I made this favorite Orange Cranberry fruit relish to put in my gift baskets this year. I love this stuff, I can eat it with a spoon just by itself. Great on turkey, roast pork, ham, on toast....

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Orange Cranberry Relish

                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 ounces whole cranberries, fresh or frozen

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 cup water
                                                                                                                                                                                                    3/4 cup granulated sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1  orange, seeded and cut into small, thin slivers (leave the peel on)
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1  apple, cored and cut into small, thin slivers (use a firm, crisp variety such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/4 cup raisins
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 cinnamon stick
                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 whole allspice berries
                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 whole cloves
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Preparation:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Put the cranberries, raisins, apricots,  water, sugar, orange and apple into a large pot over high heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tie the cinnamon stick, allspice and cloves up in cheesecloth, or put in a muslin spice bag. Add to the pot with the other ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Boil over high heat, stirring often. The cranberries will begin to pop open, making a sound almost like popcorn popping. When almost all of the cranberries have popped, turn off the heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you are going to eat the cranberry sauce within a week, simply transfer it to a heatproof container, cover and refrigerate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    For longer storage (1 year) at room temperature, ladle the cranberry sauce into sterilized 1/2-pint jars leaving 1/2-inch head space. Screw on canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    With either method, the cranberry sauce will thicken and gel as it cools, so don't worry if it still seems liquid when you first turn off the heat. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I just made this, I did not have any cheese cloth, so I took my whole spices, and I infused them into a cup and a half of water that I heated on the stove, and then strained out the whole spices, and used that water for my recipe.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Apple butter made in my Crock Pot (don't even need to peel the apples!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pumpkin butter (the Libby's recipe) with maple syrup instead of sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Red or green salsa/pepper sauce made with produce from my garden

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. One year we made boxes of assorted homemade candy---fudge, divinity, and dipped chocolates. When we ran out of fondant we dipped everything else we could lay hands on. A big favorite was something I would have thought too rich to eat and live to tell about it---large Medjool dates dipped halfway into chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                          How about prunes soaked in Armagnac dipped into chocolate? Oooooh mama.