For those of us who love to cook, giving a gift that is made from the heart of our home (the kitchen), is truly something that is an extension of ourselves. Here are several gift-giving ideas that we particularly enjoy.
Candied Citrus Peel
This recipe is from "The Fanny Farmer Cookbook" by Marion Cunningham. For gifts, double it - at least. And read through the recipe; you will need to allow time for the peel to stand overnight.
2 grapefruits or 3 oranges or 6 lemons
2 cups sugar, divided
3 Tbsps. light corn syrup
3/4 cup water
1. Peel fruit in large strips, using only zest and white peel. If white is very thick, trim it down a little.
2. Put peel in a pan, cover with cold water and simmer 30 minutes.
3. Drain, cover again with cold water and simmer until tender. Drain again and cut the peel into small strips, about 1/4 inch wide and 2 inches long.
4. Mix 1 cup sugar with corn syrup and water in a heavy saucepan and stir over low heat until dissolved. Dip a pastry brush in cold water and wash down the sides of the pan. Add peel and cook gently over low heat until most of syrup has been absorbed. Take care not to cook dry. Cover and let stand overnight.
5. Reheat and bring to a simmer again, then cool a little and drain. Spread several thicknesses of paper towels with the remaining cup of sugar and roll the peel in it, turning so that all the pieces are well coated. Let stand until dry enough to handle. If stored airtight, they will remain fresh for a few months. If they become too dry, put a lemon in the container for a day or two to soften the peel. Makes about 2 cups.
Download this recipe.
Easy Christmas Cinnamon Cookies
Makes Approx. 80 cookies
3 egg whites
8 oz. powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 drops almond extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
14 oz. ground almonds
Whip egg whites to a peak. Sift powdered sugar and slowly add to egg whites. Set aside 3 tablespoons of egg whites to decorate cookies. Add vanilla, almond extract, cinnamon and ground almonds. Put dough into a plastic bag and roll out to about 1/4 inch. Refrigerate bag for about 15 minutes. Cut bag open. Cut out cookies with a 2 inch star shaped cookie cutter and transfer onto baking pan lined with parchment paper. Brush cookies with egg whites
Bake at 250 F for approximately 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 210 F and bake for another 30 minutes.
The brushed egg whites should remain white. (approximately 40 calories per cookie). You can use ground hazelnuts instead of ground almonds.
Download this recipe.
Rosemary Maple Cashews
8 cups raw cashews
5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large bowl, toss the cashews with the maple syrup, olive oil, rosemary and cayenne.
2. Spread the cashews on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Immediately season the cashews with salt and pepper; let cool, tossing occasionally.
The cashews can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
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