Tag Archives: food gifts

A Few Of My Favorite Things – Holiday Goodies!

A couple of months ago, I teamed up with two of my cousins and we had ourselves a bake-a-thon.  The thought was to finish all of our holiday baking in one fell swoop!  We each came armed with recipes and ingredients for 4-5 things, and we made double batches of everything, which we divided into freezer bags, took home and piled in the freezer to be brought out as needed for holiday parties and such.

Well, as you can imagine, most of it didn’t make it to Christmas.  But it sure was nice to have on hand for company, last minute things to take to a potluck, and family dinners.  And of course, some just called to us in the evenings and had to be eaten.  I was very happy to discover that EVERY SINGLE THING froze beautifully and tasted fresh when thawed out.

Although I have a few things left up in freezer town, I am going to do a little more baking this weekend for Christmas.  So I thought I would put together a few of the recipes I will be pulling from for the holidays, in hopes of helping those of you in need of ideas.  Merry Christmas to each and every one of you out there!

Simply click on each recipe to go to the post.  Any of these will make a wonderful gift or a welcome addition to any holiday party.  Happy baking!

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Rich and indulgent, I love these!

Inside Out Peppermint Patties

Incredibly easy and only a few ingredients!

Classic Chocolate Brownies

My go-to foolproof brownies.  I make these all year long.

Chocolate Mint Snow-Top Cookies

Always a holiday favorite.

Flourless Double Chocolate Cookies

Decadent, chewy, and gluten and dairy free (and you won’t miss either one)!

Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

I know it sounds weird, but these were delicious!  They also come down on the healthier side of holiday treats at a fraction of the calories of regular brownies.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

My bumped-up version of banana bread.  So good!

Chocolate Chunk Cookies with a Twist

My favorite cookies, soft, rich, with a twist of orange and cinnamon.

Lemon Zucchini Bread

A delicious twist on an old favorite!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Cranberry Bliss Creme

Cranberries always make me think of Christmas, because that’s usually when I cook with them.  I have a lovely cranberry chocolate chip bread that is one of my seasonal favorites.  But that post is for another day.  Fresh cranberries are actually available all winter and you can get frozen ones year round (which could easily be substituted in this recipe). I love those tangy little things so I’m trying to take advantage of them a little more often.

This recipe was actually called Cranberry Curd, but whenever I hear the word “curd” my gag reflex immediately reacts.  Not a big fan of curds of any kind.  They make me think of things that are sour and gross.  Which admittedly, is not always the case.  But seriously, I never even knew what a curd was in this context.  I’ve heard of lemon curd but I always avoided it, picturing some cottage cheese-infested lemony concoction.  I was wrong.  A curd is simply a creamy fruit spread made with eggs.  It can be used in place of jam, on toast, on yogurt, for filling in cake…you get the idea.  It was sweet, tangy and wonderful!

Just use instead of jam. I especially liked it on sourdough.  Yum!

Just use instead of jam. I especially liked it on sourdough. Yum!

I made up a bunch of this during the holidays.  It was the perfect item to finish off a gift basket, present to a hostess, or offer as a token gift or thank you.  And we managed to keep and eat quite a bit of it ourselves.  I loved it on toast, but my favorite way to eat it was swirled into greek yogurt.

This is how most of mine ended up.  Swirled into thick plain or honey greek yogurt. Delicious and healthy too!

This is how most of mine ended up. Swirled into thick plain or honey greek yogurt. Delicious and healthy too!

I packaged it in small jam jars, which were great to put in the freezer and take out as needed.  The only drawback to this particular item is that it doesn’t last long!  With an expiration date of 2 weeks or so, you can’t stash it in the fridge and forget about it.  So cook some, and eat up!

Jars of Bliss to give out.  And a few to keep for myself.

Jars of Bliss to give out. And a few to keep for myself.

Cranberry Bliss Creme
(from Cooking Light.  Recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups, but can be easily doubled.  Allow a little extra time for the curd to thicken)

1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 (12 oz) package of fresh cranberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 large egg yoks
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. Grand Marnier (optional)

Combine water, lemon juice and cranberries in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until cranberries pop.  Place cranberry mixture in a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  Strain through a fine sieve over a bowl and discard solids.

Combine sugars and butter in a bowl.  Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined.  Add egg yolks and egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in cranberry mixture, cornstarch, and salt.  Place mixture in the top of a double boiler.  Cook over simmering water until a thermometer registers 160˚ and mixture thickens (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently.  Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in liqueur.  Cover and refrigerate.  Use within 2 weeks.

Perfect paired with something savory like Individual Mushroom Quiche.

Perfect paired with something savory like Individual Mushroom & Feta Quiche.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,