Food gifts are a warm and personal way to say you care during the holiday season. Whether you don’t know what to buy for the person who has everything, or you just want to add a personal touch to accompany the perfect gift, these holiday favorites are sure to hit the spot!
Peanut Butter Fudge
1/2 cup butter
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Pour over confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and pour into an 8” x 8” pan. Chill until firm and cut into squares.
Raspberry Starburst Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup raspberry jam
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt. In a large electric mixer bowl, beat together butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and almond extracts and stir until blended. Add flour mixture and stir until combined. Form dough into a 6 inch flattened disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350° F. On a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board, and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut dough into stars using a 2 1/2” cookie cutter. Using a 1” star shaped cookie cutter, cut out the center of half of the cookies. Be sure to dip your your cookie cutters in flour to prevent dough from sticking. Re-roll the scraps until all the dough has been used. Place cutouts 2” apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake about 10 minutes, until cookies are set and the edges are lightly browned. Remove cookies from baking sheets with a metal spatula and place on a wire rack to cool. Drop about a teaspoon of raspberry jam onto the center of each cookie without a cutout in the middle,. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the tops of the cookies that have the middle cutout with powdered sugar. Place the cutout cookies on top of the jam-covered cookies. Makes about two-dozen cookies.
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1-lb. package small pretzel twists
In a large roasting pan stir together oil, cinnamon, and sugar. Add pretzels and toss until the pretzels are fully coated. Bake, uncovered, at 300° F oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Makes 12 cups.
40 Oreo cookies
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
10 oz. dark chocolate baking melts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 oz. white chocolate baking melts
Place 10 cookies in a food processor, cover, and pulse until finely crushed. Pour crushed cookies into a large mixing bowl. Repeat, 10 cookies at a time, until all of the cookies are crushed. Add cream cheese to the crushed cookies and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined. Using a small ice cream scoop, shape the mixture into 1-inch balls. Place balls on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes or until firm. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Use a fork to dip the cookie balls into the melted chocolate, allowing excess chocolate to drip back into saucepan. Place truffles back on the waxed paper-lined baking sheet; freeze for a few minutes until firm. In a small saucepan, melt the white chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Place melted chocolate in a resealable plastic bag. Snip a small corner of bag and drizzle white decorations over the truffles. Chill for a few minutes until set.
3 cups shelled pecan halves
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Beat egg white and water together with a fork. Add sugar and seasonings to egg mixture. Add nuts and coat on all sides. Place nuts on foil-lined sheet to prevent sticking. Bake 1 hour at 250 degrees, turning once or twice. Be careful not to overcook!
Cool and serve.