It’s that time of year to start making little gifts to give your teachers, postman, hairdresser and kid’s bus driver. The last few days I’ve been busy roasting nuts, melting chocolate and writing out thank you notes. Here are a few of the home-made gifts on my list this year. They’re easy, delicious and perfect to show someone your gratitude for all they’ve done the past year.
We have a few people on our list that aren’t super keen on sweets so I thought I’d make some spiced nuts for them. I found this recipe in an old Martha Stewart magazine from eons ago and they’re absolutely tasty. A little sweet, a little spicy and a little salty. Perfection.
Here’s how to make them:
1 tsp course salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp molasses
1 tsp white vinegar
2 cups whole blanched almonds, toasted
-First of all toast the almonds in a 350 (180) degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
-In a large bowl combine salt, sugar and spices.
-In a large skillet over medium heat bring butter, molasses and vinegar to a boil. Add toasted almonds and stir to evenly coat.
-Add nut mixture to spice mixture, toss to coat.
-Transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake but mixture for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
-Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Next we made some orangettes which are chocolate covered candied orange peel. My daughter made them for her papa’s birthday last week and I realised how easy it is to make them. Perfect to take as a hostess gift or give anyone who loves the orange/chocolate combo.
There are only four ingredients to make these professional looking sweets. Here’s how to make them:
100 g Chocolate (good quality, preferably Belgian of course)
300 g sugar
3 ml water
-Cut the oranges in quarters and cut away everything to leave only the peel.
-Slice into skinny slivers (like above). Wash under cold water.
-Put sugar and water in pot and bring to a boil. Add orange peels and cook for approximately 60-80 minutes (or until you see they have become candied).
-Let candied peels cool on parchment paper.
-Melt chocolate and dip candied peels in to completely cover.
-Put peels in fridge so that chocolate hardens. Store peels in container for up to 2 weeks.
And last but not least I decided to make yet another edible gift that involves chocolate. I found some lovely little chocolate liners so I decided to try my hand at chocolate/truffle making.
I put some chopped chocolate in a double boiler and melted it. I then added some heavy cream and a few drops of mint extract. I did a bit of guessing at the measurements but at the end I had a thick smooth and pour-able mixture. I then filled the little chocolate wrappers and sprinkled crushed candy cane on top. From what the family says they are quite rich but very delicious.
You can also check out my Belgian Chocolate Spread which I made for everyone last year. It was a huge hit and quick to make with only 3 ingredients.
Do you have any favorite recipes or homemade goods that you give away at Christmas?