Edible Home-Made Gifts

14 Dec

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.

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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.

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Here’s how to make them:

Spicy Almonds

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.

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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.

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There are only four ingredients to make these professional looking sweets.  Here’s how to make them:

Orangettes

100 g Chocolate (good quality, preferably Belgian of course)
2 oranges
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.

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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?

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14 Responses to “Edible Home-Made Gifts”

  1. GrammaO December 14, 2012 at 15:05 #

    You really demonstrate the fact that a lot is in the packaging. WOW. Don’t suppose any of those gifts survive the interanational postal system. Ah well, that;s for the ideas, I’ll get baking.

  2. juliedekeyzer December 14, 2012 at 19:09 #

    Stuck at home with 2 sick kids and enormously sleep-deprived … and still your blog puts a smile on my face! Thank you for those little rays of sunshine once in a while ….

    • Jillian in Italy December 15, 2012 at 18:01 #

      Sorry to hear about the sick kids. Doesn’t it seem never-ending sometimes? Remember to take care of yourself as well!

  3. giova brusa December 14, 2012 at 22:48 #

    Everything looks so nice! And love the bunting ribbon. I’ve been so naughty with gifts and everything I doubt Santa will give me anything 😉

    • Jillian in Italy December 15, 2012 at 18:02 #

      I actually think of you when I see that ribbon. I wish I could get my hands on some more so I could send you some (it’s from Canada).

  4. pianoB December 14, 2012 at 23:05 #

    Nice ideas! Thanx for sharing, I might give the almonds a try. Btw, what’s “molasses” in italian?

    • Jillian in Italy December 15, 2012 at 18:03 #

      Non esiste! I’ve tried to find molasses for years here in Italy but no luck. I found it in Switzerland though (melasse). It’s a dark brown (really thick ) sugar syrup. Great for baking.

      • pianoB December 15, 2012 at 21:15 #

        😦 Thanx anyway!

  5. petra December 15, 2012 at 17:40 #

    Arghhhh, i missed my calling as an italian bus driver! Goshdarn it!

    • Jillian in Italy December 15, 2012 at 18:04 #

      Try making the orangettes. They are GOOD. Tom was so happy when Eva gave them to him.

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