Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sweet & Unique Christmas Gifts!

During the holidays there are many different gifts that you can give your family and friends. Here are some great recipes for some treats that are unique gifts! They are easy to make and perfect for gifts. They really put a fun twist on the regular holiday present! Enjoy!

Apple Cheddar Squash Soup

A Delicious festive holiday soup that can be put in a great glass bottle for friends and family to reheat and enjoy!


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 large white potato, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled butternut squash, fresh or frozen
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Chopped chives, for garnish (optional)
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)


Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and add the onion, apples, potato and squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sage and flour. Add the cider and cook over high heat, stirring, until thickened. Add the broth and milk, cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the potato is soft, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Add the cheese to the soup and stir over medium-low heat until melted. Puree in a blender in batches until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the prosciutto, more cheese and chives, if using. Serve with bread, if desired.

Sweet Spiced Nuts

These are an amazing gift! You can wrap them in some great colorful paper or a great container and wrap a ribbon around it and they can enjoy these delicious sweet treats with their friends and family!



Preheat the oven to 275. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl until frothy. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the spice blend and cayenne pepper. Toss the nuts in the egg white mixture, then stir in the sugar-spice mixture and Worcestershire sauce.

Spoon the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet in small clusters and bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely, then break into pieces.

Christmas Chutney

Chutney is an amazing holiday gift! It is so delicious and they can put it on anything from cheese to chicken! It is a thoughtful and unique gift!


  • 1 pound 8 1/2 ounces (750 grams) Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
  • 9 ounces (250 ounces) dried cranberries
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 12 fluid ounces (350 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons salt


Slice the apples into halves. Slice the halves lengthways into smaller pieces, roughly 1/4-inch width. Place the apple pieces and finely chopped onion into a saucepan with all the other ingredients. Heat the mixture until it is simmering quickly. Cook the mixture for 45 minutes, or until the chutney has thickened slightly and the fruit has become soft.

Spoon the mixture into sterilized jars and screw the lids onto the jars tightly. Allow to cool before storing in a cool, dark place.

Coconut Cranberry Macaroon

These macaroons are light as air and so scrumptious. Once again just put these in a cute container and they become the perfect sweet present!


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 cups (about 8 ounces) finely shredded unsweetened coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Whisk the sugar, egg whites, cranberry, orange zest, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Toss the coconut with the egg mixture until completely coated.

Moisten your finger tips with water. Form about 1 heaping tablespoon of the batter into pointed mounds or pyramids on the prepared pans, spacing them about 1-inch apart.

Bake until the edges are golden brown and the entire macaroon is nicely toasted and dry, 16 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve.

Store macaroons in a tightly sealed container for up to a week.


White Chocolate Holiday Bark

I love holiday treats like these. They are so easy to make and are a great gift!


  • 1 pound finely chopped white chocolate
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nut or plain oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cups shelled pistachio nuts, toasted and papery coating peeled
  • Equipment: Chocolate thermometer


Tempering the chocolate for the bark requires a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, improvise one by using a saucepan and a stainless steel bowl: Nestle the bowl into the saucepan, allowing a few inches of space to remain between the bottom of the bowl and the bottom of the saucepan. Keep an extra bowl of a similar size on hand to transfer the chocolate for cooling. Rest the chocolate thermometer on a towel. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Pour a couple inches of water into the bottom half of the double boiler and heat over medium-low to just below a simmer. Put the chocolate in the top half of the double boiler and set over the hot water. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring with a heat-resistant rubber spatula. As the chocolate melts, check the temperature periodically to make sure it stays between 82 and 86 degrees F. If it starts to rise above this temperature, quickly transfer the chocolate to the bowl on reserve and stir briskly to reduce heat. Return bowl to double boiler to maintain heat between 82 and 86 degrees F.

Remove bowl from over the hot water just before all the chocolate melts. Stir vigorously until the chocolate melts completely. Check temperature again. Stir in the oil until evenly blended. Chocolate is now tempered and ready to use. Keep within the 82 to 86 degree F range, returning bowl briefly to the double boiler if necessary.

Quickly stir the fruit and nuts into the chocolate. Spread chocolate mixture out on the prepared baking sheet so it's about 1/2-inch thick and the fruit and nuts are coated. Set bark aside at room temperature to harden. Break into angled pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


*Images and recipes via

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