Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Countdown: Gifts from the Kitchen

When my husband and I were first married, money was tight because I ended up getting laid off five weeks before our wedding. I either baked or made crafts for our Christmas gifts that year and many other years as well. I found out people love gifts from the kitchen whether it's cookies, candy, bread or anything they know was made and given with care and love.

The recipes I'm sharing today can be made according to directions and placed in clean jars with lids. IF you want to process and seal the jars please do it according to the latest safe methods from the USDA: http://nchfp.uga.edu/ . Otherwise keep the jar refrigerated and give instructions with your gifts so everyone knows how they should be stored too.

The candy recipes are pretty straight forward, but a candy thermometer is something you can't really do without. Fortunately they are available in most grocery stores and will come in handy for a very long time.

Pear Chips
Home Comfort Cook Book

8 pounds firm pears
4 pounds sugar
1/4 pound chopped ginger root
4 lemons

Peels pears, remove stems, quarter and core. Cut into small pieces. Add sugar and ginger and allow to stand overnight. In the morning, quarter lemons, remove seeds and cut into small pieces. Add lemons to pears and cook very slowly for 3 hours. Pack in jars and seal. Peaches may also be used.

Note: I would peel the ginger root before using.

Apricot and Pineapple Marmalade
Home Comfort Cook Book

1 pound dried apricots
2 1/2 cups crushed pineapple
3 tbsp. lemon juice
sugar

Was apricots, soak 12 hours in water to cover. Bring slowly to boiling point. Strain. Reserve juice. Press apricots through ricer or coarse sieve. Add juice and pineapple. Measure fruit and add 3/4 cup sugar to each cup of pulp and juice. Add lemon juice. Bring to boil and cook slowly about 20 minutes or until mixture thickens. Seal in jars.

Pralines
Rumford Complete Cookbook

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup cream
2 cups nut meats

Boil the sugar, maple syrup and cream together till a little dropped in cold water forms a soft ball (238 F.) Cool and beat till creamy; add the nuts and drop the mixture by spoonfuls on greased paper or plates.

January Thaw
Rumford Complete Cookbook

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup nuts, chopped
butter size of a walnut

Put sugar and milk in a saucepan and let it dissolve slowly; add butter and let boil until it forms a ball when dropped into cold water (238 F.) Remove from stove, add the chopped nuts and beat well. Turn into a buttered pan, and when cool, cut in squares.

Butterscotch
American Woman's Cookbook

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Put sugar, syrup and water into a saucepan and set over direct heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then cook without stirring to the stiff ball stage (250 F.). Add butter and cook to the medium-crack stage (280 F.) for soft butterscotch, or to the hard-crack stage (300 F.) for brittle candy. Remove from heat, add the flavoring and pour on a greased slab. Mark while still warm and when cold break into pieces.

On OFL we have some great ideas for gifts from the kitchen!

Favorite Fudge Recipes

Savory Gifts from the Kitchen

Muffin Mixes to Give as Gifts

~Brenda

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