Today I Learned...

Key Takeaways:
  • Try one of these three easy-to-make recipes to wow your friends and family this holiday season!
  • Peppermint bark, biscotti, and crunchy chocolate toffee make great gifts.
W

hether you're looking for a gift to give this holiday season or just want to up your cooking game, here are some ideas for homemade food gifts that you can make from scratch.

1. Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark is a holiday classic, and takes only 15 minutes to make!

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 16 ounces white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cup crushed candy canes

Instructions

  1. Place the semisweet chocolate chips in a medium bowl and microwave for 30-second increments until melted. Stir until smooth.
  2. Spread the chocolate into a roughly 9ÔÇ│x 13ÔÇ│ rectangle on a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Place the chocolate in the fridge for 15 minutes to set.
  4. Place the white chocolate chips in a medium bowl and microwave for 30-second increments until melted. Add the peppermint extract and stir until smooth.
  5. Spread the white chocolate over the semisweet chocolate layer. Top with candy canes.
  6. Let harden in the fridge for about 20 minutes or until the chocolate is completely set. Remove from the fridge and let the bark sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. (Source: Dinner at the Zoo).
Cut or break into pieces and serve!

2. Perfect Biscotti

Biscotti are wonderful year-round snacks, but they're especially great during ChristmastimeÔÇöand with this recipe, you can make them at home!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a small baking sheet and bake until toasted, 15 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. 
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugars, and almond extract until smooth. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in almonds. 
  4. Divide dough in half and place on prepared pans. Pat each half into a long flat log. Bake until golden, 15 minutes. Cut each log on the bias into ┬Ż-inch thick pieces and place back on trays, cut side up. Bake 10 minutes more then flip each biscotti. Bake another 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool completely.┬á
  5. Spread melted chocolate onto a plate and dip bottoms of biscotti in chocolate. Place on a cooling rack, chocolate side up and let harden (Source: Delish).

3. Crunchy Chocolate Toffee

If you're looking for a homemade gift that's as delicious as it is thoughtful, look no further than Crunchy Chocolate Toffee.

It's a simple recipe that can be made in just minutes, and it makes for a great gift for anyone who loves toffee or chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ┬Ż teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the chopped pecans in a single layer on top of the parchment.
  3. Add butter, sugar, and salt to a heavy bottomed 3 quart pot.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Once the candy is boiling, stir occasionally, slowly and evenly, until the candy has reached 290┬░F to 300┬░F, or "hard crack" on a candy thermometer.
  6. Once the candy has reached 290┬░F-300┬░F, remove from heat and gently stir in the vanilla extract.
  7. Carefully pour the mixture over the chopped pecans.
  8. Let the candy sit for a few minutes, undisturbed, before sprinkling the chocolate chips over the top.
  9. Cover the baking dish with foil and let sit for 5 minutes or until the chocolate has softened.
  10. Remove the foil and gently spread the softened chocolate into an even layer. An offset spatula works best for this.
  11. Place the candy in the refrigerator and let cool completely. Give it at least 2 hours.
  12. Lift the parchment out of the baking dish and place the toffee on a cutting board or solid surface.
  13. Use a knife to gently break it into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container in a cool place (Source: Mom on Timeout).

Homemade food gifts are so rewarding to make, and they usually cost less than your run-of-the-mill holiday treats. Enjoy the process, and enjoy giving your homemade treats!

Learn more:

Posted 
Dec 21, 2022
 in 
Food & Nutrition
 category

Classes by:

Pam Penney

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