Monday, December 31, 2007

create a holiday canister

Folgers has created a great site where you can repurpose old folger coffee containers and turn them into the perfect packaging for your baked goods. The site includes several templates for you to use or you can create your own.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

easy (and entertaining) eggnog

12 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups bourbon
3/4 cup brandy
6 cups milk
2 cups cream
2 teaspoons nutmeg

In a large bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar for 10 minutes until firm.
Slowly, add in the bourbon and brandy. Cool.
Stir in the milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
Gently fold the cream into the egg mixture.
Ladling into cups, and garnish with the remaining nutmeg.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

popcorn gets playful

Going to the movies tonight? This popcorn seasoning is sure to please the crowd.

3 tablespoons butter-flavored sprinkles
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes, crushed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a salt shaker and shake over popcorn liberally.
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Monday, December 24, 2007

tis the season to make tea -- chai tea

1-1/4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup black tea leaves
12 cardamom pods
2 teaspoons dried lemon peel
4 cinnamon sticks

Fill a pretty bottle with all of the ingredients. Tie with a pretty bow.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

think baskets and cellophane

For some reason food gifts often come in gift baskets and they come in all sizes. A pretty basket, some cellophane and a big bow are all that you'll need to complete your holiday food gift giving.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

chocolate covered candy canes


This is simple and beautiful. Dip the hook of each candy cane in melted dark chocolate. Next, drizzle melted white chocolate over the dark to make a random pattern. Tie a red bow upon each base.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

easy as fudge

1-1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
2 cups tiny marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil.

Butter the sides of a 2-quart heavy saucepan. In saucepan combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium stirring constantly for 6 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat. Add marshmallows, chocolate pieces, walnuts, and vanilla; stir until marshmallows and chocolate melt and mixture is combined. Beat by hand for one minute.

Spread fudge evenly in the prepared pan. Score into squares while warm. Cover and chill for three hours. When fudge is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Cut fudge into squares.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

candy caramel coatings

Dress up caramel squares by dipping them up in fancy and flavorful coatings and decoration. Place a decorative toothpick on one end and add your favorite toppings from the baking aisle on the other.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Fruit Cake

Despite all of the jokes about fruit cake it is a traditional Christmas gift. But be prepared there's a lot of ingredients including:

2 cups brown sugar
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground cloves
2 tablespoons ground allspice
2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
4 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/2 cup brandy
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
1 1/2 cups dried mixed fruit
1 1/2 cups melted butter
1 3/4 cups brandy

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Grease and flour a round pan. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, soda, spices, eggs, lemon rind, vanilla, brandy, fruit, nuts, and butter. Mix thoroughly. Pour into pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap cake in foil. Sprinkle two tablespoons brandy over the cake everyday for two weeks.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

you can't catch me i'm the gingerbread man


Everyone loves gingerbread men. Use liquorice, icing and candy to add eyes, nose, mouth and buttons.

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg yolk
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a large bowl, beat together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg yolk. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover, and chill for at least one hour. Preheat the oven to 350. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Frost or decorate when cool.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

chocolate chip cookie mix in a jar

layer the following ingredients in a jar in order

2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda sifted together
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Add this recipe tag:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
preheat oven to 375. remove chips and nuts from jar. beat 2 sticks butter in a bowl until fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Add cookie mix and mix until blended. drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

cranberry orange tea bread

homemade bread is always in season, especially the fruity kind.

2 cups flour
1/4 sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 eggs
1 cup cranberries

preheat oven to 375. Grease bottom of a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, slt and baking soda in bowl. In a separate bowl combine milk, oj, butter, zest and eggs. stir well. add dry ingredients and stir to combine. add cranberries. pour into pan and bake 50 minutes. Loosen from pan and cool.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

spirits for the holiday spirit

Drinks make a mighty fine gift. Try one of these to get you and yours in the holiday spirit:

holiday punch with sparkle
mix 2 cups cranberry juice, 2 cups pineapple juice, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add sliced lemons and limes and stir until sugar dissolves. Add one bottle of sparkling apple juice.

apple cider with spice
heat a quart of apple cider. add 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise, a dash of ginger and 3 cloves. Stir until the cider is hot.

pomegranate lemon dreams
combine 2 ounces vodka, 1/2 ounce pomegranate juice, 1 ounce lemon juice.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

bring out the brittle

peanut brittle that is.

1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking salt

Oil a large baking sheet. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add in sugar and cream of tartar and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in corn syrup and cook until the syrup is a light honey color. Stir in peanuts, butter and salt. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Spread the mixture on baking sheet with a wooden spoon. Let cool then break into pieces.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

wrap it up cake style

If you're planning to give away cakes this Christmas here's some cute ways to wrap them:

1. Gather tissue paper or parchment paper around the cake.
2. Wrap a thin stip of pretty paper around the edge of the cake.
3. Wrap ribbon around the whole package, tying in a bow.

1. Place the cake in a wrapped gift box.
2. Tie with riboon and a small ornament.

Cake Recipes

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

spice things up this holiday season

These pickled jalapenos are perfect for adding some pizazz to your martinis

1 1/2 pound jalapenos (stems removed)
1 quart white vinegar
12 cloves garlic
6 bay leaves
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper

Bring all of the ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes until the jalpenos are soft. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and pour the jalapenos and their liquid into a canning jar. Cool and refrigerate.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

easy cookbooks are an easy gift

we've just launched our new Easy Cookbook Store. Cookbook categories include audio, baking, canning, drinks, meals, natural foods, organic, outdoor, reference, regional and more.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

cognac almond truffles in a tin

1/2 pound chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cognac
3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Stir in butter until melted. Remove from heat. Whisk in the eggs until glossy. Add cognac and refrigerate until solid. Using a teaspoon scoop small balls of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Rolls the truffles in almonds. Refrigerate.

1. Drop each truffle into a foil candy cup
2. Layer with tissue paper in a cute tin
3. Wrap a ribbon around the tin

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

confetti soup

Layer 1/4 cup pink, black, baby lima, lentils, red lentils, black-eyed peas, red kidney, pinto, split peas, great northern, small red and white beans into a jar. Place 1 bay leaf and one beef bouillon cube on top.

Include these recipe instructions on a gift tag:

Set aside bouillon cube and bay leaf and soak beans.

Rinse and sort beans in a large pot. Add 6-8 cups of hot water. Bring to a rapid boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain soak water and rinse beans.

Place beans in a large pot. Add:

6 cups water
1 can (14 oz.) chopped tomatoes in juice
bay leaf
bouillon cube

Simmer gently until beans are tender, about 2 hours.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

my these almonds are spicy

2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cups whole almonds
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a pan warm the oil over medium heat. Add the almonds, and stir, coating each thoroughly with oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar, and continue to stir until the almonds become golden brown and the sugar caramelized, about four minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the remaining sugar, salt, cumin, and the red-pepper flakes over the nuts, and toss well. Pour the nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Allow nuts to cool.

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Friday, December 7, 2007

cranberry chutney

1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup water
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 apple - peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a saucepan, combine apricots, brown sugar, raisins and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and stir while for 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries, apple and lemon zest; simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir lemon juice, ginger and pepper flakes into the mixture before removing from heat.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

mix it up cajun style

Cajun Spice Mix

3/4 cup salt
1/4 cup ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons ground white pepper
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder

Add ingredients into a small jar to create a layered look. That's it!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

raspberry vinegar

1 1/2 white vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fresh raspberries

Combine sugar and vinegar in a saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until hot but not boiling. Pour mixture into bowl. Stir raspberries into the vinegar. Funnel into a glass salad dressing container.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

praline syrup

2 cups dark corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine syrup, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in chopped pecans and vanilla. Pour syrup into jars, leaving 1/4 inch space.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

oatmeal raisin spice cookie mix

1 cup all-purpose flour mixed with
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup sugar

Layer ingredients in order given in a one quart jar. Gently press each layer before adding the next one.

Add a gift tag with instructions on how to make the cookies:

Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookie Mix

Empty jar of cookie mix into large mixing bowl and combine. Add 1 1/2 sticks melted butter, 1 egg, slightly beaten and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix until blended. Shape into 1 1/2 balls. Bake on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking racks. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

classic hot cocoa mix

You're never too old to enjoy hot chocolate, and this is a special way to share it with a friend.

3 cups powdered milk
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
Dash of salt

Sift the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Pour into a jar.

Attach these instructions to the jar:

Hot Chocolate
Serves 1

4 tablespoons Hot Chocolate Mix
8 ounces boiling water
Marshmallows and Whipped cream

Place the hot chocolate mix into a mug. Pour in the boiling water. Stir until the chocolate mix is dissolved. Top with marshmallows and whipped cream.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

delectable holiday gifts

This month in the spirit of the holiday season we're focusing on edible gifts. We'll feature the classic gifts in a jar, homemade cookies, mixed herb seasonings, dried soups and more. We'll also tell you how to decorate these gifts so they'll be beautiful.

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