What's so odd about this is that not even 3 months ago, I was leaving my office building in New York cursing the rain that thoroughly soaked me as though my umbrella was just some sub-par accessory.
No matter where I live, I can positively say that my favorite activity alongside a wintery storm trying to outdo Noah's flood, is baking. Given the mass amounts of snow and rain that are set to sweep the nation these next two weeks, I think you'll love it too.
Perusing the countertop this weekend, I realized a couple things. For starters, my family has some incredible friends who provide the best of tried and true holiday treats every year given the hoard of cookies, nuts, and chocolates (which will be the death of me, but don't worry, I'm accepting). That said, the very last thing I want to do is go up against my best friend's snack mix, or my aunt's sugar cookie, or even those addictive little chocolate turtles that call for me day and night.
So, here I find myself, having made two holiday goodies I've never received and daring you to gift them. Trust me, if you can get them out of the door, they will not only vie for the most unique holiday treat your friends receive, but also the most mouth-watering.
THIS is Food 52's Pine Nut Brittle with Rosemary. Oh yes, you read that correctly. I'm putting the nut you use in pesto alongside an herb you use in fried chicken, and I'm still telling you it's a delectible treat.
Aren't you just brimming with intrigue already?
Recipe Ease: Let's put things in perspective. THIS is a candy recipe. Candy recipes typically involve stop watch accuracy, candy thermometers (don't even get me started, they're terrifying), and the teensiest window of time in which a perfectly nutty and caramel toffee turns into yuck. Now that I've sufficiently terrified you, allow me to assure you that this recipe involves none of the above. While THIS is not necessarily as easy as one, two three, it's certainly not rocket science.
|Does your sugar look like this shortly after it starts melting? Never fear friends, this is a GOOD thing|
|See? About 2 minutes later, it will look like this|
|Shortly thereafter, this caramely, cognac sugary goodness will appear|
|spread toffee - no need for it to be even as you'll be breaking it up shortly|
|I package it in a leftover nut jar (it's only 1/2 a regift), but you can use a festive box or even carnival popcorn funnel |
|I put it in a little faux-glass container, wrapped it in cellophane and stuck a big candy cane with a gold bow...mason jars work too|
THAT is Smitten Kitchen's Hot Fudge Sauce in all of it's chocolatey, close your eyes and say "mm" glory.
Recipe Ease: THAT is definitely a perfect go-to when you have 30 minutes to whip up a fabulous hostess gift. It's a two pot recipe, and as long as you watch your chocolate from burning, it's full proof.
|Double broiling - a heat-proof (VERY IMPORTANT) bowl over boiling water in a saucepan|
|not the prettiest part, but when adding the chocolate to the water, add slowly and don't fret over the bubbles and foam|
|CAUTION: during cooling period, it may be found irresistable to certain people such as fathers from who you inherited your chocolate addiction armed with sugar cookies|
If you're looking for ANOTHER option, a chocolate dipping frenzy is a great go-to. It's perfect for doing with kids, those entirely void of any kitchen skills, or those in need of both a watch and wallet friendly gift.
Chocolate Covered Everything
whatever you have in the pantry including but not limited to:
- peppermint sticks
- pretzel sticks
- potato chips (seriously life changing)
- graham crackers
2 cups of chips including but not limited to:
- 2 cups of milk chocolate
- 2 cups of white chocolate
- 2 cups of butterscotch chocolate
1 cup of add ons including but not limited to:
- 1 cup ofcrushed peppermints
- 1 cup ofsprinkles
- 1 cup ofmini marshmallows
- 1 cup ofM&Ms
- 1 cup ofchopped Ande's mints
- 1 cup ofchopped dried fruit
- dashes of spicy peppers or salt
Melt the chocolate per brand's melting instructions (some will require a fat such as butter and others will not).
While melting, line 2 baking pans with parchment or wax paper
Dip sticks/chips/crackers into your chocolate choice and coat in your choice of add-ons. Then place on the baking pan and repeat.
You may put the pan in the fridge or freezer should it need to set quickly but don't put peppermint in as it will get tacky.
While these are particularly suited for giftees of the younger set, I dare you to find anyone with strong feelings against them.
|I gift them in a wine-bottle bag stuffed with gift tissue|