Making Food Gifts For Christmas


Joined Apr 4, 2000
I always love making food gifts for friends and family for the holidays. I start weeks ahead by looking at all my books and magazines making a list of possible food and narrowing it down eventually. Looking forward to the December issue of all the food magazine. Always find that it's the month where they always have the best recipes. So hard to trim the list to a reasonable amount.

This year I am doing some English stuff, mincemeat, miniature plum pudding or Christmas pudding. I also want to practice my candy making skills by making different candies like marshmallow, truffles, pâte de fruits. Only a sample of what I would like to do, always plan more then what I actually do, guess that is part of the fun of it. Anyone else making food gifts?

Joined Aug 12, 2000
I used to make fruitcake for Christmas every year and mail them to everybody. The recipe came out of the Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cooking that my mom got at the supermarket when I was a kid. I used only mixed dried fruits, no 'candied' plastic-looking stuff. There was a lot of rosewater in the liquid, and after the baking was done, I soaked them all in brandy. It was a huge and messy job, and I wasn't sorry to stop when I got divorced.

Sisi- one year I made mincemeat based on a recipe in the Joy of Cooking (older version) which called for sour cherries, and various dried fruit. I remember putting pears and meat in it, and then I froze it. It made the boughten kind seem like a pale imitation--no wonder nobody serves it anymore.

But I was thinking of pickling mixed hot peppers for everyone this year. They are especially attractive in a glass jar of mixed colors and shapes, and so much better than the 'canned' style available in supermarkets.

Pickled mixed peppers

Wearing gloves, remove the stem and seed section from small hot peppers, any type or mixed. Cover with water and add some kosher salt. Stir, and add more salt as it dissolves until some salt remains. Keep out 12-24 hours, checking a couple of times to make sure that if all the salt dissolves, you can add more.

Drain, discarding brine. Pack into jars. Pour over a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar, with 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup of pickling liquid (cold). Keep in the refrigerator, and wait a few days before serving.

Since they are already cored, you can just pull a few out, stuff them with cheddar cheese or cheese spread, and serve as a snack. Most people find jalapenos too robust to eat like this, but they're perfect for dicing into "mexican" style food, like nachos.


Joined Apr 4, 2000

That sounds interesting. Never made pickles. Do you rinse the pickles before putting them in jars? Otherwise don't they taste very salty?

Weirdest thing I ever made was mustard. It was actually quite good.

Joined Oct 6, 2001
I seem to have a lot of non-cooking friends and they love to receive a basket of baked goods each Christmas along with directions (yes-some of them need them!) on how to freeze, thaw and serve (if nned a topping or what have you).

My standards include 4-6 types of biscotti and cookies, mini loaves of gingerbread, Cheddar granny Smith bread, Usually some kind of cranberry bread or pastry and whatever candy I'm currently experimenting with - last year Bailey's truffles, white chocolate coconut and mocha truffles. One year I did mini croque en buches. For whatever reason, whether they are too busy to cook or haven't the inclination they seem to be a hit and if we are doing a get together during the year, it's neat to be asked to provide one of the items from the goody basket.

This year I haven't a clue of what I'm going to do
Joined Sep 25, 2000
A couple of years ago I made pastry baskets for my family. Last year I worked. I'll probibly will have to work this Cristmas as well, I'll think of something. Maybe some gift certifacates to a restuarant of choice.
Joined Aug 12, 2000
Go ahead and rinse them. It shouldn't make much difference unless there's a lot of salt loose in the peppers. Most of the salt is dissolved in the liquid you throw away.
Joined Aug 8, 2000
One year, someone gave me preserved lemons, you know, for Moroccan food. It was great cause they were Meyers too!

Once, my chef gave us his homemade granola modeled after Cafe Fanny's granola. Mmmm...I ate that one up in a week.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Just got back from New spiced pecans, cane syrup, andouille, red beans, popcorn rice and coffe with chicory.

*Cookie plate withecookie cuttersattached for newly wed friends.
Joined Dec 30, 1999
I like to try and do different things, like encourage my friends to try a new recipe by giving them the ingredients already mixed in a jar along with the written directions.... ie: sticky chicken, Asian ribs marinade, infused sugars and salts.... I've found they like it because it's so easy and it takes less time for them to make a meal. They have fun to trying something new.

Or ingredients they wouldn't normally buy for themsleves like: garlic chili paste (huge hit), dark soy, hot bean curd....

Of course these are for friends who like to cook. For those who aren't into cooking, this year I'm looking into making Middle Eastern pastries.... ie: knafi, naruma, bourma, bassma, fingers, bird's nest, baklava... depending on what I can find recipes for!
Joined Dec 30, 1999
shroomgirl, there are so many variations on each dessert and then they vary regionally, no way to keep up with them all! (Like the version of Ashta you want to find...)

Nammoorah - Namura or Basbousa (Egyptian) - Nammurra (Lebanese) or Hareesa (Palestinian) - Namoura - Nammoura - Nammura - Namurrah - Nammura

Ingredients for the SYRUP
3 cups of suggar
1 1/2 cups of water
4 drops fresh lemon juice or rose water

For the sweet - ingredients:
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of coconut
1 cup of yogurt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup of semolina
2 medium eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder.

Prepare syrup by putting the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil while constantly stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let it boil until it appears clear. Add few drops of lemon and let it boil for a minute or so.Remove from saucepan and let it cool completly.

Preheat the oven to 350F.In a bowl combine all the ingredients (sugar,coconut,yogurt,oil,cream,semolina,eggs and baking powder)and stir until well mixed.

Grease 2 9 inch round pans and divide butter among them. Decorate the surface with whole blanched almonds,pistachios or pine nuts. Bake until golden (30 minutes).

Remove from oven and pour some syrup on the whole pan or on each small muffin size and return the pan to the oven for a few minutes (5 minutes) to dry the surface. Allow to cool,cut into squares like brownies.

Good apetite.

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