‘Tis the Season to Make, Bake & Give

Amidst the rush and hurry of holiday shopping, trip planning and working overtime, there comes the burden of coming up with ideas for gift giving. Here are some sweet suggestions that will knock out the names on your gift list, and also work in some quality time with friends or family.

Caramel Popcorn Balls
Yields 20 1 Cup Servings

1 Cup Butter

2 Cups Brown Sugar

½ Cup Corn Syrup

1 Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

5 Quarts Popped Popcorn

20 Large squares of
plastic (or plastic
gift baggies)

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Let the mixture boil for four minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Place popcorn in a large bowl (you may have to do this in batches) and drizzle caramel over the top. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture together. While wearing food safe gloves, form balls out of one cup of the popcorn mixture (be careful since caramel may be hot) and place in the center of the plastic square (or gift baggie). Wrap the edges up and tie with string or decorative ribbon.

Cookies in a Jar
1 quart glass jar per recipe

2 Cups Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

¾ Cup Brown Sugar

¾ Cup Granulated Sugar

Chocolate Chips or
M&M Candies

Using a funnel, layer the ingredients in the jar in order from top to bottom. Pack each ingredient down before adding the next so that they layers are even and organized. Ensure that enough chocolate chips or chocolate candies are used to fill the remaining space of the jar. Print the recipe on a small card including the following for the recipient of the gift:

Not included:
1 Cup Butter, softened

1 Egg, slightly beaten

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Thoroughly combine the butter, egg, and vanilla. Pour jar of cookie ingredients into the butter mixture and blend until completely incorporated. Drop by teaspoons about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
To decorate the jars, cut squares of fabric and place over the thin lid before screwing the cap on tightly. Wrap straw, strings, or ribbon around the neck of the jar. Before tying into a bow, slide the recipe card on ensuring it is securely fastened. This makes the perfect gift for coworkers, friends, teachers, classmates, neighbors, and family members.

Trio Jam Cookies
Yields 12-14 cookies
3 ¼ Cup Flour

1 ½ Teaspoons

Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon Salt

1 ¼ Cup Butter, softened

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1 Large Egg

1 Tablespoon Milk

2 ½ Teaspoon Vanilla

4 ounces raspberry
fruit preserves

4 ounces peach
fruit preserves

4 ounces blueberry
fruit preserves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla. Combine all dry ingredients and blend with the butter mixture until smooth. Divide the dough into 3 equal piles. Pinch off just a little more than a teaspoon from each pile and roll into three little balls. Using a finger tip, press the center of each ball until a small crater forms. Place each section on a cookie sheet ensuring that each is touching the other to form a rounded triangle. Spoon a portion of each fruit preserve into the divot of each section. Chill for 15 minutes to hold the shape before baking for 7 minutes or until golden.

Heavenly Macaroons
Yields one dozen cookies
1 ¼ Cups Sweetened
Flaked Coconut

1 ½ Cups Unsweetened
Flaked Coconut

½ Cups Granulated Sugar

1 ½ Tablespoons Flour

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

2 Large Egg Whites

1 ½ Teaspoons Honey

½ Teaspoon Vanilla

36 Necco Wafers

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the egg whites, honey, and vanilla whisking the batter until smooth and frothy, approximately 30 seconds. Combine the coconut flakes and pour the egg mixture over the top. Toss with a fork then use a wooden spoon to ensure that the coconut is coated evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic and chill for 30 minutes. Place 12 ¼ cup mounds of loosely packed coconut mixture on a baking sheet that is lightly greased. Gently shape each mound into cones with a slightly flattened top. Bake about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely. Using a paring knife, cut grooves into the side of each mound for the wings. Push two of the wafers into the sides and wedge a third into the top for the head. Press the macaroon back together to secure the wafers in place.

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