12/20/2012 9:18:00 AM Giving from your heart and hands
There’s still time to bring back a little of the magic of the holidays with gifts from the kitchen. Almost everyone loves to receive some type of food as a gift, because it adds a personal touch to giving. For the giver, there’s no reason to be concerned about sizes, colors, and styles. I go to the dollar store and buy inexpensive tins or larger coffee mugs to fill with homemade candy, cookies, breads, jam or jelly. Wrap the breads in plastic wrap, put a pretty bow on top and put it in a festive gift bag or a little basket. I can be sure the first thing you will see is a smile on his or her face after opening the package and seeing a gift made in your kitchen. And that is a part of what Christmas is...giving, from your heart and hands. Here are some ideas for gifts you can make in a small amount of time.
BANANA’N FRUIT MINI LOAVES 2 eggs 2/3 c. sugar 1 c. mashed bananas (2 large or 3 small) 1-3/4 c. flour 1 T. baking powder 1/2 t. salt 1 c. chopped, mixed candied fruit 1/2 c. raisins (dark or golden) 1/2 c. chopped walnuts In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Add bananas; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture. Fold in fruits, raisins and nuts. Transfer to 3 well-greased 5-3/4 x 3 in. 2 in. baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or till a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pans. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 3 mini loaves. Note: I don’t care for citron in candied fruit mix so I pick the citron out or use chopped red and green candied fruit.
+++++ CARDAMOM TEA BREAD 1/2 c. chopped, mixed candied fruit 2 c. flour, divided 1/4 c. each softened butter and shortening 1 c. sugar 2 eggs 2/3 c. milk 1/4 c. orange juice 1 T. baking powder 1 t. salt 1/4 t. ground cardamom Combine candied fruit and 1 T. flour in a small bowl; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar for 1 minute. Add next 6 ingredients and rest of flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on high for 3 minutes. Stir in fruit, pour into a greased and floured 9 in x 5 in loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 65-70 minutes or test with toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 1 loaf or 16 slices. For smaller loaves, use two 7-1/2 in. x 3-1/2 in. loaf pans. Bakes for 50-55 min. or test with a toothpick. Each loaf makes about 12 slices.
+++++ THREE “C” BREAD 1-1/2 c. flour 1 c. sugar 1 t. each, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon 1/2 t. salt 3 eggs, slightly beaten 1/2 c. each, milk and canola or vegetable oil 2 c. shredded carrots 1-1/2 c. flaked coconut 1/2 c. each, candied red cherries, quartered, raisins and chopped pecans In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. In a small bowl, combine next 3 ingredients; stir into dry ingredients just till moistened. Fold in rest of ingredients. Pour into 4 greased 5-3/4 in. x 3 in. x 2 in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or test with toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes in pans. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Wrap in foil and store in fridge. Makes 4 mini loaves and 10 slices each. When I looked at this recipe, I wondered what the “C” stood for... carrots, coconut and cherries...got it!
+++++ For a friend or family member who uses cream in their coffee. This is so-o-o tasty. ALMOND COFFEE CREAMER 3/4 c. each, powdered sugar and powered nondairy creamer 1 t. cinnamon 1 t. almond extract In a bowl, combine first 2 ingredients; mix well. Sprinkle with almond extract; quickly stir mixture. Store in airtight container. To use, add to coffee in place of sugar and nondairy creamer. Makes 1-1/4 cup. Note: A pint jar works or put the mixture in a plastic baggie, put it in a coffee mug, with a note saying, “Add to coffee and take a break. You’re worth it!”
HONEY FUDGE SAUCE 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 c. honey 2 T. butter 1/2 t. salt 3/4 c. evaporated milk 1 T. vanilla In a heavy saucepan, combine first 4 ingredients. Cook and stir over low heat till chips are melted; stir till smooth. Gradually stir in milk and vanilla; heat through, about 2 minutes. Don’t boil. Makes 1-2/3 cup.
Our Christmas greeting to each of you: May the true meaning of Christmas fill your hearts and mind. It will change and excite your observance of this very special day we share. Celebrate the birthday of the little baby born so long ago. Christos Razdaetsja (Christ is born), Slavite Jeho (Praise Him). Alice and Bud