Thursday, December 15, 2011

More Homemade Holiday Gifts

Hi guys!  I just finished watching the KTVN news…..Ummmm, I was on it;)  A reporter came and talked to me at The Nevada Store here in Reno.  I got to talk about my products and about “buying local”.  During the interview, I felt like my face was bright red, like I stuttered, and like maybe English was new to me.  The nice reporter man assured me that I did great, but I felt like he said that because I fed him gingerbread.  But….I watched it, and I did Ok.  I mean, my face wasn’t bright red…so really, what more could I ask for?  Here is the link… http://www.ktvn.com/category/170899/video-landing-page?clipId=&topVideoCatNo=90460&topVideoCatNoB=170902&topVideoCatNoC=108651&topVideoCatNoD=170903&topVideoCatNoE=170904&clipId=6553395&topVideoCatNo=90460&autoStart=true.
I would shorten that, but I don’t know how.  Laugh it up….I am not the most computer literate gal in the world.
So anyhoo, today I wanted to give you a few more ideas for homemade gifts to give your friends, neighbors, kid’s teachers, etc.  I know I would love to get homemade gifts this Holiday season.  I think most would agree with me.  First off, I wanted to remind you of some recipes that I have posted in the past that I think would make great gifts.
Here we go.
This is a recipe from only a couple of weeks ago, but it is a winner.  This is my Gingerbread Pound Cake.  For gift giving, I would bake it in smaller loaf pans.  I actually did this last night, and I used the smallest size disposable loaf pan that you can buy at the grocery store.  The pack I bought came 5 to a pack.
Instead of a lemon sauce, I topped these loaves with a lemon glaze that I made with powdered sugar and lemon juice.  This is much easier than making the lemon curd.  Plus, the curd needs to be refrigerated, so that would be a pain for giving.  The lemon glaze works fine.
Here is the link to that post and recipe:
My next recipe is a superstar from last year.  Here is a picture….
This is my recipe for peppermint bark.  It is always a crowd pleaser and ridiculously easy.  Here is the link:
One last recipe and link….

This is a knock-off of Starby’s Cranberry Bliss Bar.  These are also super easy to make, and I think pretty much anyone would be pumped to receive these.
And finally….I tried a brand new (sort of) recipe earlier today.  I know you all have seen me make Cookie Cups, but I switched up the filling this time.  I love truffles, but I don’t love making them.  It is easy, but it is super messy.  So I decided to fill cookie cups with truffle filling, which is really just ganache.  This way, I don’t have to roll the ganache to form truffles.  I just stick it in a cookie cup.  It is 10 times easier, and dare I say, 10 times better;)  Here is how I did it:
I started with two packs of refrigerated cookie dough.  When I bought this today, the lady at check-out asked me if this was my idea of Holiday baking.  Apparently that broad has all sorts of time to put into baking from scratch.  I don’t.  Refrigerated dough works fine.
The dough that I bought was already scored into 24 cookies.  This worked out perfectly, as a mini muffin tray has 24 holes.  How fortuitous.  I baked these according to the package directions.  And oh yea, I also sprayed the bajeesus out of the tray with cooking spray before I put the cookies in.  Muy importante.
When the cookies come out of the oven, they will have already collapsed in the middle a bit.  You need to help this process along by poking the middles with the wrong end of a wooden spoon.  Just make a nice dent in each one.
Getting these bad boys out of the tray can be hard.  They will pop right out of the tray if you bang the tray against the counter several times.  When your husband yells at you that you are going to crack the granite, switch to banging the tray on the floor.  You will probably have to vacuum after.
For the ganache filling….
Ganache is really just chocolate melted with cream.  When it is hot and melty, it is a perfect glaze.  When it gets solid, it is, essentially, truffles. 
I heated some cream till it was just about to boil.  When the bubbles form around the edges, it is ready.  You will want your cream to chocolate ratio to be 1 to 3.
I used semi-sweet chocolate chips for the ganache for my chocolate chip cookies.  I used 3 cups of chips to 1 cup of cream. 
See my little chocolate chip cookie cups to the side?
The hot cream gets poured over the chips, and all you have to do is stir.  When the chocolate is melted, it should be really glossy and smooth.  At this point, you can add any kind of flavoring….booze, extracts, coffee, etc.  I put in about 2 tablespoons of coffee.
I spooned the chocolate into each cookie cup.  I popped them in the fridge, and the ganache hardened in about 20 minutes.  When they were ready to go, I drizzled some melted chocolate chips over the top.
See that?  A truffle in a cookie.  It doesn’t get better than that. 

As for the sugar cookies, I filled them with a white chocolate ganache.  I made this the exact same way I made the chocolate ganache, except with white chocolate chips.  I flavored this one with rum extract, and I sprinkled the tops with nutmeg.  Just like eggnog!
These cookie truffles were really excited to get their picture taken in my Christmas village;)
I think that these would make an excellent holiday gift.  You could package them in holiday themed candy boxes, and they would pretty much be the cutest thing ever!  If you want to give me some, I can totally provide my address.
See you all next week!  Have a great weekend!

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