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Recipes for Homemade Holidays Gifts

Culinary gifts made in your own kitchen are sure to be a hit.

The following recipes are from my holiday classes presented at St Louis Community College and Dierberg's School of Cooking. 

Black & White Sesame Seed Lovash

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 pkg. dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup EACH black and white sesame seeds

In a large mixing bowl combine butter, water and one cup of the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased bowl and allow dough to rise for 20 minutes. Punch down and divide dough in 12 ñ14 pieces. Spread sesame seeds on work surface. Roll each piece of dough over seeds; rolling dough out as thin as possible. Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake on the lowest oven rack at 400 degrees for 8 in 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and cool lovash on wire racks. 

Gifting notes: Gift alone packaged in clear bags tied with a ribbon or pair with a cheese ball or spread.

See related story: Homemade Holidays - Gifts From Your Kitchen

Curried Chutney Spread

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped Major Grey style chutney
  • 1 tsp. Curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • pecans for garnish

Combine cream cheese and chutney in a mixing bowl; blend together until smooth. Add dry mustard, green onions and 1/3-cup pecans. Transfer flavored cheese to a serving dish. Garnish with extra pecans. Makes about 2 cups.

Gifting note: Package in a non-metal container.

Herb Steak Rub

  • 1/4 cup cumin
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1teaspon cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons. onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon. dried sage
  • 1 Tablespoon. dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon. dry mustard

Mix all the about ingredients together. Package in zip-lock bags or in small jars with a tight fitting lid. Makes enough seasoning for 2 – 4 steaks.

Gifting notes: Package in a shaker jar paired with a gift certificate for steaks.

White Christmas Fudge

2 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Ta. light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/3 cup candied red and or green cherries

Combine sugar, sour cream, milk, butter, corn syrup and salt into a 2 qt. saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture reaches a boil. Boil until the soft ball stage has been reached. Remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm, about 110 degrees.

Add vanilla and beat until mixture just begins to lose its gloss and holds its shape. Stir in nuts, vanilla and cherries and turn into a lightly buttered or oiled pan. Chill until set, and then cut into squares. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen pieces.   

Gifting note: Cover with clear plastic wrap - package in decorative container or small holiday serving tray that are easily found at dollar stores.

Cranberry Chutney 

  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoons. nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

In a medium sauce over a high heat combine cranberries, vinegar and sweetener; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium low and add in remaining ingredients. Simmer 20 - 25 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently.  Remove form heat and pour into clean jars. Store in refrigerator. Serve poured over baked Brie or cream cheese. Makes about 4 to 6 half pint jars.

Gifting note: Store in a decorative caning jar with serving suggestions.

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