4 Homemade Holiday Treats

2017-12-22
It’s the holiday season and you’ve probably been invited to a couple of Christmas dinners or parties. In fact, you might probably be playing host this time around!

If you’re a guest, it’s always polite and nice to bring gifts to anybody’s home. Wondering what would be appropriate? These festive recipes are great presents as they’re delicious and affordable. Plus, what better way to show your love by bringing a handmade one? If you’re a hostess, these dishes are easy to prepare and would definitely be a hit with everyone.

So, without further ado, let’s get your hands sweet and sticky with sugar, spice, and everything nice!

Garlic & Herb Butter

This is an extremely simple recipe, so if you aren’t very good in the kitchen or with anything that requires an oven or stove, this is the one for you. All you need is a bowl, fork, and a hand mixer. If you don’t have the last item, don’t worry, your arm muscles work just fine too. In fact, this is a great arm workout that can help to sculpt and tone your biceps. wink

Herb Butter
Ingredients:
Instructions:
  1. Place all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Using a hand mixer, or your hand armed with a fork, beat the ingredients until well combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture onto a cling wrap and roll it up into a cylindrical shape.
  4. Twist both ends tight and refrigerate it for at least an hour or so.
  5. Once it’s cold and firm to the touch, it’s good to serve.
This delicious butter has infinite possibilities. You can use them on steamed vegetables or a grilled juicy steak; anything that requires butter, you can use this garlic & herb version of it. However, it’s best to serve it on a slice of freshly baked bread because that’s when you can fully appreciate the aroma and flavor of the herbs.
By keeping it in the fridge, you can keep it for approximately 5 days.



Gingerbread Granola

Now, this is a perfect Christmas gift for your health-conscious friends/relatives. Other than its heavenly aroma, the red cranberries, green pistachios, and white chocolate chips give it a touch of Christmas. Not to be confused with your standard granola, this blend has the magic to immediately bring you right into holiday-mode. Even the Grinch won’t be able to resist it!

Gingerbread Granola
Ingredients:
Instructions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and place your baking tray at the center level.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the oats, coconut, almonds, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the coconut oil and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla extract. This will be your wet mixture.
  5. Stir in the wet mixture into the oat mixture until all ingredients are evenly coated.
  6. Transfer and spread the granola mixture evenly on a baking tray.
  7. Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes, while constantly stirring and flipping the ingredients every 10 minutes. This is to prevent your granola mix from browning.
  8. Once golden brown, remove from the oven and stir frequently to let it cool.
  9. Add the pistachios, cranberries, and white chocolate chips when the mixture is sufficiently cooled down.
  10. Store in an airtight container.
Present this gingerbread granola in a mason jar and tie it with some red, green, and white ribbons to make it the perfect hostess gift.



Brandied Fruit Cake Crowns

Don’t let this cute-looking cake trick you. Containing brandy, it is definitely not for children. That said, it’s a great gift for friends who are a little partial to alcohol.

Brandied Fruitcake Crowns
Ingredients:
For Decoration:
Instructions:
  1. Soak the fruits with ½ a cup of brandy for 24 hours at room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease 2 mini bundt pans.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, and nutmeg together with a hand mixer until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs and milk to the mixture.
  5. While adding the flour, stir the mixture on low speed until the mixture is evenly mixed.
  6. Stir in the fruits and pecans. If there is excess liquid, pour it into the mixture.
  7. Spoon about ½ cup of the mixture into the bundt pans. Smoothen the top surface.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden stick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and let it sit on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes.
  10. Invert the bundt cake molds and rap it down on a flat surface sharply to release the cakes.
  11. Spoon 1 teaspoon of brandy over each cake and let it cool completely.
  12. Beat the confectioners’ sugar and milk with a hand mixer until well combined.
  13. Drizzle it over the top of the cakes and sprinkle with chopped fruit. Let the icing set before serving.
Serve slices of this brandied fruit cake on Christmas-inspired plates like this.



Classic Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are a staple in every holiday season. The best thing about them is that they’re incredibly versatile and you can design them in any way you like! Isn’t that a great way to personalize and send your well-wishes to your friends and family?

Christmas Sugar Cookies
Ingredients:
Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well combined.
  2. In another bowl, add the butter and sugar. Using a hand mixer (on high speed), beat them until light and fluffy. This will take about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the eggs and vanilla and continue beating.
  4. Reduce the speed to low, gradually adding in the flour mixture until well incorporated.
  5. Shape the resultant dough into 4 discs and roll each to ? inch thick between 2 pieces of wax paper.
  6. Chill the dough, either 30 minutes in the fridge, 15 minutes in the freezer, or just until firm.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line the baking trays with parchment paper.
  8. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and line them up on the baking trays.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the baking trays halfway to ensure all cookies are evenly cooked.
  10. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the tray for about 5 minutes, before transferring them onto wire racks to cool completely.
  11. Decorate with store-bought icing in any way you desire.
  12. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.
These beautiful creations of yours should have a chance to shine, so packing or setting them on a simple porcelain plate/cardboard box would be just right!
Rebecca Chou  Author: Rebecca Chou

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