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Friday, March 4, 2011

Gifts from Your Kitchen : Food Gift Recipes and Jar Mixes for the Holidays

Homemade gifts don't have to take much time, and are a wonderful expression of your love and creativity. For the "down home" cook, fill a basket with Southern flour or cornbread mixes, stone-ground grits, preserves or syrup and decorate a few wooden spoons tied with a bright Christmas bow. For the gourmet cook, a basket with jars of ripe olives, capers, olive oil, anchovies, and a pound of spaghetti along with an Italian cooking video or cookbook, and a recipe card for an authentic Pasta Puttanesca.
Cookies, candies, and homemade breads are always welcome gifts, or prepare and give festive preserves, relishes, or sauces. Baking mixes or assorted beans and seasonings for soup in dressed-up pint or quart canning jars make great gifts for family or coworkers, or you could bake breads or cakes in the jars.
Note: The National Food Safety Database recommends keeping canned breads and cakes refrigerated or frozen if not using right away, as the seal may not be reliable.
Below, you'll find several gift recipes, including cookie mixes in jars, pancake mix, brownies, dressing mix, and others.

[Brownie Pie in a Jar - Gift Mix Recipe]
An easy gift to put together and very easy to bake. This brownie pie mix makes a great gift for anyone, including a novice cook.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
pinch salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or chocolate chips
In a 1-pint wide-mouth canning jar (2 cup size), pour in 1 cup sugar. Add 1/4 cup cocoa, then add 1/2 cup flour and pinch of salt. Pour 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (or substitute chocolate chips) into a small lightweight food storage bag. Twist bag and tie tightly with twine or ribbon, cutting off excess plastic bag end. Push lightly into the flour in the jar. Screw on the jar top.
Directions for gift:
Easy Brownie Pie
Brownie Pie Mix
2 eggs
4 ounces butter or margarine, 1 stick, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°.
Grease and flour a 9-inch pie plate.
Whisk together 2 eggs in mixing bowl; add 4 ounces softened butter or margarine and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Open jar and hold over the mixing bowl. Remove bag of pecans, walnuts, or chocolate chips, shake excess flour into the bowl and set bag of nuts aside. Pour jar contents into the mixing bowl. Mix to moisten ingredients, then beat on high speed of electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Empty bag of nuts or chocolate chips into the batter and fold in. Spread batter in prepared pie plate. Bake for about 30 minutes, until set.
Cut into wedges and serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.

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