Easy, Elegant Candy to Gift

One of the most impressive looking
baked goods to give during the
holidays is toffee...

read more

Give the Gift of Breakfast

While sugary treats are a staple
of the holiday season, sometimes
it's nice to mix it up and gift a friend...

read more

Cookies with an Adult Flair

Thanks to the addition of espresso
powder, these cookies are a bit more
adult and make a nice gift...

read more


Easy, Elegant Candy to Gift

One of the most impressive looking baked goods to give during the holidays is toffee. It looks pretty and time-consuming but actually, once you perfect the process, it is relatively easy. Here is a great recipe to introduce you to the wonderful art of toffee-making. Once you get comfortable with the basic recipe, feel free to experiment with different toppings like crushed candy canes, different candies, or a variety of nuts.

Almond Toffee

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds

Directions:

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally.

While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess.

Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

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Cookies with an Adult Flair

Thanks to the addition of espresso powder, these cookies are a bit more adult and make a nice gift for neighbors and friends (just advise them of the espresso powder so they don't accidentally share with small children!). Best of all, this recipe is super easy to whip up and tastes even better the next day.

Mocha Truffle Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (instant coffee can be substituted)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour, all-purpose
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Melt butter and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Add espresso powder and blend well. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Add sugars, eggs, and vanilla to coffee mixture. Add dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon on greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. The cookies will be soft and may look underdone - resist the urge to overbake!

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Give the Gift of Breakfast


While sugary treats are a staple of the holiday season, sometimes it's nice to mix it up and gift a friend with something a little more practical. This quick bread fits the bill perfectly. It's festive but is not over the top sweet and would be perfect on Christmas morning with coffee or hot cocoa.

Cranberry Banana Bread

Courtesy of Ocean Spray

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 5-ounce package Ocean Spray Craisins Original Dried Cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan.

Mix sugar and butter together in a medium mixing bowl until completely blended. Add banana, milk and eggs, mixing well. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until moist. Stir in nuts and dried cranberries. Spread batter evenly in a loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool.

Makes 1 loaf.

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