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Homemade Gifts from Your Kitchen

Baked Gifts

Cookies will never fail you as Christmas gifts. Shown here is a basket full of Pinwheel Cookies.1. Cookies, either of a single type or assorted, will never fail you as Christmas gifts. A jar or box of cookies you are best known for, wrapped in cellophane and bows is sure to impress your friends and relatives. You may also decorate the cookies. Sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, chocolate chip cookies are traditional favorites.

2. While you are baking for your family, bake a few extra cakes to use as gifts. Round and Square shaped-cakes never go out of fashion, but if you have kids in mind, invest in some Christmas shaped cake pans. If you can think of nothing different, stick to the traditional fruit cake. They are all time favorites and there can never be more than enough for a family.

3. Quick breads, easy to make, are also widely popular as Christmas gifts. Bread Machine makes the task of baking several loaves all the more easier. Wrap loaves individually in cellophane and tie with a bow to make perfect gifts. Pumpkin Bread, Cranberry Bread, Gingerbread, Chocolate Shortbread, Banana Bread etc. are great favorites at this time of the year.

4. Muffins and Cupcakes look very attractive in their paper cases lined up in a decorative gift box. Decorate cupcakes by spreading smooth jam all over the surface and then sprinkling desiccated coconut over them for a lovely red-white effect. You can further enhance the look by placing 3 holly leaves, cut out from green marzipan and 3 little red marzipan balls to represent the berries.

Chocolate Delights

5. Chocolate Biscotti is an all-time favorite Christmas gift. Add to it dried cranberries to make it more Christmassy.

6. Chocolate Truffles in individual paper cases, look very attractive as gifts. For Rum Truffles, cream butter (75 gm) and icing sugar (75 gm). Fold in 100 gm dark chocolate, 50 gm ground almonds and 3 tbsp. rum. Chill until firm. Then, shape into 30 small balls and roll in sprinkles or in cocoa or icing sugar.

7. Chocolate Dipped goodies like Strawberries, Cherries, nuts, Peppermint Creams, Cookies (half-dipped look more attractive) will forever find favor from kids and adults alike. Other treats can be made with chocolate by dipping nuts, marzipan, crackers etc. in melted chocolate.

8. Chocolate spoons can be made by dipping metal or plastic spoons in melted chocolate. Melt chocolate and add extract or liquor of your choice like mint, coffee, kahlua etc.. Dip decorative metal spoons or even simple plastic spoons if you want to make a large number of them. Coat the spoons thickly. Let dry and coat again to make the coating thicker. Coat with colored sprinkles or crushed candy and let dry. Wrap the spoon tops in cellophane and tie with raffia or ribbon. A nice way to gift these is to put a bunch of gift-wrapped spoons in an attractive mug. These spoons can be used to flavor a mug of coffee or hot cocoa by simply dipping them into the hot liquid and stirring. You are sure to be remembered every time the receiver of the gift enjoys a hot cuppa by the fireside this winter.

Sweets and Candy

9. Delightfully easy to make, traditional Coconut ice is as much fun to make, as it is to receive. Mix 450 gm. castor sugar and 140 ml. milk and cook till syrup reaches soft ball stage. Add 125 gm. desiccated coconut. Add few drops of light pink food coloring and pour into a loaf tin to set. Mark out pieces with a knife. When set, turn out and cut into pieces. You can also divide the mixture into 2 halves and add white and pink food coloring to them. Pour the halved mixtures one upon the other into the loaf tin to get two-colored ice.

10. Fudge is another Christmas favorite, quick and easy to make. And if you have only a couple of hours notice, you can prepare Microwave Fudge quickly by placing together 450 gm. icing sugar, 50 gm. cocoa, 100 gm. butter and 1/4th teacup milk in a non-metal bowl. Cook this uncovered on full power for 2 minutes without stirring. Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and stir till well blended. Pour in 7-1/2 inch greased square tin and refrigerate for 1 hour. When set, cut in squares and put in paper cases to arrange in your gift box.

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These gift ideas first appeared in the 2004 issue of 'Celebrating Christmas PDF Magazine', a freely downloadable magazine, and is an excerpt from the feature '101 Homemade Gift Ideas'.

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