Gifts from the Kitchen: Chocolates and Sweet Treats

Gifts from the Kitchen: Chocolates and Sweet Treats
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Everyone loves homemade gifts from the kitchen. I make trays of cookies and chocolates to send to the work place, plus I wrap or box candy to put in gift boxes and give to teachers, family and friends. The following recipes are easy, but will please everyone on your gift list! The spreads are especially neat to package and include in a basket of dainty cookies and teas.

Quick Chocolate Mints

Ingredients:

2 ( 10 oz.) packages mint semisweet chocolate chips

1 ( 14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Using a glass bowl, combine chips and sweetened condensed milk. Microwave on High for 1 and 1/2 minutes and stir well. Heat another 1 to 1 and 1/2 minutes more or until mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted when stirred. Stir in vanilla. Turn into a buttered 8 inch square pan. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until firm. Cut into 25 squares. Store, tightly covered, in refrigerator.

Vanilla Buttercreams

Ingredients:

2 lbs. confectioners' sugar

1/4 lb. butter, softened

1 ( 8 oz. ) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate chips, or chocolate wafers (for molded candy)

Cream butter and cheese, slowly add sugar and vanilla and mix well. Pinch off small pieces and form into a round shape and refrigerate overnight. Melt your chocolate carefully in a double boiler. Dip in melted chocolate. Store in refrigerator but serve at room temperature.

Fannie Farmer's 1931 Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups light cream

4 squares chocolate

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt butter in a pan 8 x 8-inch, add sugar, cream and chocolate, stir gently until chocolate melts. Boil without stirring to 238 degrees or until mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water. Remove from heat, let stand until cool and add flavoring. Beat with a wooden spoon. Pour 3/4-inch thick into a buttered pan and mark in squares.

Christmas Toffee

Ingredients: 1 cup butter

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup granulated sugar

3 plain chocolate bars, broken

Spread nuts on a greased 13x11 cookie sheet. In saucepan combine margarine and sugar, melt and bring to a boil. Stirring constantly boil until mixture turns a golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Watch carefully! Pour toffee mixture over nuts. Place chocolate pieces over hot toffee and spread with a knife. Place in cool place. When hard, break into pieces. Note: You can use chocolate chips in place of bars.

Chewy Chocolates

Ingredients:

1/2 pound soft caramels

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 cup pecan halves

4 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Heat caramels with cream in saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly. Cool 10 minutes. Set pecans on lightly buttered baking sheets in clusters of 3. Spoon caramel mixture over nuts, leaving outer ends of nuts showing. Let stand to set, about 30 minutes. Spread melted chocolate over caramel mixture. Makes 2 dozen.

Baked Caramel Corn

Ingredients:

1 cup butter or margarine

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 quarts popped popcorn

Melt butter, stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in soda and vanilla. Gradually pour over popped corn, mixing well. Turn into two large shallow baking or roasting pans. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool. Break apart and store in tightly-covered container. Makes about 5 1/2 quarts or 20 cups.

Peanut Butter Spread

Ingredients:

1 jar peanut butter (16 ounces)

2 tablespoons honey

1 cup miniature chocolate chips

1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts

Combine all items in a microwave safe container, blending well. Microwave on high for 1 minute and gently stir to swirl mix. Do not overcook, the chocolate will soften when stirred. Spoon into gift container. Jelly jars would work well. Makes about 3 cups spread.

Chocolate Butter

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened; cut into pieces 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Stir butter and chocolate together by hand. Transfer to covered container, refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Serve with cookies, biscuits, pound cake, croissants, muffins or waffles.


 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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