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Friday, December 06, 2013

Recipes for the Neighbors....

When we moved into our house, our neighbors welcomed us with open arms--and lots of fun homemade treats!  While I gave each of those neighbors a handwritten thank-you card, I decided that at Christmas, I wanted to return the favor and put together a goodie box with cookies, candy and other treats.  I have been looking over my recipes for weeks and picked up some fun boxes at Crafts Direct (seriously....what DON'T they sell?).  I've narrowed down my treats and today over on Kelly's Korner, we're asked to share our holiday favorites....so I thought I'd share 2 of the recipes for the goodies I'm going to include.  

Spiced Nuts
Recipe by Ina Garten

Vegetable oil
3 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews (14 ounces)
2 cups whole walnut halves (7 ounces)
2 cups whole pecan halves (7 ounces)
1/2 cup whole almonds (3 ounces)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brush a sheet pan generously with vegetable oil. Combine the cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder on the sheet pan. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss again.

Spread the nuts in one layer. Roast the nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 more teaspoons of salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.

Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature.

Spicy Ginger Snaps
Recipe by Martha Stewart
(these are my "go to" cookies for Christmas--they are so GOOD!)
(her recipe is to make large ginger snaps.  I've altered it to make smaller cookies.)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for coating
6 tablespoons molasses
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, allspice, and pepper.

With an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 20 minutes.

Scoop by teaspoonful and roll into balls. Place remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a bowl. Roll balls in sugar to coat; place at least 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten with the bottom of a glass. Sprinkle with sugar remaining in bowl.

Bake until brown, approx. 10 - 12 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

NOTE:  We actually feel pretty confident that our box contents will be OK with our neighbors.  We have met all of our neighbors and from the gifting of "Welcome to the Neighborhood" treats when we moved in, to trick-or-treating at Halloween, we feel OK with sharing nuts with this group.  However, to be safe, we plan to let our neighbors know the ingredients so that no one gets hurt.  

Nothing says, "Hi Neighbor!" like a shot from an epi-pen. 

Happy Holiday's everyone!

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