I love spiced chickpeas. Soak your dried chickpeas overnight, spread them out on a tea towel and dry them well, then toss with some olive oil and spices of your choice and roast at 300, shaking occasionally, for 30-40 minutes. I've used wasabi and ginger, or pimenton, or chili powder, or a mix of cumin and turmeric and curry. Let them cool and then bag them up.
I also like to do toasted spiced or candied pecans. Also, my chocolate cherry cordials from an earlier Food 52 recipe are a favorite. I love to do pralines -- my never-fail, easy-as-pie recipe here: http://kayatthekeyboard..., but they don't ship so well, as they're fragile. And I have done nice little crocks of chicken liver pate, but of course can't ship them, unless you want to pack them to stay cold. Recipe here: http://www.epicurious.com..., Oh, and sweet potato yeast bread is always a big hit.
Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.
JenniferF you can get loads of ideas from this site - it was a ctaegory last holiday season!
It's also fun to send homemade quick bread mixes (banana, pumpkin, gingerbread, dried cranberry & pecan, dried cherry, etc.) with instructions. They come in really handy for people who do a lot of holiday entertaining. When more people show up than expected, it's really fast and easy to mix up a quick bread when all the dry ingredients are already combined. They also ship well. I send mine all the way from Seattle to Vermont and I've never had a complaint about the flours making a mess.
Homemade chai masala is also easy to ship. Mix up the spices, add black tea, and it's ready for anyone to brew on their own stove. I find that 2 parts tea to 1 part spices is a good balance.
If you're willing to do a little canning, you could come up with a couple of different tasty sweets for gifts. There's a recently-published book called Canning For A New Generation that's got some nice possibilities. Off the top of my head, I remember a recipe for spiced cranberries and one for slow-roasted figs. Both of those are nice little things to have a jar of to use with desserts or as garnishes. Plus you can perform a couple of simple variations to exercise your own creativity.
I usually send apple butter, homemade chocolate truffles, and peanut butter/chocolate fudge. I've also made mini pizzelle (this takes a special iron) and shipped them in pringles canisters. I wrap the pringles canisters in wrapping paper and send them on their way. (Usually my husband eats the potato chips). Any cookie could be shipped via pringles canister.
AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
I've recently posted three crispy nut recipes here on food52 . . . you brine the nuts in an herb, spice, etc. infused water (that's also salty), then roast them very slowly to partially dehydrate them. Very subtle, and delicious if I might say so. I'll be posting a few more, later this month, if time permits. Here are the links:
Have fun! ;o)
I'm surprised no one has mentioned pickles yet! But yes: pickles. People love pickles. Especially when you branch out from cucumbers. I like to do carrots and watermelon radishes. You can slice them thinly on a mandoline or grate them on a box grater. You can pickle with salt for a more subtle flavor, or use vinegar for a super-sour and longer lasting pickle.
Great idea, linzarella!! ;o)
I always made brandied peaches - not even bothering to peel them - for gifts and they were so welcomed by friends. Another great idea is rum balls. Anything with a little booze keeps well and matures.
Thanks, everyone. I'm definitely going to add the chickpeas and spiced nuts to the roster. Also, I have had a request to try and create a more upscale version of the cereal-peanut butter-chocolate mix known as "puppy chow".
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