The Gift of Food

The Gift of Food

Warm-Up-Winter Hot Chocolate Mix

Yield
20 Servings
Preparation time
10 minutes
Ingredients
3 cups powdered milk
1 cup powdered sugar
2⁄3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Instructions

Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend in 15-second intervals until well combined. Let powder settle for a minute before opening. Transfer to gifting jars or tins. When gifting, include these instructions: “Whisk together 1/3 cup of the hot chocolate mix and 8 ounces (1 cup) of water (or milk, if preferred). Top with marshmallows and warm up your winter!” Paired gifts could include marshmallows, a mug, or a small whisk. Makes 62/3 cups, which fills about four 16-ounce Mason jars.

Notes

NOTE: The age of your cinnamon and cayenne could affect their flavor. Add more or less to taste.

Per serving: 133 calories, 1 gram fat (0.5 grams saturated fat), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 138 milligrams sodium, 26 grams total carbohydrates, 2.5 grams fiber, 9 grams protein.

Sweet and Salty Caramels

Yield
27 Servings
Preparation time
10 minutes
Cooking time
30 minutes
Total time
40 minutes
Ingredients
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1⁄4 cup light corn syrup
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 teaspoon flaked salt
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions

Line a 9 x 6-inch baking pan with a 1-inch lip (or higher) of parchment so the excess paper comes up the sides. Spray top of parchment with cooking spray. Place pan wherever you plan to store it overnight for the caramels to cool. (If pan is moved while the caramels are hardening, it will cause the surface of the caramels to wrinkle.)

Place butter and cream in a microwaveable bowl with spout. Microwave 1 to 3 minutes until butter is melted. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until sugar is just moistened and uniform, being careful not to splash any up the sides of the saucepan. Heat on medium until the mixture begins to boil. Stir once, then cover with lid for 1 minute. Continue to boil uncovered without stirring at all for 5 to 10 minutes, until mixture reaches 320 F on a candy thermometer and is a light amber color around the edges of the pan.

Turn off the heat. Slowly and carefully begin to add the cream/butter mixture to the sugar mixture a little at a time, whisking to incorporate. (It will boil intensely at this stage.) Turn burner back on to medium-high. Continue boiling without stirring until it reaches 240 F, 5 to 10 minutes. (240 F produces soft caramels. If you prefer slightly harder caramels, aim for 245 F.) Remove from heat and quickly whisk in vanilla. Pour into prepared 9 x 6-inch pan. Do not scrape the bottom of the saucepan if there’s a burnt layer. Let cool for 2 to 5 minutes, then sprinkle salt on top. (Test with a few flakes of salt every minute or so. If the salt begins to sink, wait another minute and try again.) Let rest overnight. Cut into 27 1 x 2-inch pieces and wrap in 5 x 5-inch pieces of parchment or wax paper. Store in airtight containers for up to a week.

Notes

NOTE: If you don’t have a 9 x 6-inch baking pan, makeshift a cardboard box to form the sides of a pan.

Per serving: 95 calories, 5 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat), 15 milligrams cholesterol, 69 milligrams sodium, 13 grams total carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 0 grams protein.

Festive Hummus

Yield
6 Servings
Preparation time
10 minutes
Ingredients
1 large lemon
2 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans, drained)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
  Small bunch fresh curly parsley
  1/4 to 1/2 cup water
Instructions

Wash and scrub exterior of lemon. With a small knife or peeler, separate the lemon rind from the lemon, avoiding most of the white pith. Place chickpeas into a food processor. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the chickpeas, then add the lemon rind, olive oil, garlic, and most of the parsley (thick stems removed). Process for 2 to 3 minutes, adding a bit of water at a time until the mixture is smooth and easy to spread, scraping sides of food processor a few times. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl or Mason jar, and finely chop a small handful of parsley and sprinkle on top. Serve with red and green vegetables. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Notes

Per serving: 582 calories, 14 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 0 milligrams cholesterol, 43 milligrams sodium, 90 grams total carbohydrates, 26 grams fiber, 
29 grams protein

Giftable Nut Butters

Yield
8 Servings
Preparation time
10 minutes
Instructions

CARDAMOM DATE CASHEW BUTTER

1 cup roasted unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 dates, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt

BROWN SUGAR ROASTED ALMOND BUTTER 

1 cup roasted unsalted almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

MEXICAN PEANUT BUTTER

1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

 

In a small food processor, chop/grind nuts until they begin to form a paste and stick together, approximately 2 to 4 minutes. The food processor may begin to overheat, so make sure to take breaks to give it time to cool down. Use a spatula to scrape nuts off the sides and encourage the blade to continue running. Once a paste forms, add the oil and process until incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and process for another 1 to 2 minutes, until all ingredients are incorporated and butter is smooth to your liking. Store in a sealed container for up to a month. Each recipe makes approximately 1 cup of nut butter.