Posted on December 20th, 2017
My favorite part of the holidays? The abundance of baked goods shared with love! (As I write this, I’m realizing I may have more than one favorite—forgive me?)
As the Nightingale Nest renovation rages on and our old kitchen slips further and further into the realm of totally unusable, I snuck a final project in under the wire to prepare some gifts for the people who have welcomed us so warmly to Westchester this year. The prep was embarrassingly easy, but the results were undeniably festive.
I chose two recipes, one sweet and one savory, offering different things for different palettes. My sweet & spicy snack mix, the savory option, pairs perfectly with watching football bowl games and imbibing before dinner.
Snack Mix Ingredients
- 4 cups mixed nuts (unsalted)
- 1 cup mini pretzels
- 1.5 cups Goldfish or Cheezits
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple Syrup
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for about 10-12 minutes, until lightly toasted.
While the nuts are roasting, combine melted butter, syrup, soy sauce, brown sugar, and spices into a bowl. When the nuts are out of the oven, mix with sauce. Gently fold in pretzels and Goldfish. Return to parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and toast an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before transferring.
The second recipe, a cranberry orange white chocolate fudge, was adapted from Best Friends For Frosting. I recommend cutting the pieces of this one to be quite small when you’re packaging, as the final product is totally delicious but definitely rich and sweet.
Cranberry White Chocolate Fudge Ingredients
- 1 14 oz bag + 1 10 oz bag white chocolate chips
- ¼ cup orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed!)
- Zest of two oranges
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Teaspoon of vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 20 oz sweetened condensed milk
Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. Combine white chocolate chips, orange juice, and sweetened condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20 second increments, stirring between each, until chocolate is a melted and even consistency. Be extremely careful not to overmicrowave the chocolate, which will cause it to seize and make it unusable! Stir in vanilla and salt, and fold in orange zest and cranberries.
Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. Allow to cool completely before cutting—about 2 hours in the fridge.
Presentation continues to be my weakness, but holiday boxes and white tissue from Target helped me do a passable job. I lined the boxes with parchment paper, too, to help with grease and stickiness. These gifts are easy to throw together for all sorts of people who make your everyday better, from the doorman in your building to your therapist (guess who got treats today!). If you’re giving a gift card this holiday season (sometimes you just have to give people what they really want, y’all), homemade treats are also a fabulous way to add a personal touch.
PS Don’t forget to save little (or not so little) snack-size portions for yourself!