Last week I told you about how I made my brother dinner for his Hanukkah present. I really do believe that the best gifts are those that you make yourself! Sticking with this make-your-own gift theme, I made three different goodies to share this past weekend. First up I baked Cherries and Cream Cookies from the How Sweet It Is blog:
I accidentally purchased bread flour for these cookies as opposed to all-purpose, but instead of running back to the store I decided to roll with the punches and see how they turned out. When I took the cookies out of the oven I realized that while the outsides were almost cooked, the insides were still raw. I popped them in the oven for an additional 8 minutes and presto, these cookies became mini scones.
Crunchy on the outside, dense and chewy on the inside, I wish I had made them just a bit larger so that they could have lived up to their scone-ness… or scookie-ness. Scookie being scone and cookie, or what you call scones that were supposed to be cookies. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.
Next I made Cookie Dough Truffles, also from How Sweet. Jessica’s blog is an excellent resource for cookie recipes with great stories behind each bite. This particular cookie was very easy to make as it is no-bake. I made the dough overnight (no eggs are used so they are perfectly fine to eat raw!) and then dipped each one in chocolate the following day. I made these to bring to Will’s house on Christmas Eve,–his brother Harold mentioned them on his blog–so I served them in this festive ceramic serving bowl:
I saved half of the dough to assemble the following day at my aunt’s house. This is a really great cookie to make with kids; my cousin Mary had a lot of fun helping me coat them in chocolate… and then lick the spoons. My brother ate about 27. Here’s an inside peek:
The holidays are all about balance, so I also made granola to bring to both Will’s and my aunt’s house. I had never made granola before and I can’t even begin to tell you how easy it is to assemble, and how much more delicious it is to eat than store-bought granola. I based my recipe off of this one by Alton Brown.
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Bake according to Alton Brown’s directions, adding in the nutmeg, cinnamon, dried cranberries and dried apricots to the mix after it is out of the oven. I ended up making two batches of the above and combined everything in a large bowl to let cool overnight. I filled two glass jars from Michaels with the granola and had just enough leftover to fill a container for munching at home.
This granola is filled with comforting, winter-y flavors and can be filled with any fruits and nuts that you may have around the house. I am very excited to make more homemade granola in the future! With New Years approaching, it might be fun to challenge yourself with a new recipe to bring to a party or just share with friends. What new holiday recipe did you try out this year?