November 28, 2012 10:21:11 AM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
As the days inch closer to Christmas each December, my husband and I know we're going to hear a knock on the door one evening. It will be a neighboring family, from down the road. They'll bring us gifts of Christmas carols and a delicious assortment of homemade goodies from their kitchen. It's one of the most heart-warming gestures we experience during the holidays. And for that family that has made it a tradition through all the formative years of their children's lives, the bond of baking together, singing together, giving together is surely something those sons and daughters will remember forever.
Perhaps this is the year to give a gift from your kitchen, a gift wrapped in your own time and effort. On the practical side, homemade goodies can help stretch the budget for families with multiple teachers, co-workers or neighbors they'd like to remember. And something made with your own hands conveys a personal wish for holiday cheer.
Homemade specialties can range from chocolate-coated candies to cheesy snacks, from homemade salsa to elegant toffees. How you say "Merry Christmas" from your kitchen is up to you.
Today, we share several recipes from contributors to "Country Woman," a holiday guide of food, decorations and crafts. They include a tongue-tingling, crimson jalapeno cranberry chutney that makes a great appetizer, or can be served as a condiment with turkey or chicken. There's also a mouth-watering recipe for moist mini-loaves dotted with raspberries and pecans.
For snack fans on your list, cheesy coated pretzels flavored with garlic powder, oregano and cayenne make a welcome gift. There's also a recipe for spiced tea mix.
Visit any dollar-type store for inexpensive containers to package your homemade treats in. Add a festive ribbon or raffia, and you've got a counter full of holiday happies ready to go. You might even consider delivering them with a knock on the door and a few Christmas carols.
RASPBERRY PECAN MINI LOAVES
Makes 6 loaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 to 5 teaspoons orange juice
Note: If using frozen raspberries, do not thaw before adding to batter.
(Source: Kathleen Showalter, Shoreline, Wash.)
JALAPENO CRANBERRY CHUTNEY
Makes 4 pints
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 medium navel oranges
2 medium lemons
1 medium tart apple, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
6 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, divided
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
(Source: Country Woman Test Kitchen)
DELUXE SPICED TEA MIX
Makes 10 cups
2 jars (21.1 ounces each) orange breakfast drink mix
1 cup sugar
1 envelope (5 ounces) sweetened lemonade drink mix
1 jar (3 ounces) unsweetened instant tea
2 1/4 cups red-hot candies
2 teaspoons each ground allspice, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
(Source: Deanie Milligan, Carrollton, Texas)
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 package (10 ounces) pretzel rods
(Source: Cindy Winter-Hartley, Cary, North Carolina)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.