I love taking bits and pieces from the past and creating something new to enjoy. A tiny piece of lace or an old picture is my inspiration. I think if these elements could talk, they would have such an interesting story to tell.
With that said, I had the opportunity to visit with a certain jolly old elf. He asked what I wanted for Christmas and I said I had everything that I need. He seemed to think that I didn't have a picture of me on his lap ... sooo ... now I have one!
Whether it is Christmastime or otherwise, sometimes you feel the need to let people know that they have been special in some way. Over the past few months, there have been several people that have made an unpleasant time much more tolerable. My hubby and I felt we wanted to let them know that we noticed and it made a difference.
The bottom line ... they cared and we wanted to reciprocate. For me, cooking equates with caring. So, last week I got busy and baked lots of fun, yummy stuff to give. I had fun!
I pulled out recipes for my favorite holiday treats and included a new one that I had been wanting to try.
The results are pictured below.
I think that packaging and presentation are as important as what is inside the package.
As they say, you eat with your eyes first.
There were snowflake pizzelles dusted with powdered sugar ...
chocolate dipped marshmallow pops and
coconut thumbprint cookies with cranberry curd centers ...
cranberry-orange nut bread, savory parmesan crackers and
sweet, salty pecans! I hope the recipients enjoyed sampling
everything as much as I enjoyed creating it.
The savory crackers and thumbprint cookies were recipes from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. Both fabulous!!! The sweet and salty pecans are a holiday favorite. I have served them at the Holiday Treasures show for the past two years. They disappear in a matter of minutes. I thought I would share the receipe. If you have any questions about the recipe or any of the other items shown above - just email !
Sweet and Salty Nuts
Butter (about 2 tbsp. to grease baking pan).
1 pound pecan or walnut pieces (4 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt (about 1 tbsp. or 2 tsp. salt)
Freshly ground black pepper (about 1/2 tsp.)
Coarse raw sugar
Preheat over to 325 degrees. Using about 2 tablespoons of butter, generously butter a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.
In a large bowl stir together the nuts, granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and pepper until well combined; spread in prepared pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly, stiring once or twice. Remove from oven. Sprinkle generously with raw sugar; toss to coat. Transfer mixture to a large piece of foil. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Break apart to serve.
Store nuts in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in freezer container in freezer up to 3 months. Makes 20-24, 1/4-cup servings.