This is Day 11 of my Christmas in July event. If you are just now finding me, scroll back to the previous pages for great ideas to kick start your creativity! Although the drawings are over for this event, there will be another event for Autum, coming up in a couple of months with giveaways planned. Today I want to talk about Gifts from your kitchen. Some of the best gifts around are the ones that come from the heart and hands of the giver. I love to give gifts from my kitchen both mixes and fully made items. Packaging these mixes and treats is part of the fun, so now is the time to hunt down some interesting containers. Filled with a mix for something irresistible to your recipient, these are the gifts everyone wants.
Today, I’ll give you some ideas on mixes to please the chocolate lover and a few others on your list. For that chocolate lover, start looking in your grocery store for Special Dark or Dutch Process cocoa, it is smoother than the regular and gives baked goods a darker, richer appearance and flavor. Not every grocery store has it, so look around and get plenty before the holidays. You’ll also need dark chocolate chips for my special Double Dutch Brownies. If you just don’t like dark chocolate, you can make these with regular cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
You can make up these mixes weeks in advance, so you are done early. Layer the ingredients in a pretty jar, and give with the instructions provided. I like these containers that have the clamps to hold the tops on. This one has a lovely snowflake on the side. Look in the clearance section of your stores and at discount stores like Tuesday Morning, Marshalls, Ross, TJMaxx, or Big Lots for these now, or scour the thrift shops.
Of course I had to make sure that the recipe was good, so I made it up again. Any excuse for brownies, right? So, your gift recipient will just soften some butter, and whip it with 2 eggs and vanilla.
Then, dump in the mix…
and stir gently until incorporated.
Butter the baking pan with the inside of the butter wrapper, or use no stick spray.
Spread the batter evenly in the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Let them cool completely in the pan, then cut into 16 squares. Did you know that if you cut brownies with a plastic knife they won’t break apart as much? I just learned that (after these were done) and it is really true. The downside is you don’t have little bits that break off that need cleaning up to nibble on, LOL!!
YUMMMMMMM, moist and deliciously dark, chocolatey and good!
If you are using a simple jar, add a wrapper to the jar for presentation. This one will fit most jars and is great for candles too. Find those instructions HERE. If your mix is pretty, like bean soup or the brownies, let the mix show nicely and just add a ribbon.
Double Dutch Brownie Mix
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup Dutch Process cocoa
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients together, place in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Or layer the ingredients alternating light and dark layers,ending with the chips on top. Give with these instructions:
Cream 1/2 cup softened butter, two eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in entire jar of mix. Pour into a prepared 8×8 inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Let cool in the pan. Serve and enjoy!
Other recipes I like to give include Cinnamon Mocha Coffee Mix, Fruity Tea Mix and Seasoned Bean Soup Mix. Today everyone is a winner, just download this pdf for all the recipes and printable instructions for the mixes to mount on cardstock and tie to the jars – From My Carolina Home Gift Mixes
Later this year, when it gets close to the holidays, I’ll post the wonderful biscotti that I love to give. For those who enjoy giving homemade baked goods, try my Cinnamon Banana Coffee Cake, and give in a festive bag to make the gift special. You could also try my Carmel Apple Coffee Cake, Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake or Fresh Peach Coffee Cake. Cranberry Cinnamon Scones make a wonderful afternoon tea with Carole’s Creamy Scone Spread or a nice addition to serve with Perfect Breakfast Eggs.
One of my favorite home-baked breads to give is Pumpkin Orange Bread. For baked breads and candy, I have specialty bags and boxes to use for presentation. Some are personalized, the bags laying in front were purchased at a dollar store, and the festive motifs look wonderful with a bow.
I have these boxes in two sizes for candy. I purchased a several dozen several years ago and I still have a few left. They say “From Carole’s Christmas Kitchen” on the front. I ordered them online, but sadly I cannot find them now. Christmas cookies go over well in these boxes too. I just line them with wax paper using a sheet large enough to fold over the top of the food.
The paper bags are wax coated on the outside, and are suitable anytime for home baked goodness.
More recipes for breads and great baked gift items will come closer to the holidays.
Have you given gifts from your kitchen? What is your go-to gift from your kitchen?