Shop your kitchen to make homemade gifts for the holiday season

  • Fill jars with a handy homemade potpourri to fill the house with aromas of the season.

    Fill jars with a handy homemade potpourri to fill the house with aromas of the season. Courtesy of Biz Velatini

 
 
Posted12/8/2021 6:00 AM

As we gather with family and friends for the holidays, one of the things I love to do is give homemade gifts from my kitchen.

While I realize it would be easier to go to the grocery store and pick a gift card, giving the gift of your time is so much more appreciated and precious. And my ideas won't break the bank either.

 

My stepson loves Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and my version tastes as good, if I say so myself. It's almost like a nutty buddy had a baby with a malted milk ball. The inside is a bit crunchy, with a delicious dark chocolate coating. You'll be hard-pressed to stop at one.

For the foodie in your family, I made rosemary and lemon sea salt. Perfect for seasoning steaks, beef, seafood and even sprinkled over the top of your homemade bread. The secret is baking the rosemary and lemon zest at a low temperature so that it becomes shelf-stable in your pantry.

Biscotti is hands-down one of my favorite things to make. It's easy, and you can add so many combinations together. My hazelnut and dried cherry biscotti are crispy yet not crumbly and can withstand a good dunk in a cup of coffee, which is my preferred way to eat it.

Lastly, homemade potpourri: This combination of peppermint, cinnamon and coconut will make your house smell amazing. Pour the ingredients in 2-3 cups of water in a pot on the stove and let it simmer away.

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All these ideas are perfect for gift-giving this holiday season. I hope you and your family have a wonderful and safe holiday season. Enjoy!

• My Bizzy Kitchen runs once a month in Food. Follow Biz Velatini on her blog at mybizzykitchen.com/, on Instagram at instagram.com/mybizzykitchen/?hl=en and Facebook at facebook.com/mybizzykitchen.

These homemade candies taste even better then the original. They make great gifts, too.
These homemade candies taste even better then the original. They make great gifts, too. - Courtesy of Biz Velatini
Homemade Ferrero Rocher-Like Candies

1 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup chocolate Chex mix (crushed)

½ cup chocolate malt powder

½ cup powdered sugar

1 cup melting chocolate wafers

2 tablespoons gold sugar

Mix the peanut butter, Chex mix, malt powder and powdered sugar together. Using your hands, combine until the mixture looks like cookie dough. Shape each ball into the size of a big marble.

Melt the chocolate wafers in an oven safe dish for 30 seconds at 50% power. Stir, and continue that process until the chocolate is completely melted.

Dip each ball into the chocolate. Sprinkle with gold sugar. The chocolate will harden after 10 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Store in an airtight container for a week.

Makes 20

Rosemary lemon sea salt is a great gift for the foodies in your life.
Rosemary lemon sea salt is a great gift for the foodies in your life. - Courtesy of Biz Velatini
Rosemary Lemon Salt

3 packages of fresh rosemary stems (which will yield ½ cup dried rosemary)

4 lemons, zested

3 cups coarse sea salt

Heat oven to 170 degrees.

Place rosemary on a baking sheet and bake for one hour.

Zest lemons. After the first hour of the rosemary baking, add the lemon zest to the baking sheet and cook both for 30 minutes together. Cool completely.

Place 3 cups salt into a bowl. Pour the rosemary and lemon zest into the salt, and using your fingers, crush the dried rosemary into the salt.

Baking the rosemary and lemon ensures that it will not go rancid in the salt and is shelf stable.

Use ½ cup of the seasoned salt per 4-ounce jar. Seal with a lid. This will be shelf stable for months.

Makes 6 (1/2 cup) jars

Homemade biscotti makes a great gift.
Homemade biscotti makes a great gift. - Courtesy of Biz Velatini
Hazelnut and Dark Cherry Biscotti

2 egg whites

pinch salt

½ cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk (any milk will work)

2 ounces hazelnut chocolate bar, chopped (I used Hu brand)

1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup chocolate wafers (dipping chocolate for decorating)

¼ cup white chocolate wafers (dipping chocolate for decorating)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they just hold stiff peaks. Gradually beat in the sugar while constantly mixing it. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add this mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk.

Blend in the olive oil, milk, chopped chocolate, dried cherries and vanilla and mix well to get a sticky dough. This is a sticky dough -- don't worry. Pour the dough onto a parchment paper-lined pan, and using your hands, shape into a rectangle.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes to cool.

Slice into biscotti-sized bars and return them to the pan, lining them up side by side, but allowing room for them to get crispy, and return them to the oven for 20 more minutes at a reduced temperature of 300 degrees.

To melt the chocolate wafers: Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave in 30 second increments at 50% power until you can stir the chocolate to smooth.

Dip each biscotti in the chocolate and place on a second parchment-lined pan or plate. Use remaining chocolate to drizzle over the top. Repeat with melting the white chocolate wafers, and once melted, drizzle over the biscotti.

The chocolate will harden within 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Makes 10 biscotti

Homemade Potpourri

8 to 12 candy canes, removed from plastic

1½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes

8 cinnamon sticks

Divide the above ingredients between four jars. Add a gift tag on the back that reads: Empty contents into 2-3 cups of water on your stove and simmer over low for 4-6 hours.

Makes 4 jars

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