Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas!


Have you waited to the last minute to get Christmas presents? I thought that might be the case. But don’t worry! These three recipes are perfect for christmas gifts. I threw all of this together in a couple of hours. Easy! Plus, everyone knows food is a way better gift than an ugly sweater or one of those pre-made hot chocolate gift sets. You know the ones I’m talking about, with the mugs and cheap cocoa? I swear I get one of those things every year!

cookies for christmas

First, Espresso Toffee Shortbread. These are super delicious, the espresso flavor is really strong, so if you don’t like that, cut it down a bit, maybe to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Espresso Toffee Shortbread
Makes about 4 dozen
from here, make those too!

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup toffee bits
1 tablespoon espresso powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add vanilla, toffee, espresso powder and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter beating at a low speed until blended.

Form dough into 2 logs, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter; wrap in parchment, and refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

Preheat oven to 350.

If frozen, let the logs stand at room temp for 10 minutes. Remove parchment. Slice logs into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, and space about 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake until pale golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

peppermint bark

Second, Peppermint bark! I LOVE peppermint and chocolate together. This is so, so easy. Perfect for the chocolate lover on your list.

Peppermint Bark
From Savory Sweet Life


1 bag of chocolate chips (any kind you like)
1 bag of white chocolate chips
24 mini candy canes, crushed *do not crush using a food processor – place candy canes in a zip lock bag and use a hammer to crush into small pieces


Line the bottom of a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. Pour (brown) chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave chocolate chips in increments of 30 seconds stirring the chips each time until chocolate chips have completed melted and mixture is smooth. Spread melted chocolate as evenly as possibly into lined pan. Place pan into freezer for 20 minutes. Repeat the same melting process with the white chips. While chocolate is still smooth, stir in half of the crushed candy cane mixture. Allow the white chocolate to slightly cool for a minute. Remove pan from freezer and spread white chocolate/crushed candy canes mixture on top of the chocolate layer. Spread white chocolate as quickly as possible. Top off with remaining crushed candy cane and gently pat down with the back of a spatula. Return pan to freezer for 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and gently lift the whole mixture from the pan with a butter knife. You should now have a solid sheet of peppermint bark. Remove parchment paper and break into pieces. Store any left over bark in a ziplock bag and place in the freezer. Enjoy!



spiced maple glazed pecans

Lastly, my favorite, Spiced Maple Glazed Pecans. These are SO GOOD. Sweet, but not too sweet, salty, and a little spicy. Give these to everyone!

Spiced Maple Glazed Pecans
from Martha Stewart

1 pound unsalted pecans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Spread nut mixture in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat. Bake, stirring frequently, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool. Pecans can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container up one week.


Merry Christmas!

30 comments:

  1. Love the shortbread cookies with a simple bow around 'em - they look yummy, too! My peppermint bark this year was an epic fail... I'll just enjoy yours in pictures (lovely pictures. I have camera/talent envy. :) Happy holidays!

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  2. Hannah,
    Thanks for including me on your sweet site. Merry Christmas to you!

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  3. Lovely! Three of my favorite things here... coffee/espresso, chocolate and peppermint together, and spiced pecans. How did you know? :-)

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  4. I love your photographs. You inspire me to take better pictures each time I look at it. I don't even remember how I found your blog - but I love it. Thank you! Merry Christmas. Keep taking lovely pictures of things God has made!

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  5. Stunning photos as always! Those pecans sound incredible! Merry Christmas!!!

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  6. Mmm, I'm planning on doing the pecans as Christmas bruch favors...for 25! Fun!

    Merry Christmas, Hannah.

    (ps got my ice cream scoop yesterday and have already used it! Thank you!)

    xo, K

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  7. I think your photography is my favorite out of all the blogs I read. It's so clear and beautiful!!! Thank you for the peppermint bark and pecan recipes---I've always wanted to make peppermint bark, and I have a bunch of pecans that I need to use up. Buttery, maple pecans sound good to me!

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  8. Delicious! I am amazingly done ahead of schedule, but these are inspiration--gifts for me!

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  9. Wow, why I am even the slightest bit shocked that I'm gushing over your pictures... that is all I ever do every time I visit here. Great gift ideas... I love peppermint bark and make it every year but somehow your shot of it just portrays it perfectly. Merry Christmas!

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  10. What great gifts! I will have to try my hand at them.

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  11. Great ideas, gorgeous shots!

    Merry Christmas!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  12. Great last minute ideas. I love the presentation of the Espresso Toffee Shortbread. Merry Cristmas.

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  13. Sweets are always my favorite gifts to make and give, thanks for the recipes! The espresso shortbread looks so good!

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  14. Oh, Hannah. You make me wish I was on your Christmas list! So lovely ... and obviously scrumptious!

    Merry, Merry Christmas!

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  15. Last year I made a cake for my boyfriend. Making delicious food is always a good idea for Christmas gifts! This year, I prepare to give him an Olympus digital camera. It's 10MP, but only for $20. When I got this deal news from http://followsales.com, I was shocked for its unbelievable price, and ordered it from 6pm without hesitation! I should never tell him the true price! I also plan to write him a love letter. Both of the two gifts aren’t expensive at all, but I do think they’re unique and perfect gifts.

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  16. Yum... Everything looks wonderful! Hope you had a very merry Christmas!

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  17. It all looks awesome...hope yours was a great Christmas!

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  18. Everything looks wonderful. I especially love peppermint bark. I hope you and yours had a very happy Christmas. Wishing you a joyous New Year as well!

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  19. I missed this. However, I was up to my neck in nuts and flour and gifts. I must save this recipe for next year. Thanks!

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  20. Thanks for sharing the pecan recipe.....sounds yummy!

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  21. In a large bowl, whisk together the ateş ve su buz devri brown sugar, melted butter, flour and salt. Add in the eggs, maple syrup This dish is really amazing to eat.As there has been mixed many awesome ingredients kaktüs adam so it should be delicious for everyone.I would like to make this dish and will eat with my family.

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