Food & Recipes

Christmas Goody Baskets – The Recipes For 2020

As a child growing up in a family that loved to cook and bake, giving cookies at Christmas was something I always looked forward to.  We gave cookies to neighbors and delivery people as a way to show our appreciation for them throughout the year.

Eggnog Sandwich Cookies

As I grew up and moved away, I continued the tradition of the Christmas cookies every year.  I would mail cookies home, and hand some to my neighbors.  In the beginning, it was usually just one type of cookie, on a plate, with some saran wrap and my awful attempt at a bow.  Looking back, it was probably an awful attempt at cookies as well … but hey, we’ve all been there…😂

Eventually, I caught on to baking and cooking, and found I enjoyed it A LOT!  I was also getting pretty good at it!  I would bake throughout the year, bringing in whatever I made, to the people I worked with.  I would exchange baked goods with neighbors when they would give me something out of their garden.  When Christmas rolled around, I made sure that I had a variety of goodies to hand out to family, friends and neighbors.

At some point, my Christmas goody plate turned into a Christmas goody basket.  It became something that I looked forward to doing every year. Now, each year, something different serves as the “basket”.

This was the first year that we made and assembled baskets completely in an RV (last year we had the use and space of a full sized kitchen).

While the amount of space proved to be somewhat of a challenge, we got it done!  The baskets were every bit as full as in past years!

This years “baskets” were wooden wine boxes that Total Wine receives their shipments in 🙂

Over the years, I have had people ask me for recipes for some of the items in the baskets.  This year, I decided I would write out the recipe for everything that was included in the baskets.  My plan was to include the recipes in the baskets.  I didn’t get them written out in time though, so I decided I would post them here.  Maybe next year they will make it into the baskets 🙂

Most of the items are shippable since we ship out as many baskets as we hand out.  Occasionally, there will be a goody or two in the baskets that are handed out, that doesn’t really ship well (due to the probability that it would mold before it arrives at the destination).  These recipes will be marked as “not recommended for shipping”.

This years baskets included the following:

 

🍪 Cookies

It just isn’t Christmas without homemade cookies!  This year I included three different cookies in our baskets.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Chocolate Drizzle

Double Chocolate Chip w/ Chocolate Drizzle

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (melted)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips (1/2 cup dark chocolate, 1/2 cup milk chocolate)

For Drizzle

1 cup melting chocolate

Directions:

Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in mixing bowl.  Mix until combined.  Add Vanilla and egg.  Mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.  Mix together.  Add to butter mixture and mix just until combined.  Add chocolate chips and fold in by hand.  Using a 1/4 cup scoop, drop dough onto baking sheet (lined with parchment paper).  Gently and slightly, press dough so that top of dough is flattened.  Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.  When completely cooled, drizzle with melting chocolate.  Let dry and enjoy!

Giant Peanut Butter Cookies 🥛

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (melted)

1/2 cup sugar (plus a little extra for sprinkling)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in mixing bowl.  Mix well.  Add peanut butter, vanilla and egg.  Mix until well combined.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to butter mixture and mix well.  Using a 1/4 cup scoop, drop dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Gently press dough with tines of fork and sprinkle lightly with sugar.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on rack.  Enjoy with a nice cold cup of milk!

Giant Molasses Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups butter (softened)

1 1/2 cups sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

2 eggs

4 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Mix together butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Add molasses and eggs.  Mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Add to butter mixture and mix until just combined.  Use a 1/4 cup scoop to drop dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Gently press dough and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on rack.  Enjoy!

 

Nuts and Candies

They say that nuts are supposed to bring good luck at Christmastime.  With 2020 wrapping up. a few nuts in the goody baskets was probably a good idea! 🤗

Pecan Roca

Almond and Pecan Roca’s

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

1 c sugar

3 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

1 cup almonds (or pecans) – slightly crushed

1 c chocolate chips (I use semi sweet, but you can use milk chocolate as well)

Directions:

*This is a quick moving recipe.  I always have everything pre-measured and prepped, prior to starting.

In a medium sauce pot, melt butter.  Add sugar, water and syrup.  Attach candy thermometer to side of pot , making sure that it is not touching the bottom of the pot.  When it begins to boil, raise heat.  Cook until it reaches the soft crack stage (if you do not have a candy thermometer, when it turns light brown, drop a little bit into a cold glass of water.  If it has reached the soft crack stage, it will separate into threads that are not brittle).

Once it has reached the soft crack stage, immediately stir in half of the nuts.  Quickly pour onto a large piece of parchment paper.  Once the top has started to firm up, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top.  Once they start to melt, spread them gently to the edges..  Sprinkle the remainder of the nuts over the chocolate.  Let cool completely.  Break into pieces using the edge of a knife.

 

Spiced Nuts

4 cups raw nuts (You can use any combo of nuts that you prefer.  I use walnut, almond and pecan)

1 egg white

2 tablespoons honey

4 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon tumeric

1/2 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Place nuts in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy.  Add to nuts and stir until coated.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.  Spread nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake in oven set at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.  Every 10 minutes, stir nuts around on sheet.  Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

*These nuts make a great hiking snack!!

 

Sea Salt and Espresso Caramels

Sea Salt Caramels and Espresso Caramels

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)

1 cup light corn syrup

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup butter (cut into small cubes)

2 teaspoons vanilla

Sea Salt Caramels – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus coarse salt for sprinkling

Espresso Caramels – 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee, plus espresso sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

*This is another quick moving recipe, so it is best to have everything prepped beforehand.

In a heavy, large pot or Dutch Oven, combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream and butter (also add the instant coffee if you are making the espresso caramels).

Over medium heat, stir until all ingredients are melted and mixed together.  Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, being careful not to let it touch the bottom of the pot.

Increase the heat, and bring the ingredients to a boil.  Once it is boiling, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer until the thermometer reaches 250 degrees.  Stir often.  This will take about 45 minutes.  When the temperature reaches 250, remove from heat.  Immediately add the vanilla (add the sea salt if you are making the sea salted caramels).

Quickly pour into a baking dish that has been lined with buttered parchment paper.  Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, and then sprinkle with either the coarse salt or the sugared espresso.

Clips help to hold the parchment in place as you pour the caramel into the pan.

Allow to cool completely (I let it sit overnight).

Remove the caramels from the pan by lifting up on the parchment paper.

Remove sides of paper from the candy and slice into 1 inch squares.

Dip the caramel square in either the salt or the espresso, depending on which one you are making.

Wrap in wax candy wrappers.

Turtles 🥨

These are so easy and cheap to make, but they are always such a hit!

Ingredients:

Small Pretzel Twists

Rolo Candies

Pecan halves

*The amount above just depends on how many you want to make.  Each turtle will need 1 of each ingredient.

On a baking sheet, lay out pretzels in a single layer.  Unwrap and place one Rolo on top of each pretzel.  Place pan in an oven that has been heated to 350 degrees.  Let sit in oven for about 1 minute.  Remove from oven and quickly press one pecan half into the Rolo.  Let cool and dry.  That’s it!  Super easy, but super yummy!

 

Scones *Not recommended for shipping

This year I added Scones to the baskets that we handed out.  Over the summer I had purchased some Lavender Sugar, and had been planning on making a Lemon-Lavender Scone recipe with it.   The end result was a moist scone that had a slight lemony tartness blended with a hint of lavender.

Lemon Lavender Scones

Lemon Lavender Scones

Ingredients: *This recipe is for a single batch.  The pictures show a double batch. 

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

zest of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon dried lavender

1/2 cup butter (cut into chunks)

1 egg

1 teaspoon lemon extract

enough lemon juice to make 1/2 cup when added to egg

1 cup confection sugar

Half and half (enough to make icing the consistency you prefer)

1 teaspoon lemon extract

Lavender sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

In a large bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, lemon zest and Lavender.  Whisk together until well combined.

Add butter, and using a pastry blender, mix in until butter resembles small-medium crumbs.

Crack the egg into a 1 cup measuring cup.  Add the lemon extract and enough lemon juice to bring everything to a half cup.

Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Pat dough into a ball and place on parchment paper.  Pat down into a 1 1/2- 2 inch thick pancake.  Cut into 6 pie shaped slices.

Place each slice on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake in an oven at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool on a wire rack. While cooling, combine confection sugar, lemon extract and half and half in a bowl.  Mix until you have the desired consistency.

When scones are completely cool, spread icing on top, and sprinkle with lavender sugar.

 

Jams

This was one of the items in the baskets that I was scared we wouldn’t be able to include – due to the limited space for making jam in an rv.  But!  Where there is a will, there is a way!  Not only did we make one, we made three!  I already have ideas looking ahead to next year for canning! 😉

🥕Carrot Cake Jam

This was pretty popular in last years baskets, so we decided to include it again!

1 1/2 cups shredded carrot

1 1/2 cups chopped apple (I leave the peel on)

1 3/4 cups chopped pineapple (I use fresh, but canned will work also)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 box pectin

6 1/2 cups sugar

Directions:

In a large sauce pan, combine carrots, apples, pineapple, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 20 minutes, add pectin and stir until dissolved.  Raise heat to high, and bring back to a full, rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down).  Add sugar all at once and return to a full, rolling boil again.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Fill jars, place lids and bands on, and place in water bath canner.  Process for 10 minutes.  Remove from canner and let sit until lids “pop”.

 

🍓Strawberry Lemonade Jam🍋

This is a jam I came up with one summer when I had an over-abundance of strawberries.  It tastes just like a refreshing glass of strawberry lemonade (in my opinion, anyway 😊)

Ingredients:

1 large lemon

4 cups of strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1 box of pectin

6 cups of sugar

Directions:

Thinly slice the peel off of the lemon (if you zest it, you will not get pieces of lemon in the jam).  Juice the rest of the lemon into a large pot. Add the peel to a small pot of water and boil for 5 minutes.  Drain lemon peels.  In the large pot with the lemon juice, add lemon peels, strawberries and pectin.  Over low-medium heat, slowly bring to a boil, crushing strawberries as you cook it.  Once it boils, add the sugar, raise the heat, and bring back to a full, rolling boil.  Boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Add jam to canning jars.  Place lids and rims on jars.  Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.  Remove from canner and let cool.  Lids will “pop” as they cool.

 

Orange Marmalade

Orange Marmalade

This was my first time ever making Orange Marmalade.  It took two days, and turned out pretty….okay.  The recipe is just how I made it, but, if I make it again, I will probably try a few things differently.  The taste however, was pretty darn good!

Ingredients:

4 large naval oranges (washed)

2 lemons

8 cups of water

8 cups sugar

*Oranges make their own pectin, so I did not add pectin.  Next time, I may add a little.

Directions:

Cut the oranges and lemons in half.  Slice the halves very thinly and place the fruit in a large pot with the water (keep as much of the juices that you can and add to the pot with the fruit, but discard any seeds).

Bring to a boil, stirring often.  Once it boils, remove from heat.

Add the sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Cover and let sit at room temperature, overnight.

The next day, return pot to the stove, and bring back to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours.  After 2 hours, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and raise heat to medium-high.

Return to a boil and continue boiling until the thermometer hits 220 degrees.  Stir often.

Remove from heat and pour into prepared jars.

Place in water bath canner and process for 15 minutes.  Remove from canner and let cool.  Lids will “pop” as they cool.

 

 

These were all of the homemade goodies in this years baskets.  I think for next year, we will switch it up, and make all new recipes!  I already have a few ideas in mind!  After all, nothing puts magic into the holidays quite like the fun (and aroma) of spending time in the kitchen making and baking holiday treats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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