Homemade Food Gifts for Mom

Homemade Cashew Brittle

Homemade gifts are always special. For Mother’s Day, I think homemade is even more appreciated. I’ve assembled some of my favorite food gift recipes. While some will require adult hands, there are a few kid- friendly options, too. None of these take a lot of time- so you still can make them for her special day. For all the moms out there- Happy Mother’s Day.

 

 

 

We will start with this cashew brittle recipe. Brittle was a special favorite of my own mother. I always think of her when I make it. This recipe is a breeze. Cooked in the microwave, this recipe is ready before you know it. You can, of course, use different nuts.

 

Homemade Cashew Brittle

2 c. cashews*

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. corn syrup

1/8 t. salt

1 t. butter

1 t. vanilla

1 t. baking soda

Butter or oil a large baking sheet and set aside. In a 3-4 quart glass bowl combine the nuts, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Remove from microwave, stir well and return to microwave. Cook 3 more minutes in microwave. Remove and stir in butter and vanilla, stirring until butter has melted. Return to microwave and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from microwave and stir in baking soda. Stir until well blended and pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Spread out quickly, then allow to cool. Once cool, break into pieces. Store in a cool, dry place. I normally store it in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

* I used salted cashews but feel free to experiment with other nuts

Note: Use high power setting on microwave.

 

Truffles

1/3 c. Whipping cream

6 T. butter, cut into small pieces

2 c. chocolate chips- or 12 oz. dark chocolate, grated or chopped coarsely

Unsweetened cocoa

Heat cream to boiling in small saucepan. Stir in butter and cook until melted. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Place in shallow bowl and chill until firm, at least a couple of hours. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and roll in cocoa. Sometimes the mixture is quite firm and hard to roll into perfectly smooth balls. You can roll them out as smooth as you can, roll in cocoa and then roll again to smooth out. You might want to give them another roll in the cocoa after that.  Makes about 30.

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles

Minty Cocoa Hearts

Minty Cocoa Hearts

Sugared Nuts

Sugared Nuts

Homemade Bavarian Mustard

Homemade Bavarian Mustard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minty Cocoa Hearts

If you are looking for a simple chocolate treat- that requires no cooking – try Minty Cocoa Hearts. This easy to make candy is made with just a few ingredients. The “dough” is mixed and rolled out. Then you just cut them out into little hearts. They taste great and they are also a nice project for kids. There is no special equipment needed other than a tiny heart-shaped cookie cutter. So if time is short and you really want to make something homemade this Mother’s Day- these could be the answer.

9 c. powdered sugar
1 c. cocoa
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. water
2 t. peppermint extract

In large bowl combine ingredients until well blended. You can add more water, if needed, 1 teaspoon at a time. Divide mixture into 2 pieces and shape in balls. Place each between sheets of wax paper and roll out to 1/4 -inch thickness. Cut out with tiny cutters and place on foil-lined tray. Chill several hours, then wrap up in colored foil or place in tiny candy bags. Makes 80 (1-inch) candies.

 

Sugared Nuts

Many years ago, my sister Cindy gave me the recipe for making these nuts. I make at least a few batches every year, and they are always a big hit. I will admit to tweaking the recipe a little over time, but the basics are still the same. Nuts are placed in a heavy skillet with sugar, water and seasonings. The mixture is then brought to a boil and cooked until most of the liquid cooks off. This takes about 10 minutes, give or take. You dump the nuts onto a cookie sheet, and start stirring immediately. If you don’t stir them, they will stick together.  This is where the magic happens. The nuts look wet when you pour them out and start stirring, but in a few minutes, they cool and dry, and the sugar crystallizes on the nuts. Once cooled, the nuts are crunchy and sweet and very tasty. You can use them as a snack, or in all sorts of recipes. This is a really fast confection to make, and is a nice gift, too.

4-5 c. nuts, I like walnuts or pecans
2 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. orange peel
1 t. salt, optional
Place all ingredients in heavy skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until all the water disappears. Whatever liquid in the pan will be clinging to the nuts and syrupy. Dump nuts onto a large cookie sheet and break apart with a wooden spoon to prevent clumping. As nuts cool, stir once or twice to remove any remaining clumps, and to cool faster. Nuts will lose their glossy appearance and attain a sugary crust. If it looks like nut soup, you didn’t cook them long enough, and you must return all to the skillet and cook longer. As the nuts start to get drier during cooking, you can turn down the heat a little to prevent burning. Once you’ve made a few batches, though, you will get good at judging when to stop cooking. You can also make a spicy version by adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper along with the other ingredients. Store in cool, dry place to keep nuts fresh longer.

Horseradish Mustard

1 c. dry mustard
3/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/3 c. dry white wine or dry sherry
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 T. dried minced onion
2 t. caraway seeds
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. coarse ground mustard
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 T. prepared horseradish

Combine all ingredients, except eggs and horseradish in top of double boiler and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Whisk in eggs and cook over simmering water until mixture has thickened and eggs are cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in horseradish. Pour into sterilized jar, cool and cover. Store in fridge for up to 3 months. Makes 2 cups.

Bavarian Mustard

3/4 c. beer
2/3 c. dry mustard
2 T. sugar
2 T. cider vinegar
2 t. salt
1-t. celery seeds
1/2 t. fresh grated ginger or 1/4 t. dry
1 egg, beaten

Combine all but the egg in the top of a double boiler and let stand 2 hours at room temperature. Stir in egg and cook over simmering water. stirring constantly until mixture thickens and egg is cooked, about 10 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and cool before covering. Store in fridge for up to 2 months. Makes 2 cups.

 

Spicy Mustard

1 c. dry mustard
2/3 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. vinegar, flavored with herbs or garlic
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. salt
1 t. basil
1 t. chili powder
1 t. dried minced garlic
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. cracked pepper
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Mix all ingredients, except eggs, in top of double boiler and let stand 2 hours at room temperature. Add eggs and cook over simmering water, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and eggs are cooked, about 10 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and cool down before covering and refrigerating. Keeps in fridge for up to 2-3 months. Makes 2 cups.

French Herb Mustard

1/4 c. dry mustard
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1/4 c. white wine or dry sherry
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. tarragon
1/4 t. dill seed
1/4 t. celery seed
1/4 t. ground cloves
3 egg yolks or 1 whole egg

Combine all ingredients, except eggs, in top of double boiler and let stand at room temperature 2 hours. Whisk in eggs and cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, until mustard thickens and eggs are cooked, about 5 minutes. Store in crock or jar in fridge for up to 1 month. Makes 1 cup, recipe can be doubled.

Cookie Pops

These are a fun and easy gift to make with kids. I used white “chocolate” discs, but you can use real chocolate, too. Kids can make Mom an edible “bouquet”.

All you need are vanilla wafers, peanut butter or frosting to stick the cookies together, Popsicle sticks, some sort of chocolate you can melt and candies to decorate. After that it’s pretty easy.  Dip the end of a stick into the peanut butter. Press 2 cookies together on the end of the stick. Press firmly. Melt the chocolate- I used a glass bowl in the microwave,but be careful not to burn the chocolate. Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate until covered. Allow excess to drip off.  Place cookies on wax paper. Decorate your “pops” to look like flowers- I used M&M’s. Allow them to dry/cool then you can just peel them off the wax paper.

You can get M&M’s in so many colors, the “chocolate” discs, too, that color combinations are pretty limitless.  If there are nut allergies to consider use frosting to stick the cookies together.

Cookie Pops

Cookie Pops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Fudge Sauce

 

If Mom is a chocolate lover, this sauce makes a great gift. Don’t forget the ice cream!

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1/8 t. salt
1-c. heavy or whipping cream
½ c. butter, cut into pieces
1 t. vanilla extract

In saucepan , stir together dry ingredients then stir in cream and butter. Heat to boiling and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes and stir in vanilla. Store leftovers in fridge. Rewarm before using.  Makes 2 ½ cups.