Treats from the kitchen warm hearts at Christmas

features@beaufortgazette.comDecember 14, 2011 

  • Parmesan Breadsticks

    Makes: 2 1/2 dozen

    1 package dry yeast

    2/3 cup warm water

    2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

    2 teaspoon sugar

    3/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup vegetable oil

    1 egg white

    1 tablespoon water

    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

    Dissolve yeast in 2/3 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 cup flour, sugar, enough remaining flour to make soft dough.

    Turn dough out onto a floured surface and kneed about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 30 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a strip about 6 inches long. Place strips, 1-inch apart, on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, for 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg white and 1 tablespoon water until frothy. Lightly brush egg white mixture over bread sticks, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

    Cumin Cashews

    Makes: 2 cups

    2 cups raw cashews

    2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon paprika

    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cashews, butter and oil. Spread cashew mixture evenly in a 15-by-10-by-1 inch jellyroll pan. Bake for 20 minutes, shaking frequently. Drain cashews on paper towels.

    Combine salt, paprika and cumin seeds; sprinkle over cashews.

    Favorite Popcorn Balls

    Makes: 2 dozen

    4 cups sugar

    1 1/2 cups light corn syrup

    1 1/2 cups water

    1 tablespoon salt

    1 cup butter or margarine

    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    6 quarts popped corn

    Combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt in a saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook, without stirring, until syrup reaches a hard ball stage on a candy thermometer (250 degrees). Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla.

    Place popped corn in a large pan; pour hot syrup over top, mixing well. Grease hands with butter, and shape mixture into balls. Place on waxed paper to dry.

    All-Natural Granola

    Makes: 12 cups

    1/2 cup safflower oil

    1/2 cup honey

    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    4 cups regular oats, uncooked

    1 cup wheat germ

    1 cup almonds

    1 cup sunflower seeds

    1/2 cup bran cereal

    1 cup raisins (optional)

    Combine oil, honey and vanilla; blend well, and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients except raisins in a large bowl; add oil mixture, mixing well.

    Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spread granola on a large baking sheet; bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Stir in raisins, if desired. Store in airtight containers.

Santa Claus is not the only one who makes a list and checks it twice. For me, there is a list for gift giving, most of which will come out of my kitchen.

Making something from the kitchen requires fitting the gift to the personality of the recipient. There are friends who love to nibble, there are friends who love to entertain, and there are friends who just want something extra to make their meal complete.

Think that sounds easy? Picture the friend for whom you've made something special, and you find she has changed her eating habits. Now what you thought she liked is something of the past. She might then assure you that the gift won't be given to the dogs.

At any rate, I try to wrap up treats from the kitchen and these recipes make wonderful gifts from the heart.

Port Royal resident Ervena Faulkner is a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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