DIY Holiday Gifts
DIY Holiday Gifts

Do-it-yourself edible gifts are an easy way to save time and money during the holidays. They also make thoughtful and unique presents that can be easily crafted with the help of a few simple ingredients and supplies. Mason or mini cookie jars, small baskets and cellophane bags make perfect vessels for these homemade treats that will leave a lasting impression. Dress them up with holiday bows, ribbon and decorative accents for a festive finishing touch.

Cranberry, Lemon & Pistachio Shortbread Dipped in White Chocolate
In large bowl, place 1 cup each softened unsalted butter and powdered sugar and beat with mixer on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 egg white, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; mix 1 to 2 minutes until incorporated. On low speed, add 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt; mix 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon zest, 1/2 cup each coarsely chopped pistachios and coarsely chopped dried cranberries; mix well.

Dust work surface with flour; form dough into 12 inch long x 2 inch diameter log. Wrap dough with plastic wrap; place on cookie sheet; refrigerate at least 1 hour up to 1 day. Slice dough into 24 (1/2-inch thick) slices. On 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, place cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350°F for 18 to 20 minutes or until edges feel firm. Let cool 30 minutes.

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In microwave safe bowl, melt 8 ounces white chocolate, cooking in 10 second increments, stirring until melted and smooth. Dip shortbread cookie half way into melted white chocolate. Sprinkle white chocolate dipped half of cookie with 1 cup finely chopped pistachios or holiday sprinkles. Repeat until all cookies are dipped and sprinkled. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Store in airtight container, in cool area up to 5 days.

Pomegranate Cosmo
In cocktail shaker or jar, add crushed ice, 1/2 cup Pomegranate Liqueur, 1/2 cup Cointreau and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Cover and shake to combine. Run lime around rim of martini glass and dip rim in granulated sugar; strain Pomegranate Cosmo into martini glass.

For Pomegranate Liqueur:
In small saucepan, combine 1 cup each granulated sugar and water; heat to simmering over medium-high heat. Simmer 3 minutes or until mixture is clear; do not stir. Remove from heat; cool.

In food processor with knife blade attached, pulse 1-1/2 cups pomegranate arils to coarsely chop; transfer to medium bowl. Stir in 1-1/2 cups vodka and sugar mixture. Makes about 4 cups.

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Pour vodka mixture into 32-ounce jar; secure with lid. Let stand 3 weeks in cool, dark place, shaking every other day.

Strain liqueur through fine-mesh strainer into bowl; discard solids. Cover and refrigerate up to 6 months.

Gingerbread Granola
In large bowl, combine 4-1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats, 1-1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup raw and unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), 1 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.

In separate bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup each canola oil and water, 2 tablespoons each real maple syrup and molasses and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredient mixture over oat mixture; stir.

Spread granola on parchment lined, 12 x 17 inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 325°F for 55 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes. Stir; bake another 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet approximately 1 hour. Store in airtight container up to 1 month. Makes 9 cups.

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