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Edible Gifts

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Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that you make yourself! Whip up a batch of something sweet or savory to give to your family and friends. Get creative by using interesting cookie cutters or digging up an old family recipe. Find fun ways to wrap your gift. Your gift will be an original and fully unique one-of-a-kind, just like you!

Recipes and tips

Twice-baked cookies

These cookies are not quite biscotti and not quite mandel bread, but a crumbly cross between the two meant to be dunked in milk, cocoa or coffee. The process of baking the cookies twice dries them out on purpose to give them a firm texture.

Ingredients

•3 eggs

•¾ cup white sugar

•2 teaspoons vanilla

•¾ cup vegetable oil

•3½ cups all-purpose flour

•2 teaspoons baking powder

•¼ teaspoon cinnamon

•½ cup almond slivers

•¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped

•2 tablespoons white sugar

•½ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Combine eggs and sugar in medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and oil. Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into wet mixture. Stir with wooden spoon until combined. Once combine and dough is formed, gently stir in almonds and cranberries. Be careful to avoid breaking nuts.

Separate dough into two equal portions. Shape each dough portion into a rectangle about 1 inch thick and 5 inches by 10 inches. Place each apart from the other on an ungreased baking sheet. Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle rectangles with sugar.

Measuring with the ruler, score marks one inch apart diagonally to create guides for cutting cookies after baking across dough rectangles.

Place baking sheets in oven for 20 minutes until cookies are golden. Gently touch cookie; it should be firm to the touch. If firm, remove cookies from oven. Using a large spatula, an adult should move cookie rectangle from baking sheet to cutting board. An adult should carefully slice through score marks. After slicing, place cookies, cut side down, back on warm baking sheet. Bake cookies until they are golden and toasted, up to 10 minutes depending on your oven.

Dry rub mix

Make custom labels by drawing them or using your computer. Include recipe cards or copies of your favorite recipes.

Makes 1¼ cups. (This will season 5-7 pounds of meat.)

Ingredients

•¼ cup coarse salt

•¼ cup brown sugar

•¼ cup paprika

•2 tablespoons black pepper

•2 tablespoons onion powder

•2 tablespoons garlic powder

•1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

Mix together in a bowl. Scoop into small airtight glass containers. Add a label that says: Rub entire area of meat with spice mix and cook or grill.

Hint: Fill your spice jars or bottles over a piece of clean paper. Gently fold the paper and and use it to funnel your spices into the jars.

Food safety tips

•Don’t give the gift of germs! First, get your kitchen squeaky clean. Wipe the counters and sink with a bleach or vinegar solution, or use a cleaning product that kills germs.

•More tips to keep your kitchen clean: wash your hands often, tie your hair back, and make the kitchen a no-pet zone. If you put a spoon in your mouth, make sure to grab a new one and put the dirty one in the sink or dishwasher.

Gift hacks

In the season of giving, give back to the planet by reducing, reusing and recycling. Try these smart swaps to turn trash into holiday treasure:

•Cut up some old scrap paper or cereal boxes. Voila! Now you have gift tags.

•Use grocery bags or newspaper to wrap gifts. This neutral-toned wrapping looks great with bright-colored ribbon. If you're exchanging gifts with your immediate family (and you're sure nobody will peek at their presents early!), try wrapping gifts with pillowcases that can be washed afterward.

•Turn bottles, cans and cardboard boxes into homemade decorations.

•Make fun collages from magazine clippings and use them as original greeting cards.

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