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Hudson - Litchfield News December 10, 2010 - 11

Gift List Cheat Sheet: Ideas for Personalized Gift Baskets

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 6 tablespoons

malt powder 1 teaspoon

vanilla extract 3 packets Star-

Directions: Finely chop

Does it seem like your gift list gets longer every

year? Even for the most creative gift-giver, coming up with unique and meaningful gifts for family, friends, coworkers and hosts can quickly drain your reservoir of gift ideas. Personalized, homemade gifts – and an early start – will result in memorable gifts for your entire list this holiday season. Creating a gift basket with homemade goodies and corresponding recipes to match the entertaining personality or holiday palate of the recipient will be a sure success, and may create new holiday traditions for years to come. Here are some ideas to get you started: * For those who like their coffee with a little

extra personality, consider combining spices, Starbucks VIA(R) Ready Brew Italian Roast coffee and tumbler glasses with a serving pitcher and the following recipe:

Spiced Coffee Liqueur Ingredients: 2 cups hot water 4 packets Starbucks VIA Italian Roast 3 cups sugar 2 cups vodka 1 vanilla bean 2 whole cloves 2 cinnamon sticks 1 bay leaf 20 whole coriander seeds

Directions: Dissolve coffee and sugar in hot water. Add

vodka. Split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape and add beans and pod to liqueur. Break cinnamon stick into pieces and add. Stir cloves, bay leaf and coriander into liqueur. Do not crush cloves or coriander. Chill for two weeks and allow spices to infuse into liqueur. Strain and serve by shak- ing equal parts coffee liqueur and milk with ice. Keeps well, refrigerated, for one month. * Looking for a hostess gift sure to please? Con- sider bringing all the fixings for dessert—including ingredients for fresh, homemade hot fudge. Com- bine a gallon of vanilla ice cream and holiday cups or bowls with the ingredients below, festively displayed in a clear glass jar from which the finished hot fudge can be served. Once the fudge sauce is simmering on the stove, you’ll have the host, and all the guests, happily awaiting dessert.

Mocha Malted Hot Fudge Sauce Ingredients:

1/4 cup cocoa powder 1/2 cup sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup whole milk 1 cup heavy cream 1 cup light corn syrup 1/8 teaspoon cider vinegar 3 ounces semisweet chocolate

chocolate and set aside. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together cocoa, sugar, salt and milk until mixture forms a smooth paste. Place over medium heat and stir in the cream,

corn syrup, vinegar and 2/3 of the chocolate. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking or stirring fre- quently. Boil, whisking frequently, until the sauce reaches 220° to 225°F on a candy thermometer, about eight minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, malt, vanilla, coffee and the remaining chocolate until the sauce is smooth. Strain and set aside for a few minutes before serving. If not using right away, chill sauce in airtight container. Re-warm before serving. Keeps well, chilled, for three weeks. * What dessert lover wouldn’t adore personal- ized baking supplies, perhaps a baking pan with his or her name etched on the side so it’s not lost at parties, and a new recipe to wow guests? Adding the below recipe and ingredients to fes- tive baking supplies makes a sweet holiday gift indeed—just don’t forget a candy thermometer.

Coffee Toffee with Milk Chocolate and Pretzels Ingredients: 2 cups sugar 1/2 cup water 1/8 cup corn syrup 8 ounces unsalted butter 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup almond slivers 1 cup chopped pretzels 2 packets Starbucks VIA Italian Roast 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup chocolate (milk chocolate is preferred) Directions: Bring

sugar, water,

and corn syrup to a boil. Stir in the butter when tem- perature reaches 280°F.

When tem- perature reaches 315°F, stir in the salt, almonds and 1/2 cup pret- zels. Cook the mix- ture until it reaches 320°F. Remove from heat and stir in

Flowers On the Hill

The Thomas Kinkade Santaʼs Workshop Bouquet

bucks VIA Ready Brew Italian Roast

the coffee and vanilla. Immediately pour the toffee into greased pan. Let toffee cool for 15 minutes and sprinkle on finely chopped chocolate and spread to evenly cover the surface. Sprinkle on remaining 1/2 cup pretzels and gently press. Break toffee into squares and store in airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature. * Know someone who is always looking to spice up holiday parties with new appetizers? Consider presenting them with everything they need to make homemade jerky. Start out your gift with a cutting board, sharp knives and a large mixing bowl. Then add the following ingredients, or a gift card to a nearby grocery store or butcher shop, and recipe:

Black Pepper Beef Jerky Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups root beer 1 cup water 2 packets Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Italian Roast 3 teaspoons salt 2 tablespoons black pepper,


2 pounds beef round steak Directions: In a large bowl, combine root

beer, water, coffee, salt and the cracked black peppercorns. Trim the meat of any fat and then slice into 1/4 inch thick slices, either with or against the grain. Add the beef to the marinade, a few slices at a time, stirring well to coat each slice with the marinade. Cover and refriger- ate for six to eight hours. Preheat oven to 200°F. Set wire racks on rimmed bak- ing sheets. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Ar- range the beef on the racks, leaving 1/4 inch be- tween slices.

290 Derry Road • Hudson Village Shops

Season’s Greetings Season’s Greetings

Sprinkle with additional coarsely ground black pepper. Bake for about one hour and 45 minutes until the jerky is firm and almost completely dry, but still chewy. Thicker slices may need to stay in the oven for an additional 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely on the racks before serving. Store jerky in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Duplicate these gift ideas as frequently as you need for delicious holiday gifts. And be sure to keep an extra recipe or two around for your family to enjoy as well.

- ARA Content

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Great Gift Baskets & Gifts for

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the Barn! Inside

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