The holidays are upon us. There meals to plan, gifts to buy, and flights to catch. Because I battle with the often misinterpretation of the meaning of Christmas I wanted to share with you two delicious homemade gift ideas. These are non-generic meaningful gifts made by nobody else but you. Anybody that receives them will love the fact that you took the extra step, and spent some time in the kitchen just for them.
The idea for these homemade gifts came from last years baking extravaganza. I made a hundred miniature almond cakes in jars for our wedding guest to take home as gifts. Since most of our friends and family came from places as far away as Hawaii, we wanted to make sure the gift would travel easy. The cakes were a hit. By the end of the wedding people were politely asking how many they could take home, with four or five already in their pockets.
These two treats are simple, tasty, and belly warming. Since I love ginger, I decided to use it as a theme. Both recipes are laden with fresh ginger, infused with lots of spices and tasty aromas. The cookies are spicy and nutty; the granola is crunchy, sweet and delicate. Both threats are gluten free, and could be made vegan easily. Yes, they are both healthy and nutritious, but more importantly, they are a punch full of flavor and spices. Christmas in a jar, two ways.
Ginger Buckwheat Granola, with Coconut and Cranberries
Makes about 4 cups
• 3 cups rolled gluten free oats
• 1 cup buckwheat
• 1 cup shredded coconut
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup orange juice
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 3oo degrees Fahrenheit (148C). In a large bowl, mix oats, buckwheat, coconut, and salt. Set aside. In a saucepan over low heat, combine maple syrup, orange juice and honey. Remove from heat and add vanilla and olive oil. Pour wet ingredients over dry, and mix until well coated. Transfer mixture into a large baking sheet, and evenly spread into a thin lager. Place in oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring half way. Granola is ready when the oats are golden. Remove, and sprinkle cranberries. Let cool completely.
Makes 20+ cookies
adapted from here
• 2 cups of almond flour
• 1/8 teaspoon of salt
• 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
• 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
• 1/3 cup of maple syrup
• 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter or coconut oil (melted)
• 2 inch piece of fresh ginger grated
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine dry ingredients in a clean bowl. Add maple syrup, butter (or coconut oil), and grated ginger. Mix until everything is well incorporated. With your fingers make 1 tablespoon sized balls and place in baking sheet. Since they will not spread you can keep them about 1 inch apart from each other. Press each cookie with fork or spoon to slightly flatten it. Bake for fifteen minutes. Reduce heat to 175 and cook for another 15 minutes. If you like your cookies extra crisp, turn oven off and let cookies cool in oven for another 10-15 minutes.
To assemble gift place in granola and cookies in separate jars once completely cooled. Close jars tightly. Tie with a ribbon and gift away. They should last for a week, maybe a week and a half, unrefrigerated.