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Easy Recipes for Holiday Gift Giving

Are you exhausted just thinking of what to buy for people for the holidays? Trying to decide will drain you of the holiday spirit trying to make everyone happy with your gift. Worry no longer, we have the perfect answer for you! Our favorite recipes for Banana Bread, Fudge and two cookie recipes will solve your dilemma, so you can enjoy the holidays. Now you can create personalized baked gifts. Take them to the party instead of wine too! Everybody loves dessert.

Banana Bread – Banana bread is an all time favorite our house. Relatives and friends look for the sweet package to arrive every year. Preheat your oven at 350F. Cream your room temperature butter and sugar then add vanilla and eggs and mix thoroughly. Add milk and mashed bananas and mix. Mix in salt, baking soda. Finally add flour and nuts – mix completely. Butter all sides and bottom of loaf pans. If using large bread pan, you will need one. Smaller pans – you may need three. Fill pans ¾ full leaving room for the loaves to rise in the oven. Sprinkle tops of batter once in pans with raw coarse sugar. Bake in 350F oven. Small pans usually bake up at 45 – 50 minutes. Large pans will need 60 – 70 minutes. BAKING TIMES WILL VARY by oven and by altitude. Test at 10 minutes before end of baking expected time by slipping in a knife into the center of the loaf. If the knife comes out clean, the baking is done.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup – butter softened to room temperature
  • 2 – eggs beaten
  • 5 or 6 – ripe bananas mashed – for added moisture
  • ¼ cup – milk
  • 1 ¼ cups – sugar
  • 1 teaspoon – vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon – salt
  • ½ teaspoon – baking soda
  • 2 cups – all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup – pecans or walnuts (children love the bread but without the nuts)

Best Fudge Recipe – This fudge recipe has been made for countless years in my family. Every chocolate lover has complemented my grandmother and then mother as the best fudge ever. The fudge was rationed out during the holidays with many open hands. It was found originally on the side of the Marshmallow Fluff package years ago but was changed up a bit on their packaging. If you are a lover of chocolate fudge, you won’t be disappointed.

The fudge recipe takes patience and a little muscle to stir in the end. Stirring constantly is the key to success. I will say that again… stirring constantly is the key to success. Start with assembling all your necessary ingredients and have them all measured out and ready to pour into the pot on time. Choose a 9×13” rimmed pan and grease with butter to keep the fudge from sticking. You can skip the greasing if you like by lining the pan horizontally and vertically with parchment paper. Next get out a large heavy saucepan. Combine sugar, room temperature butter and evaporated milk into the pan, warm over medium heat STIRRING CONSTANTLY to dissolve sugar. Bring mixture to a full boil and boil for 5 minutes, STIRRING CONSTANTLY. Remove from heat and quickly add in chocolate chips, stirring until melted. Next (this is where the muscle comes in) put the marshmallow fluff, nuts and vanilla extract and combine until completely mixed. (time is crucial to get this accomplished) When blended pour into 9 x 13” pan, spread and smooth. Let cool to room temperature before cutting into squares. Chocolate lovers will applaud you.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup – butter (salted)
  • 3 cups – white sugar
  • 2/3 cup – evaporated milk
  • 2 cups – semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 7 oz. jar – Marshmallow Fluff (may substitute marshmallow cream from other brand)
  • 1/2 cup – pecans or walnuts (kids don’t like the nuts – you will just have to make a batch for them too)

Chocolate Chip Cookies – I don’t know anyone that would turn down a homemade recipe for chocolate chip cookies. They make a great snack and a great present packed into a holiday tin. Here is what you need to do. Get a couple of cookie sheets out. If they are non-stick no need to line. If not line them with parchment paper. Get out your cooling rack or a large platter.  Preheat your oven to 375F. In a large bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and put aside. Cream butter and two sugars until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix together. Add dry ingredients from separate bowl into wet mixture. Add chocolate chips and mix until even. Using approximately 3 tablespoons of dough roll into balls and place on cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven on middle rack for approximately 8-10 minutes. They are ready when they are JUST BARELY starting to turn brown. Let them sit on pan for a couple of minutes and place on cooling rack for best results. These packed in a holiday tin will save you money and time on trying to figure out who to give what to. Your family will thank you. Your friends will ask for the recipe. Enjoy!

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup – salted butter softened
  • 1 cup – white granulated sugar
  • 3 cups – all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup – light brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 – large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons – vanilla extract (pure is better than artificial)
  • 1 teaspoon – baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon – baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon – sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 cups – chocolate chips

Nana’s Ginger Cookies – Since Ginger Spice and Pumpkin Spice took over the flavorings of the seasons the last 10 years or so, I dug out my Nana’s Ginger Cookies to share. They were my favorite of favorites and I couldn’t wait until the holidays came around to get some. You will need a couple of cookie sheets. Non-stick coated if you have or just line with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350F. Whisk baking soda, salt and flour together to mix. In separate large bowl beat butter until it is creamy gradually adding white sugar. Add to creamed butter the egg, molasses, ground ginger, fresh ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves and blend. Add flour dry mixture to wet mixture slowly on low speed. Place raw sugar in small bowl. Measure out 1 tablespoon of dough roll into ball and put into bowl of raw sugar to coat all sides. Place on baking sheets. Repeat spacing cookies about 2 inches apart for the rest of the dough. Bake about 15 minutes at 350F until surface of the cookie cracks. Edges should be firm but centers will be slightly soft. Cool on cooling racks or platters. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup – unsalted butter set until room temperature (1-1/2-sticks)
  • 2 teaspoons – baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon – salt
  • 2 ½ cups – all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup – sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 ½ teaspoons – finely grated fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons – ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon – ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon – ground cloves
  • 1 large egg – room temperature
  • 1/3 cup – raw sugar (more granular than regular sugar) to roll in before baking

Banana bread, Fudge, Chocolate chip cookies and Ginger Spice cookies are our favorites to share during the holidays. Let’s hope these recipes save you time and money from your holidays so you can get down to what matters. Enjoying good times with family and friends. Enjoy!