Thanks to Grandma's old fashioned Christmas gift recipes, you can make affordable, homemade edible gifts that not only look tempting and attractive, but they taste even better.
Imagine giving someone a colorful tin of delicious Scottish shortbread rounds, or a box of creamy fondant candies, or maybe some old fashioned gingerbread cookies. It's fun to give edible Christmas gifts with your personal touch.
Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)
One pound flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/2 pound butter, 1/4 pound fruit sugar, 2 teaspoons finely shredded candied orange peel. Mix and beat well together the butter and sugar, add flour gradually, and salt, then orange peel.
Knead well with the hands. Mold into rounds, 1 inch in thickness, and bake in a moderate oven until a golden brown, and well cooked. Decorate with mistletoe and holly by means of white of egg.
Wash 2 cups dried apricots and boil in sufficient water to cover until tender, yet firm (about 15 minutes). Put into a colander or wire strainer to drain.
Combine 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar and bring to a boil. Add the apricots and cook to 218ºF as registered on a candy thermometer, when the syrup sheets off the spoon like jelly. Skim out the fruit and place it upon a rack to drain and dry.
If a rack is not available, stick a toothpick into each piece of fruit and place other end of toothpick into hole of inverted wire strainer. Sprinkle with sugar after drying, or roll in sugar when partly dried.
These apricots are delicious, and their preparation is extremely simple using this old fashioned Christmas gift recipe. They can be presented in crinkled paper cups of red, yellow, blue, white, brown, and pink design. All placed in a copper bowl which gleams in the light of a Christmas candle.
Beat 2 cups molasses and 1 cup softened butter in a bowl until well blended. Add 1 cup sour milk. Next stir in 1/4 cup hot water in which 1 level dessertspoon soda has been dissolved.
Add the grated rind of a lemon, a level dessertspoon of ground cloves, ginger to taste, and enough flour to make a stiff dough.
Roll out and cut into shapes of animals. Sometimes tin cutters for this can be bought. Bake and frost with pink or white frosting.
Two cups granulated sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 cup water. Put sugar and cream of tartar into a perfectly smooth saucepan. Stir well and add water. Stir until well mixed and let stand a few minutes until the sugar melts.
Put over a low fire and bring slowly to the boiling point. Watch carefully that sugar does not burn on the bottom of the pan.
Have a pan of cold water close to the pan of syrup. As crystals form on the sides of the pan wipe them off with a piece of cloth dipped in the pan of cold water. Dip frequently into the pan of cold water and swab a few crystals at a time. Continue this until the sides are clear.
Cover and let boil rapidly for two minutes.
Remove cover and swab off crystals.
Boil uncovered, until a few drops tried in a saucer of cold water form a soft ball when picked up with fingers. Remove instantly from the fire and put the pan into a larger pan of cold water.
Let stand until cool and beat with a wooden spoon until creamy. When too stiff to stir, turn onto a large platter and knead until soft.
Put into an oiled bowl, cover tightly and let stand twenty-four hours. Then, flavor and use as wanted.
Flavor and color fondant as liked (see Christmas fondant recipe above), and drop into mint shapes, on heavy paraffin paper placed on a board.
When firm, arrange in pairs, one row bottom side up and the other row top side up.
On the lower mint press with bag and tube a small circle of bitter chocolate melted over hot water and made a little heavier by the addition of a small amount of confectioners' sugar.
Quickly place the top mint in position over the bottom one, pressing it slightly to show rim of chocolate between the two mints.
The popular fondant flavors are: Wintergreen, colored pink; peppermint, uncolored; lime, colored green; orange, colored yellow or orange; and cassia or cinnamon, deep red.
Icing may be substituted for chocolate.
Chocolate mints are put together with marshmallow paste, which if too soft to go through the bag and tube, is made firm enough by adding confectioners' sugar, and if too stiff may be thinned with simple syrup.
The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1916)
1 lb flour, 1/2 lb butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, molasses.
Mix flour, sugar, ginger, and salt. Work in butter, using tips of fingers, and add just enough molasses to hold ingredients together. Let stand overnight to get thoroughly chilled.
Roll very thin, shape, and bake in a moderate oven.
In The Book of Household Management by British cookery author Isabella Beeton, published in 1861, Mrs. Beeton writes:
"It appears to have been the custom formerly, in England, to make New Year's presents with oranges stuck full with cloves. We read in one of Ben Jonson's pieces, The Christmas Masque: 'He has an orange and rosemary, but not a clove to stick in it.'"
It's the season for giving. Why not continue in the old Christmas tradition by making edible gifts for your loved ones? When it's homemade, it's special.
This year, do something completely different and make edible presents for giving. Imagine the delight when it's discovered that you made the tasty goodies yourself.
Above are several ideas for popular Christmas gifts you could make for that special person on your list.
Edible gifts are perfect for friends and family who lack either the skill or time to make such things for themselves — boxes of delicious homemade Christmas cookies and candies, a fruitcake baked in a cookie tin, candied apricots wrapped in colorful cellophane, and old time gingerbread men for the children.
Give a special gift from the heart this Christmas. Use Grandma's old fashioned Christmas gift recipes to make tasty, old time treats for your loved ones. It's the one affordable gift that's ALWAYS appreciated.
Christmas is coming,
the geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny
in an old man's hat;
If you haven't got a penny
a ha'penny will do,
If you haven't got a ha'penny,
God bless you.