DIY Christmas Presents : Eats & Treats

Merry Monday everyone! Christmas is coming quicker than I can handle, so while I shop online today, I’m also going to whip up a few homemade Christmas gifts that everyone on my list will enjoy.  I love giving and receiving edible gifts. Knowing the treats were made with love and care in someone’s kitchen makes them extra enjoyable.  If you still don’t have a present for me, here are a few suggestions 😉 liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur3-1024x889 liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur6

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Homemade Nutella

 Nuts are our ingredient of the season. You can visit our full archive of nut posts here.

When we picked nuts as our ingredient of the season, I was excited because I knew it would encourage me to try some new recipes, and this homemade nutella is the perfect example. We are a nutella-loving household, but I had never thought to make my own until now.

liveseasoned_spring2015_nutella2-1024x834 copyIf you aren’t familiar with Nutella, it’s a chocolate and hazelnut-based spread from Italy. The original recipes consisted of mostly chocolate and hazelnut, but unfortunately the main ingredients for the modern recipe are sugar and palm oil. And that’s why this is a treat worth making at home, because as you’ll see, this recipe has a solid base of hazelnuts and chocolate. Of course, it also means that making this batch will cost more than picking up a jar from your local market, particularly if you buy quality hazelnuts and choclate, but I think you’ll discover that it’s worth the price. Additionally, jars of homemade nutella make great gifts from the kitchen {in fact, if only I had thought about it sooner, this would have been the perfect treat for Easter baskets!}.

Homemade Nutella

Homemade Nutella

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Toast the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet in a 350F oven. Be sure to stir them every few minutes, and they will be done when they just start to brown and their skins blister (may take anywhere from 7-10 minutes).
  2. Once done, immediately pour the nuts onto a clean kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove the skins. It's ok if some skins remain stuck to the nuts. Let them cool completely before using.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (we like to use a pyrex measuring cup in a pot of simmering water).
  4. In a food processor, finely grind the hazelnuts until they begin to form a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla, and continue processing until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add the melted chocolate and blend well.
  5. If there are any chunks of hazelnuts, strain them out. The nutella will be thin and runny until it cools. It will keep on the counter for up to two weeks (if it lasts that long!).
http://liveseasoned.com/homemade-nutella/

It’s common to spread nutella on toast, but that doesn’t interest me. I prefer it with a banana or on a scoop of vanilla ice cream. How do you eat your nutella? Straight from the spoon?

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Pistachio and Orange Torrone

Orange is our ingredient of the season. You can find our full archive of zesty orange posts here, with everything from cocktails and cakes to candies and cleansers.

If you’re looking for a fun alternative to chocolates for Valentine’s Day, pistachio and orange torrone may be it! But I have to admit, it took me over two months to build up the courage to try making this recipe. Calder came across it in an issue of Bon Appetit while researching recipes for Thanksgiving. The ingredients were purchased, and I promised to make it for the holiday (Thanksgiving, not Valentine’s Day). Then I didn’t, and I didn’t make it for Christmas or New Year’s, but here we are and I’m finally making the sweet for my sweet!liveseasoned_w2015_torrone14-1024x775 copy

Torrone is a nougat-type treat made from honey, sugar, egg whites, and nuts, commonly almonds. The nougat comes in two varieties, either hard and brittle or soft and chewy. This recipe is for the soft and chewy variety. Torrone is a traditional Spanish treat served at Christmas, and is popular in many countries that were previously under Spanish rule, including Italy, Latin America, and the Philippines. The combination of citrus flavor and pistachios in this recipe is are characteristics of an Italian torrone.

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