Tis the season for making treats. I know many of you stress over what to make for all the folks in your life but I find this part of the season most enjoyable. I think all gifts should be consumables.:)
I have done something different each year and this year I opted for homemade granola, icebox shortbread cookies and the real special folks in our lives (This year we were introduced to preschool teachers…God bless them!) got a batch of raisin scones. The scones are super easy to make and people love them.
Cherry, Almond and Cinnamon Granola
Recipe Courtesy Of: Ina Garten
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
- 2 cups sliced almonds
- 1 1/2 cups dried cherries, chopped
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup good honey
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Toss the oats, coconut, almonds, and cherries together in a large bowl. Pour the vegetable oil and honey over the oat mixture. Add the cinnamon, and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated with the liquids. Pour onto a sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.
Note: This recipe yields about 10 cups.
Icebox Shortbread Cookies
Recipe Courtesy Of: Everyday Food Magazine
For the shortbread:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
Flavor Variations (Optional Mix-Ins And Coatings):
- Mix in grated zest of 2 oranges and 1/2 cup dried cherries
- Mix in grated zest of 2 lemons; coat with 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- Mix in grated zest of 2 limes; coat with 1/4 cup cornmeal
- Mix in 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots; coat with 1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios
- Mix in 1/2 cup mini chocolate or peanut-butter chips
- Mix in 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger; coat with 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add flour, mixing just until a dough forms. Stir in desired mix-ins.
- Divide dough in half; place each half on a piece of floured waxed or parchment paper. With floured hands, gently roll each into a 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Dividing evenly, sprinkle logs with desired coating if using, rolling log (to help coating adhere) and pressing in gently. Wrap logs tightly in the paper, and refrigerate until firm, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (To store longer, wrap log and paper tightly with plastic wrap.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap logs; with a serrated knife, slice dough 3/8 inch thick (if dough crumbles, leave at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes). Arrange slices, about 1 inch apart, on baking sheets.
- Bake until lightly golden around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Note: I chose the dried cherries and orange zest combination. Also, having a Silpat for these cookies really help. Leave it to the French to have such an ingenious idea!