Homemade Gifts from the Kitchen

New Day Recipes
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Compliments of: Judi Strauss, The Charmed Kitchen



Sugared Nuts

  • 4 1/2 c. nuts
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. orange peel


Place all ingredients in heavy skillet and cook over medium heat stirring, often until all the water disappears. Whatever liquid in the pan will be clinging to the nuts and syrupy. Dump nuts onto 2 cookie sheets and break apart with wooden spoon to prevent clumping.

As nuts cool, stir once or twice to remove any remaining clumps and to cool faster. Nuts will lose their glossy appearance and attain a sugary crust. If it looks like nut soup, you didn’t cook them long enough, and must return all to the skillet and cook longer.

As the nuts start to get drier during cooking, you can turn down the heat a little to prevent burning. Once you’ve made a few batches, though you will get good at judging when to stop cooking.

Store in an air tight container in a cool place for up to a month and they can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Note: If you like hot/ sweet flavors you can add 1 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste, to the nuts when you start cooking.



Beer Bread Mix


  • 3 c. self rising flour or 3 c. flour, 1 T. Baking powder 1 ½ t. salt
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 can beer (12 oz.)


Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. In bowl combine mix with 12 oz. of room temperature beer. Stir until well mixed and place batter in pan. Bake about 1 hour. Brush with butter after the first 45 minutes of baking, if desired. Remove from pan and cool on a rack. Makes 1 loaf.

To dress up this recipe for gift giving, I make bags out of fabric. Place dry ingredients in a plastic bag and put that bag inside the fabric bag. I also include the baking directions. Finish with a cute label. Use a ribbon to tie shut.



Horseradish Mustard

  • 1 c. dry mustard
  • 3/4 c. white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c. dry white wine or dry sherry
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 T. dried minced onion
  • 2 t. caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. coarse ground mustard
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 T. prepared horseradish


Combine all ingredients, except eggs and horseradish in top of double boiler and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Whisk in eggs and cook over simmering water until mixture has thickened and eggs are cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in horseradish. Pour into sterilized jar, cool and cover. Store in fridge for up to 3 months. Makes 2 cups.


Seasoned Almonds


  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • Dash of cayenne
  • 4-5 c. almonds

Melt butter and toss with the seasonings. Toss in nuts until evenly coated. Place in jelly roll pan and bake in a 300 degree oven for 20 -25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Cool and store in airtight container for up to a month or can be frozen for up to 6 months.


Homemade Marshmellows

  • 1/2 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • small amount of butter
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin, or 6 sheets of gelatin*
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 2/3 c. corn syrup
  • 1/2 t. vanilla

Combine cornstarch and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Butter an 8x8x2 inch-baking pan. Sprinkle with some of the cornstarch mixture. Reserve the rest of the mixture for use later on. Combine the gelatin, granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved.** Pour gelatin mixture into a large bowl, adding the corn syrup and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 15 minutes. Be precise on the timing. The mixture will be thick and fluffy, marshmallow cream, actually.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan, spread evenly and refrigerate overnight. The next day, sift some of the reserved cornstarch mixture over the marshmallows. Sprinkle some more of the coating mixture on a work surface and turn the marshmallow out onto the prepared surface. Cut the marshmallows into 1-inch squares, coating as you go. The marshmallows are very sticky until completely coated. Allow to dry on a rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Makes about 4 dozen candies.

You can swap out flavorings- using maybe mint or lemon in place of the vanilla. You can also add a few drops of food coloring, if you like. Oh, and when you are at the rolling the pieces around in the cornstarch and powdered sugar stage of the process- don’t wear black. You’ll thank me later for that.

* Note: 3 sheets of sheet gelatin= one packet (1 tablespoon) of powdered gelatin.

** Note: If you are using sheet gelatin place it in the pan with COLD water and stir until dissolved. Then add the sugar and just cook, over medium-low heat until just warm, stirring often. Don’t let the mixture get too hot or the gelatin will not work.


Other Recipes:

**Be sure to visit Judi’s website for even more homemade holiday gifts from the kitchen!

Cranberry Bounce

Homemade Bath Salts

Bean Soup Mix

Candy Trays

Candy Ornaments

Cranberry Rosemary Vinegar

 Chocolate Truffles

Cashew Brittle

Homemade Liquors

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