Arrow-right Camera


Fresh Sheet

There’s still time for a homemade gift

This is my holiday confession: I have not started making my annual gifts.

Oh, I have excuses. It’s been a busy season already, but one of my seasonal joys is making jams, cookies, mini loaves and candy to give to the people in my life. I’ve toiled away painting edible glitter on tiny chocolate turtles, made homemade marshmallows to include with from-scratch hot chocolate mix and raced around town gathering just the right bottles for homemade coffee liqueur. I don’t have time for that this year. Instead, I thought about some of the things that I’ve made in the past that have been well received. Here are three recipes that will take a little work but they come from the heart.

Orange-Cardamom Marmalade: If, like me, planning ahead is not always a strong suit … citrus is a great ingredient in the winter. The recipe appeared in a book by award-winning author Diane Morgan, “Gifts Cooks Love” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010). This marmalade is beautiful in the jar and delicious. The bright citrus flavor, with just a hint of cardamom, is not something you can find on most store shelves.

Nutella Biscotti with Hazelnuts and Chocolate: “The Art and Soul of Baking” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008) is an award-winning cookbook written by pastry chef and teacher Cindy Mushet. Buried inside the beautiful book is a recipe for Cappuccino Biscotti with Hazelnuts and Chocolate. That recipe was a winner, but this year I’m making this variation listed at the end of the recipe for Nutella lovers.

Cranberry Turtle Bars: This cookie has all of the delicious ingredients of a turtle, without the painstaking work of making individual candies. The bars are topped with a gorgeous cranberry caramel and the 2001 recipe makes 3 dozen bars. It appeared in “The Gourmet Cookie Book,” where the editors of the former magazine compiled the best cookie recipes from each year it was printed, 1941-2009. It also appears on

The recipes are posted on my blog at blogs/too-many-cooks.