If you are in any way like me, you´re probably buying your Christmas presents on the 24th. If I don´t have an idea right away it just takes me forever to come up with something good for a present. Procrastinators unite! Besides, Christmas always happens so suddenly. Who has time to prepare??
This year I am kind of proud of myself. I at least have ideas for everyone. And most of these ideas come out of my kitchen. I think homemade presents are the best and I found a couple recipes that I think are just great. So for anyone who is still searching for the perfect Christmas gift: Here are three cool and easy things you could make for your loved ones.
The first one includes alcohol. Vodka to be exact. I am more of a tequila person but I just had to try this recipe. Pomegranate-vanilla-vodka. Sounds good right? It´s really easy to make, you just have to be patient because the vodka needs to be stored in a cool place for about 2 weeks, so the sugar can dissolve properly. Well…you still got a week until Christmas eve…you might make it.
2 – 3 pomegranates
1 vanilla bean
300 g white candied sugar
700 ml (1 bottle) Vodka
1) Cut the pomegranates into halves. Take out 2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds and squeeze the rest of the pomegranate (makes about 200 ml of pomegranate juice). Cut the vanilla bean into halves and take out the core.
2) In a big bottle or preserving jar mix vodka, pomegranate juice and seeds, candied sugar, vanilla bean and the core. Now it has to rest for about 2 weeks until the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally.
3) Fill the finished vodka into small bottles (leave a little space). Add some pomegranate seeds and seal well. The vodka stays well for a couple of weeks if stored in a cool place.
The next recipe is for homemade chocolate candies. I made this recipe a couple of years ago as a present. Originally I wasn´t impressed with the ingredients itself, but the combination of nougat, chocolate, pine nuts and dried fruit is delicious.
Makes about 60 pieces:
350 g nougat
150 g dark chocolate
1 tbsp. freshly brewed espresso
50 g pine nuts
150 g dried fruits (for example apricots)
200 g dark couverture
2) Roast pine nuts in a pan without oil and cut dried fruits into little pieces. Fill a flat form with parchment paper. Mix melted chocolate with the nuts and dried fruits and spread the mass in the flat form. Let cool completely until the mass is hard, preferably in the fridge. This takes about 2 hours.
3) Chop the couverture and melt in a hot water bath. Take the nougat mass out of the form and cut into little slices. Take each candy, dip into the melted couverture until it is covered completely and place on another parchment paper to cool.
It´s best to store the candies in the fridge or at a cool place.
Now for the best part. Homemade Nutella. Whaaaat? You can make Nutella yourself? I know, I was ecstatic when I found out. Recipe can be found here.
120 g chopped hazelnuts (preferably without skin)
340 g milk chocolate
3-4 tablespoons coconut oil (use more oil if you’re making during colder months, to keep from becoming too solid)
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
4. Grind the hazelnuts and oil in a food processor until they form a paste. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and process until the mixture is smooth. Finally, add the melted chocolate and process until it’s thoroughly blended.
5. The homemade Nutella will be a little runny but it will thicken as it cools. Use a spatula to transfer it into a jar and wait until it cools to room temperature to seal the jar. The spread will keep at room temperature for a few months.
Makes 2 cups. Tastes incredible. Not exactly like the original. Tastes more like hazelnuts. But spread on good bread or warm croissant…yumm!!
You can´t do wrong if you show up on Christmas Eve with any of these presents. Who doesn´t love anything homemade? Especially if it tastes that great. Homemade chocolate bars also make a great gift.