A few baking tips and food gift ideas:
-You can replace at least ˝ the fat (oil, butter, margarine, shortening) in quick bread and muffin recipes, pancakes and waffles, and dips and salad dressings with non-fat or low fat plain yogurt.
-Cheesecake is baked when it is still jiggly but not soupy. The top of the cheesecake will jiggle as a whole and the center two inches will look soft. Do not stick a knife or a toothpick in the center, as it may cause the top to crack as it cools.
-Accidents happen. If you over bake your cake/cheesecake, serve with lightly sweetened fruit puree (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry), caramel sauce or fudge sauce.
-Traveling with your baked goods:
-Keep food gifts simple. People eat with their eyes first, so the key is to have a neat and tidy presentation more than giving a huge assortment/quantity.
-Give a coupon for a cooking/baking/decorating lesson. Cooking together is fun and it encourages the trying of new foods/recipes.
-Food gifts don’t have to be sweet: homemade bread, home canned anything, homemade soup
-Food baskets with a theme: customize with the person in mind, choose a nice basket that can be re-used and wrap with festive plastic wrap and curling ribbon. Make sure to let the gift recipient know if there are perishable items in the basket. Some ideas: ethnic (Italian- pasta, spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese, the makings for garlic bread, Mexican- taco shells, salsa, fresh avocado and tomato, etc), breakfast (bacon, biscuits, fresh fruits, etc), candy/cookie. I like this gift because it introduces different food items and tastes that otherwise might not be tried or purchased.
-Include the recipe with the food gift. New recipes are always welcome.
Mix together 3 c powdered sugar, 8 T softened butter and 2 c peanut butter. Stir in 3 c crisped rice cereal. Press very firmly into a 8” or 9” foil lined pan. Melt 1˝ c chocolate chips with 3 T vegetable oil (in defrost mod: microwave 1 minute, stir, microwave 1 more minute). Spread melted chocolate on top of the peanut butter mixture. Chill for 2 hours. Remove from pan by lifting at the edges of the foil. Cut into 1” squares. Makes 25 (8” pan) to 36 (9” pan)
Questions or Comments: