Tuesday, December 16, 2008


today i made a bunch of handmade holiday gifts. first, i spent 2 1/2 hours at my new favorite craft store spacecraft sewing a stuffed teddy bear for my nephew moses, who turns one on christmas eve.

later, i picked up a bunch of mason jars and went home to make some edible gifts thanks to recipes found in new york mag. i made a holiday fruit compote and sugar & spiced nuts.

holiday fruit compote by tom valenti

2 1/2 cups dry white wine
2/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground allspice
Pinch salt and black pepper
6 cups assorted dried fruits (cranberries, currants, prunes, or apricots); dice larger fruits
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes, tossed with the lemon juice

Pour wine, vinegar, corn syrup, orange juice, zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, pepper, and salt into a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then taste. It should have some sweetness but be high in acid and spice. Add fruit and cook over low-to-medium heat for 40 minutes; stir to prevent scorching. Transfer to a cookie sheet and allow to cool. Place in a jar with a tight lid and chill. Because of the white wine and vinegar, this will keep for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 quarts.

Sugar-and-Spice Candied Nuts by elizabeth carmel

1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound walnut or pecan halves or whole peeled hazelnuts
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add walnuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

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