During the holidays, I admire those who take the time to bake gifts for friends and family. This year consider giving a festive gift box of rum pecan puffs. In addition, decorate a basket with pretty bows or season-inspired embellishments; add your homemade-spiced apple bread. Bake up some thoughtful and lovely gifts to show your appreciation or love this holiday season.
Make Ahead Baked Goods You Can Freeze
Not only do these recipes make wonderful food gifts — you can make them both ahead of time and pop them in the freezer. This is a real time saver. Put aside a Saturday or Sunday and get your baked gifts out of the way before the holiday rush is on.
Invite your friends over for a baking party. Make a fun day of it. Put on some holiday music to set the mood. Each person can bring an appetizer to share. Everyone gets their gift baking done together in a spirited atmosphere. By the way, these two recipes take only 15 and 20 minutes to prepare.
Rum Pecan Puffs
What You Will Need – Makes About 22 Cookies
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
2/3 cup pecans
1 cup sifted flour
Extra confectioners sugar to coat rum puffs (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a mixing bowl, cream butter with ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar until light. Add rum and stir in gently. Using a blender or processor, grind the pecans. Add pecans and flour to the butter mixture. Stir until blended.
Shape dough into 1″ balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 18 minutes until puffs are firm. While the puffs are still warm, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Let stand for 30 – 45 minutes before placing in bags or lock boxes to freeze.
Note: My mom use to keep the puffs in the freezer for a few months. However, I have never left them in the freezer more than a week so I cannot personally attest to the long freezer life.
Spiced Apple Bread
What You Will Need – Makes 15 – 20 Slices
½ cup butter or margarine
¾ cup sugar
5 tablespoons apple cider (or apple juice)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups apples (cored, peeled, chopped coarsely)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add butter and sugar to a mixing bowl and cream until fluffed. Beat in eggs. Add apple cider/juice. Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix into butter mixture a bit at a time. Stir in apples. Transfer batter to a greased a 1 ½-quart bread or loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Snuggly wrap the loaf in foil to freeze.
Note: Spiced apple bread is terrific when heated for 20 seconds in the microwave. It is also extra yummy with a light layer of cream cheese or apricot preserve.