Monday, August 29, 2011

Homemade Hill Country Gifts

If you are looking for creative gifts to give this holiday season, look no further than right here. Whether you need a gift for a host or hostess, gift for a holiday exchange party, or want to make something homemade and inexpensive these few ideas and recipes will get you started. For an extra special touch, make homemade hill country gifts; peach jelly, pecan tartlets, and German mulled wine all represent something special about the hill country.
To Make Peach Jelly:
4 pounds fresh or frozen peaches, chopped
5 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
teaspoon of your choice, nutmeg or cinnamon
Place all the ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat and stir the peach mixture until the sugar begins to dissolve. Allow the peaches to boil rapidly until the jam reaches the jell point on a thermometer. Allow the peaches to cool and then place the jam into jars. To seal the jars, follow the canning method of your choice. To Make Pecan Tartlets:
12 tart shells
12 oz of chopped pecans
3 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of light Karo syrup
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place your tart shells into a pan and evenly distribute the pecans into the shells filling them approximately half way. Lightly beat the sugar and eggs. Next add the Karo syrup and vanilla to the egg and sugar mixture. Pour the mixture into your tart shells leaving a little bit of space from the top. Bake tartlets for 25 to 30 minutes.
To Make German Mulled Wine:
1 bottle of red wine, something inexpensive will do
16 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks broken into 1-2 inch pieces
1 cup of water
1 orange
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
In a saucepan combine the water, cinnamon sticks, pumpkin pie spices and honey. Heat over medium heat. Quarter the orange and place 4 cloves into each orange segment. Add the orange segments and the bottle of wine to the spiced water. Heat the mulled wine over medium to low heat. Do not allow the wine to boil! Should you prefer a sweeter wine add sugar and allow the sugar to dissolve. Allow the wine to cool and place in a decorative bottle with warming instructions or serve right away to enjoy at a party.
*Recipes courtesy of Brittany Benningfield.

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