Are you looking for a great way to spend less time in the mall, and more time in the comfort of your own kitchen this holiday season? If so, you need look no further. The homemade recipes listed here make festive and personal gifts for all of your friends and neighbors. Part of the pleasure of receiving the gift is in the presentation, so use your imagination when wrapping. Items like unique jars and bottles, decorative Chinese food takeout boxes, or ornate bags all provide a perfect package. Be sure and add a few embellishments like raffia and ribbon to complete your holiday gift.

McKinney Online - Limoncello

Limoncello

• 8-10 large lemons
• 1 bottle of vodka (750ml)
• 3½ cups of water
• 2½ cups sugar

Peel skin off lemons, but only the top yellow layer, avoid the white pith or your drink will be bitter. In a large glass jar, pour vodka over the lemon peels and leave covered for 3-4 weeks at room temperature (70°). In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add sugar. Cook, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let syrup cool to room temperature and add to the vodka mixture. Allow mixture to sit another 3-4 weeks covered at room temperature. Pour Limoncello through cheesecloth before dividing into gift bottles. Refrigerate or keep in freezer.

 
McKinney Online - Cranberry / Apricot Granola

Cranberry / Apricot Granola

• ½ cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup molasses
• ¼ cup honey
• ¼ cup orange juice
• 3 Tbsp. oil or butter
• 1 Tbsp. orange zest
• 2 tsp. cinnamon
• 3 cups old fashioned oats
• ½ cup pecans
• ½ cup almonds
• ½ cup shredded coconut
• ½ cup bran buds
• ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
• 1/8 cup flax seeds
• ½ cup dried cranberries
• ½ cup dried chopped apricots

Combine first seven ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly to make into a syrup. Preheat oven to 325°. In a separate bowl, combine next seven ingredients. Drizzle syrup over top and stir thoroughly. Place on a cookie sheet (cooking spray or parchment paper will prevent sticking) and bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool and add fruit. Place mixture in an airtight container until ready to divide into gift bags. Keep in a cool, dry place for up to one month.

 
McKinney Online - Chocolate / Cranberry / Pistachio Bark

Chocolate / Cranberry / Pistachio Bark

• 1 cup roughly chopped pistachios (almonds may be used)
• 2 pounds chopped semi-sweet chocolate (white or dark chocolate)
• 1 cup diced dried cranberries
• 3-4 Tbsp. diced candy ginger

Heat oven to 325°. Toast nuts for 15 minutes on a baking sheet. Cool to room temperature and roughly chop. Place chocolate in a metal mixing bowl. In a saucepan slightly smaller than a metal bowl the chocolate is in, bring 4 to 6 inches of water to a boil. Remove from heat and place metal bowl over the water. Stir the chocolate with a spatula until all the chocolate is melted. Set 1/4 cup chopped nuts and 1/4 cup cranberries aside. Stir remaining nuts, cranberries and ginger in bowl of chocolate. Pour mixture onto a cookie tray lined with wax paper. Spread thin with a spatula. Sprinkle reserved nuts and cranberries on top. Refrigerate until set. Break into pieces before filling containers.

 
McKinney Online - Cranberry Tea Concentrate

Cranberry Tea Concentrate

• 2 cups boiling water
• 1 tsp. whole cloves
• 5 cinnamon sticks
• 6 tea bags
• 1 can (12 oz.) frozen cranberry juice concentrate
• 1 can (12 oz.) frozen apple juice concentrate
• 1 can (6 oz.) frozen orange juice concentrate
• 1 cup lemon juice
• 1 cup honey

Steep first four ingredients together for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and add the remaining ingredients. Pour into gift bottles and refrigerate until ready to gift. Note: remember to include serving suggestions for the recipient. “To serve, use one part concentrate to three parts boiling water for a warm holiday tea.” Concentrate will last refrigerated for up to two months.

 
McKinney Online - Irish Cream

Irish Cream

• 1¾ cups Irish whiskey
• 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
• 1 Tbsp. instant coffee or espresso powder
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• ½ tsp. almond extract

In a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Store in a refrigerator up to one month. Shake before serving.