I’ve been giving homemade treats as Christmas gifts for years. It’s easy to buy gift cards but taking time to make something for a friend or family member is more meaningful and always brings a big smile. Making someone homemade caramel corn or cookies or granola bars gives them something they can not buy anywhere because nothing store bought will ever taste as good as homemade.
The best homemade gifts are ones that travel well and keep well. That’s why I choose caramel corn, sugar cookies, granola bars, and biscotti. Everyone’s favorite is my caramel corn and if you’ve ever tasted this homemade caramel corn, you’ll see why – it’s absolutely fantastic!
Granola bars are the next most requested gift, again because you can’t buy a granola bar anywhere that even comes close to how good these are. Biscotti is a more exotic and unexpected gift because it takes more work to make these Italian cookies but my recipe for double chocolate almond biscotti will make a coffee lover very, very happy. They are so delicious!
Sugar cookies are not an unusual gift but my recipe uses less butter and less sugar than most and these festive holiday cookies simply melt in your mouth. Nothing store bought will ever taste as good. I can’t wait to start making all of these holiday gifts. Some will be mailed and others delivered in person. If you want to give and receive joy this Christmas, I hope you’ll consider giving some homemade treats as gifts. But be prepared: They will ask for them again next year! Click below for the recipes. – Jenny Jones
Homemade Caramel Corn
Healthier Christmas Sugar Cookies
Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Did you eat too much turkey? Is that second piece of pumpkin pie still haunting you? Have some crudite.
Most of us probably didn’t eat enough vegetables over Thanksgiving weekend. Green bean casserole is mostly casserole and not a lot of beans. And aren’t candied yams really a dessert? Thanksgiving dinner is a great tradition and I enjoyed mine just like everyone else, as well as the leftovers but there’s a big container of fresh vegetables in my fridge right now. I always keep crudite on hand but I made extra today.
Vegetables are our lifeline to good health and when you have colorful veggies ready as a snack, you’re doing a lot of good for your long term health. I mix the colors because each color has its own health benefit: yellow & orange for eyes and lungs, red for memory and immunity, green for bones and teeth, purple & blue for aging and blood pressure and that’s just naming a few. Eating a variety of colored vegetables will provide a variety of different antioxidants that can help keep us well.
Eating vegetables every day, both fresh and cooked, is like an insurance policy for your health. And fresh crudite is not only appealing to look at, it’s delicious. Keep and container of fresh veggies in your fridge and see how fast they disappear! – Jenny Jones
Wishing all my American friends and visitors a Happy Thanksgiving. And for all those committed to cooking all day for friends and family, like I am… good luck! It’s a challenge but very satisfying once you’re all done and putting away leftovers for tomorrow.
I already made my simple stuffing, gravy, cranberries, and pumpkin pie yesterday. Today it’s the turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans and of course real whipped cream for the pie. My best wishes to everyone for a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I have much to be thankful for and never take my good fortune for granted. – Jenny Jones
Just in time for Thanksgiving, here is an even faster way to make my original crusty rolls. And you can make them ahead and freeze. They freeze beautifully and you can re-crisp, directly from freezer to oven, in minutes. They are even more crusty when you freeze and reheat!
The original version takes 4 hours but this one is ready in half the time – TWO hours! Using more yeast and hot water, it’s the fastest way I know to make these fabulous dinner rolls. It’s important that your oven be preheated to 450° F and my oven takes 35 minutes to reach 450. It’s really best to use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven it hot enough as these rolls depend on the first blast of high heat to puff up and rise.
This dough is sticky so it may help to see how to shape the rolls by watching the video attached to my original version of No Knead Crusty Rolls.
These fabulous artisan rolls can be made ahead and nicely re-crisped the next day or better still, make, cool, and freeze and just reheat by placing them directly on the oven rack, preheated to 325 °F, for 10-12 minutes. I’m always excited when I can find a way to make something easier and faster, especially when it’s homemade bread. They’re not just dinner rolls – I had them for breakfast today.
So there are three ways to make these crusty rolls. One is my original 4-hour recipe. Two is the overnight version where you use cold water and let the dough sit out overnight. And third, this new, fastest way ever to make no knead crusty rolls – in two hours! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Somebody needs to stop me from eating my third slice of this delicious sweet bread! I’m happy to share my easy recipe for cinnamon swirl raisin bread and there are a few reasons why I think you’ll like it. First, it’s good! Second, it’s easy to make compared to most other recipes. Third, it’s a faster, one-rise recipe so the bread is ready to eat in 90 minutes. I use a mix of yellow and red raisins because I like the two different colors and textures.
Swirled loaves often wind up with gaps inside the loaf and it happens to me too. One day it’s perfectly tight and the next time I make it I get gaps but even with a gap, this cinnamon bread is still fantastic. I made the one below the exact same way as the one above, and it developed some small gaps but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. With or without gaps, it’s the best cinnamon raisin bread I’ve ever had.
If you’re tempted to spread butter on it before adding the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, I do not recommend it because when I tried it, the loaf did not hold together as well. In fact, this bread has no butter at all – I make it with extra light olive oil and it’s delicious! I hope you’ll try this recipe, follow it exactly, and let me know how yours turned out. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
It’s really fun to see how my recipes turn out all over the world. I hope you’ll share where you are from and please send your photo to: YourPhotos@JennyCanCook.com
NERMINA MADE MY NO KNEAD BREAD & BREADSTICKS
“Dear Jenny, I love watching your videos.You make cooking and baking seem so simple and easy.I made many of your recipes and they all turn out. Attached is a photo of a no knead bread which I make at least twice a week! It is our favorite! I also made your Sesame Seed Breadsticks. They disappeared very quickly. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing recipes! Greetings from New Jersey, USA ~ Nermina Samulak.”
~ Thanks for the photo. If you’re making it twice a week, no wonder it looks so good. ~ jenny
DALILA MADE MY WHOLE WHEAT APPLE MUFFINS WITH PINEAPPLE
“Good morning Jenny, 🌻 I made your WHOLE WHEAT APPLE MUFFINS recipe using pineapple instead of apples. I ran out of apples using your recipe for apple pie. I made pies like crazy for Thanksgiving to give away to friends. Just letting you know that your pie recipe was a hit for them too!! So I decided I’d like to try your muffin recipe with pineapple pieces. They came out DELICIOUS, so tasty with a wonderful crunchy topping. I really do enjoy baking with whole wheat pastry flour, excellent results. Another winning recipe Ms. Jenny, THANK YOU!! Happy Baking! 😊”
~ This is a novel idea using pineapple and sounds very tasty. Thank you for sharing. ~ jenny
BUNNY MADE MY SIMPLE WHITE BREAD (with egg) into ROLLS
“Hey Jenny, Your Simple White Bread (with Egg) recipe formed into dinner rolls made me look like a rock star this Thanksgiving.
* For maximum rise, I used bread flour and scalded the milk (to de-activate the protease enzyme). * I used the full 2 Tabl. of sugar for extra flavor. * I buttered the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan before putting the rolls in. (Next time I will use parchment on the bottom, as they stuck just a little bit coming out of that glass pan.) * For extra lightness, I let the rolls rise an extra 20 mins. * I also glazed the rolls with 1 large egg and 1 Tablespoon of water just before baking for a little extra browning and shine.
Wow, looked like they came from a bakery and were so delicious. Soft, tender, and moist. For those making rolls, I suggest they remove the rolls out of the pan within 5 mins. of baking so the residual heat from the pan will not dry out the rolls. That’s what I always do. Once the pan is cool, you can simply slide the rolls back into the baking pan for transporting or serving. I can’t wait to experiment and try these with buttermilk, herbs, cheese or rye flour, etc. Thanks again, Bunny.”
~ This is great information for other cooks. Thanks so much for sharing so much detail. The rolls look fabulous! ~ jenny
PAUL’S 11-Year Old Daughter OLIVIA MADE MY DUTCH BABY PANCAKE
“Hello again Jenny. My now 11 yr old daughter Olivia wanted to try a “Dutch Baby”, I helped with the very hot pan but otherwise all her own work. Very good it was too! ~ All the best from the UK.”
~ Olivia, you’re an inspiration to other young people and I’m really impressed with your cooking skills. Keep up the good work! ~ jenny
DALILA MADE MY CHICKEN SOUP, BANANA MUFFINS & WHOLE WHEAT PANCAKES
“Hi Jenny, I made three of your recipes and they came out wonderful!! I mainly like your recipes because they’re not difficult for me. Besides not hard to make, they’re also healthier…..YAY YOU!! I HATE recipes that have 25 steps and ingredients that are hard to find. You sure do make my time in the kitchen fun, THANK YOU!! 😊 I made your CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP, CRUNCHY OATMEAL BANANA MUFFINS and your WHOLE WHEAT PANCAKES using bananas instead of apples. Happy Cooking & Baking!!”
~ I’m glad to know you’re enjoying so many of my recipes. Thank you for sharing. ~ jenny
ELLEN MADE MY MARBLE LOAF CAKE
“Can’t wait to try my next recipe from your collection. I already ate half the cake in just a few hours!”
~ I love this marble cake with a cup of green tea. Thanks for the photo! ~ jenny
BETH’S LAST PIECE OF ONE BOWL CHOCOLATE CAKE
“Last night, my Army husband enjoyed the last piece of the Veterans Day cake I made for him over the weekend. He’s asked me–practically begged me!–to please make this cake again soon, and I definitely will. This cake is a winner! ~ Beth in San Diego, California.”
~ I get the same request here at home. “Please make that chocolate cake again. ~ jenny
MARGARET MADE MY APPLE PIE
“Just happened upon your recipe on You Tube -gave it a try , and it was fantastic! Easy as PIe to make. LOL! Never thought about making an olive oil crust. I was pleasantly surprised . Yours looked much better of course , but this tasted great. Tapioca and all!”
~ Actually, yours look way better than mine but more importantly, I’m glad it tasted good. Thanks for the pretty photo. ~ jenny
ALTAKLEH MADE MY EASY ONE BOWL YELLOW CAKE
“Hello I’m from BC Canada. I like your recipes. I tried the yellow cake recipe but added cocoa to half the mixture and made zebra cake. Looked awesome tasted delicious and the kids loved it. Tasted good warm and really good the next day as it gets cold.”
~ I love this! Please add a comment below on how you did the zebra effect so others can try it, including me! Thank you. ~ jenny
BETH MADE MY EASY ONE BOWL CHOCOLATE CAKE for VETERANS DAY (Nov. 11)
“I decided my husband, an Army doctor and military veteran, deserved a special dessert on Veterans Day, so this evening I surprised him with…<drumroll>… an Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake! Decorated it with a few American flag toothpicks, and–voila!–I had the perfect patriotic dessert for hubby. Thank you, David, for your service… thank you, Jenny, for this wonderful recipe… and thank you to all the veterans out there who may be reading this. I salute you.”
~ What a perfect treat for Veterans Day. I have much appreciation for your husband’s and all veterans’ service to our country. ~ jenny
SHERRY MADE MY FALL-OFF-THE-BONE RIBS
“Hi Jenny, I have recently found your recipe videos! You are so much fun to watch and I LOVE your teaching style! If I understand correctly you are stepping back from it all. But so thankful to have your site and look forward to making as many of your recipes as possible. Married 35 years and I am just now learning to cook! My family loves your Rib recipe!!! Thank you for sharing your talents!!! Gods Blessings upon you and your family! ~ Sherri Smith, Ft. Worth, Texas.”
~ Learning to cook will bring you many health benefits. I’m happy my recipes can help. ~ jennyBUNNY MADE MY SIMPLE WHITE BREAD
“Hi Jenny, I LOVE your recipe for “Simple White Bread.” The 2nd Tablespoon of sugar gave it such a wonderful flavor. Not sweet, just delicious. Furthermore, after covering the loaf with foil after the first 15 mins. of baking, my loaf came out golden brown from top to bottom. My yeast was 2 years old, so I used 2 1/4 tsps. of instant yeast, and let the bread rise for about an hour. The result, a beautiful rise without any unsightly air holes. It looked so good, I could barely wait to taste it or get busy baking another loaf. I also added 3/4 of a Tablespoon of granular lecithin to the wet ingredients, so my loaf would stay fresh longer (However, I have a feeling my bread won’t last long). When the loaf came out of the oven, I immediately turned it out, then brushed it with melted butter. It improved the appearance a bit and gave me that perfect crust for sandwich bread. Next time, I may use an egg white wash to give the top some sheen. Anyway, thank you for a great recipe I will use again and again. I’ve included photos of my effort, below.”
~ Thank you so much. Brushing the loaf with butter is a great idea. ~ jenny
JODY MADE MY SESAME SEED BREADSTICKS
“Jenny, you rock my world! Another recipe that’s a hit with my Hubby and me. I ran out of sesame seeds and so I used my Trader Joe’s “Everything But the Bagel” sesame seasoning blend it’s really good. There’s some garlic in there. Thanks again for the great recipes you share.”
~ It’s nice to see them with a different coating and the garlic sounds good. Thank you for sharing. ~ jenny
PAUL’S 11-YEAR OLD DAUGHTER MADE MY DARK CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIES
“Hi again Jenny. This time my 10yr old daughter is in on the act. She has loves your videos so I handed over the kitchen and she did a fantastic job creating these brownies. She was worried they would be sweet but they are lovely and bitter with a rich chocolate flavour, loads of toasted nuts and a soft centre. Fab! ~ Paul in the UK.”
~ What a great job for a 10-year old! They look terrific. ~ jenny