Ginger and Spice for the Holidays
Posted: May 20th, 2011
Time in the kitchen cooking with loved ones can often be a special part of the holiday season. Here are some delicious, easy recipes to spice up your holidays and make them something to remember. Who knows? Maybe one of these simple gems will become part of the holiday tradition in your family.
Holiday Mulling Spices
This spice mix can be used to mull apple cider or red wine. The recipe makes 14 spice bags. If you are giving as a gift, be sure to include the recipe instructions.
14 five-inch squares of double-layer cheesecloth
14 (10-inch) lengths of white string
3 ounces whole cinnamon sticks
6 whole nutmegs (1 ounce)
1/3 cup chopped dried orange peel
1/3 cup chopped dried lemon peel
1/4 cup allspice berries
1/4 cup whole cloves
2 Tablespoons finely chopped, crystallized ginger (1 ounce)
Place cinnamon sticks and nutmegs into a heavy freezer bag. Hit the spices with the bottom of a small heavy skillet to break them into small pieces. Place in a bowl and stir in orange peel, lemon peels, allspice, cloves, and ginger.
Place about 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in the center of each cheesecloth square. Tie securely with the string. If giving as a gift, be sure to include the recipe instructions (below). Each bag is enough for a 750 ml bottle of red wine – 3-1/4 cups wine or 1/2 gallon – 8 cups apple cider)
Mulled Wine Recipe Instructions
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar or honey
3-1/4 cups (750 ml bottle) red wine
1 mulling spice bag
Combine water and sugar in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add wine and spice bag. Heat very slowly over low heat, only until small bubbles form around the edge and wine is very hot. Do not boil. Discard spice bag and serve hot.
Mulled Apple Cider Recipe Instructions
8 cups (1/2 gallon) apple cider
1 mulling spice bag
Place apple cider in a 3-quart saucepan and add spice bag. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Discard spice bag and serve hot.
Apricot Ginger Chutney
Dried apricots shine in this chutney while the star anise lends a licorice flavor. It may be served, hot, warm, or at room temperature.
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar, honey, or other sweetener
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small dried hot red chili, or to taste
3 star anise
1 Tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 cup minced onion
20 dried apricots, cut into 4 or 8 pieces each
Combine vinegar, water, sweetener, salt, pepper, chili, star anise, ginger, and onion in a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the apricots and continue to cook until all but a tiny bit of the liquid is gone. If the mixture is not “jammy,” or the apricots not quite tender, add a little more water and cook some more. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary; you may add more of anything you like. Use chutney within a few days and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Crunchy Sesame Spice Candy
This crunchy sesame candy is a favorite for Hanukkah and Rosh Hashanah. The candy is very easy to make. For best results, try to make the candy on a cool, dry day.
2 cups sesame seeds (about 12 ounces)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Coat a 9-inch-square baking pan or dish with oil. Set aside. Put the sesame seeds into an ungreased 10-inch skillet (preferably one with a non-stick surface) and stir them over medium-high heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and aromatic. Temporarily transfer the seeds (they will be hot) to a bowl, making sure that none are left in the skillet. Set aside.
Put the honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger into the skillet and mix them well. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the entire mixture comes to a full rolling boil, cook it vigorously for exactly 2 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and immediately stir in the sesame seeds until well mixed. Quickly turn out the hot mixture into the prepared pan and use a metal spatula that has been dipped into cold water to press the candy into a very smooth and even layer. Cool the candy in the pan for l5 minutes, or until it is solid but still lukewarm. Run the spatula around the edge of the candy to loosen it. Then turn out the whole slab of candy onto a wooden board or other cutting surface. Use a sharp knife to cut the large square of warm candy into very small squares, diamonds, or rectangles.
Cool the candies completely; then store them in an airtight container at room temperature. If a professional look is desired, roll each cooked candy in a small piece of stiff cellophane and twist the ends. Yield: about 64 small candies