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Homemade Holiday Specialties

Peppermint Bark.jpg
Jennifer Chandler
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I spend a lot of time in the kitchen during the holiday season — baking Christmas cookies, whipping up appetizers to bring to a friend’s soiree and making homemade gifts to give.

I am not the only one who makes homemade gifts from the kitchen.

I asked my friends about their traditions to bake and share each year. I was amazed and inspired by the variety of treats as well as the thoughtfulness and creativity that go into the recipes.

My friend Joanna’s classic chocolate pie is to die for … and fairly easy to whip up, especially when using frozen pie crusts as a shortcut.

Angie bakes a rum cake that comes from a 1980s Junior League cookbook. She uses a Bundt pan that is a ring of Christmas trees just for the holiday cake.

I always make peppermint bark.

Gifts don’t have to be sweet. Savory treats are also appreciated gifts.

Dan makes a big batch of sweet and spicy pecans that he gifts to his clients. He serves them in bags or Mason jars with his signature “Dan’s Hot Nuts” label.

Molly makes pickled shrimp just like her mother used to make when she was a child growing up in Florida, delivering them in a large Mason jar.

Laura’s gift helps her friends entertain at the holidays. She makes onion soufflé dip and freezes it in disposable foil containers, making it perfect to pop in the oven when friends are ready to serve this classic Southern dip.

I hope these ideas inspire each of you to hop in the kitchen and make something homemade for someone special in your life this holiday season.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She is a full-time mom to two daughters in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks The Southern Pantry Cookbook, Simply Salads, Simply Suppers, and Simply Grilling.