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Easy Edible Gifts for Everyone

Looking for some quick and easy edible gifts for your friends and family? MPL is here to help you make something tasty for everyone on your list. Presenters include Cathy Semmelroth and Rose Dickson.

Sweet Treats

Join Cathy Semmelroth and Rose Dickson for our third Edible Gifts cooking demo. Get baking and share something sweet this holiday season. See recipes below.


2 cups flour (I use WW Pastry Flour or Almond flour)

¼ C granulated sugar

1 T baking Powder

¾ tsp. Salt

5 T butter

7/8 C whipping cream

1 cup flavorings such as:  chocolate chips, currents, hazelnuts, dried cranberries, white chocolate, crystalized ginger, poppy seeds, etc. 

Pearl or raw sugar for top ( if desired)


Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl.  With a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter.  Add the cream and stir the mixture with a fork until the mixture forms a ball.  Place the dough on a floured surface and sprinkle it with your choice of flavoring.  Lightly kneas or press the flavoring into the dough.  Form dough into a rectangle about 1 foot long 3 inches wide.  Using a bench scraper cut the dough into wedges.  Brush the top with remaining cream and sprinkle with pearl or raw sugar.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown.  Can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days or frozen for 1 month. 

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg


Combine the three ingredients and stir well to form a cookie dough.

Roll into balls about the size of a walnut.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and flatten ball with a glass dipped in granulated sugar.  Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 6 minutes.  Remove from oven and place a chocolate kiss on the cookie.  Return to the oven for 2 minutes.  Let cool on parchment before removing. 


Note: These cookies can also be flattened with a fork in a criss-cross pattern before baking.  When cooled, they can be half dipped in chocolate, drizzled with chocolate or left plain. 

Mix together in a big bowl:


6 cups Old Fashioned Oats

1 cup Rolled Kamut

1 cup Rolled Spelt

½ cup sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds,

1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut

1 cup rough chop almonds

1 cup rough chop pecans


Stir together in a small bowl:


1 cup maple syrup (I prefer real maple syrup)

3 T oil

1 tsp salt


Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir well to combine.  Divide equally on to 2 parchment lined baking sheets.   I use half sheet pans.  Bake in 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir.  Put back in oven for another 10-12 minutes.  Oven time depends on how toasted you like your granola.  Once done, let it cool and add dried fruit if you prefer.  Keeps for 1-3 months.     

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

6 Tablespoons (90g) salted butter, room temperature cut up into 6 pieces

1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream, at room temperature

1 teaspoon salt



Heat granulated sugar in a medium heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.


Once sugar is completely melted, immediately stir in the butter until melted and combined. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. If you notice the butter separating or if the sugar clumps up, remove from heat and vigorously whisk to combine it again. (If you’re nervous for splatter, wear kitchen gloves. Keep whisking until it comes back together, even if it takes 3-4 minutes. It will eventually– just keep whisking. Return to heat when it’s combined again.)


After the butter has melted and combined with the caramelized sugar, cook for 2 minutes without stirring.


Very slowly stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Since the heavy cream is colder than the hot caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble when added. After all the heavy cream has been added, stop stirring and allow to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.


Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Allow to slightly cool down before using. Caramel thickens as it cools.


Cover tightly and store for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Caramel solidifies in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove to desired consistency.




Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make this caramel in advance. Make sure it is covered tightly and store it for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using in a recipe. This caramel is OK at room temperature for a day if you’re traveling or gifting it. You can freeze the salted caramel, too. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then warm up before using.

Kids' Cooking

Join Cathy Semmelroth and Rose Dickson for our second Edible Gifts cooking demo. Take these fun kids project gift ideas into you kitchen and share them during the holidays. See recipes below.


Vanilla Wafers or similar small cookies (platform)

Maraschino cherries with the stems (mouse body and tail)

Chocolate kisses (mouse nose)

Slivered Almonds (ears)

Melted Chocolate


  1. Place the maraschino cherries in a strainer and drain off the juice.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. 
  3. Dip the cherry in the chocolate by hanging on the stem.
  4. Place the dipped cherry on the cookie with the stem sticking out to the side.
  5. Place a chocolate kiss on to the cherry opposite the stem, creating the mouse head and nose.
  6. Place 2 slivered almonds in between the cherry (body) and the kiss (nose) to create the mouse ears. 



Pretzel rods

Light Cocoa candy melts, milk chocolate morsels, or chocolate almond bark

White candy coating, white chocolate morsels, or vanilla almond bark

Green candy coating

Red candy coating

Assorted sprinkles:

Confetti Holly Mix

Red, Green, and White Nonpareils 

Wilton Christmas Snowflake Sprinkles

crushed peppermints or candy canes




Melt the candy coating according to package directions giving special care not to overheat the candy. If the candy coating is overheated, it will be too thick. You can add 2 teaspoons of vegetable shortening to help thin the candy but do not add any other type of liquid as the candy will seize and harden.


Pour candy coating over two-thirds of the pretzel rod and shake gently to remove excess. If applying sprinkles, do so immediately rotating the pretzel rods to coat all sides. Larger sprinkles work best if placed individually.


Place pretzel rod on waxed paper or cooling rack. (Cook’s notes: Waxed paper makes for easier release.)


If drizzling with additional colored candy melts, allow initial candy coating to set completely. Then, use a spoon or fork to drizzle candy coating over the pretzel rods. Before the pretzel sets, gently pick it up and move to clean wax paper.


Let pretzel rods dry completely before packaging or serving.


A bag of giant marshmallows

Dipping chocolate or almond bark

Crushed candy canes, graham cracker crumbs, sprinkles, and other toppings

Candy sticks (optional)


Melt your dipping chocolates and stir until smooth. Dip your marshmallows in about 1/4 of the way, then shake off the excess chocolate.


Shake your toppings over the top of the dipped marshmallows, then set on a rack to dry (or stick them in the fridge to harden faster). I find that shaking the toppings over the chocolate (rather than dipping the marshmallow into the toppings) gives you more even coverage and keeps the excess toppings from getting all chocolate-y.

30 oz package Pretzels

2/3 cup oil

1 T lemon pepper

1 package Dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix


Put pretzels in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine oil, ranch dressing mix and lemon pepper.  Pour over pretzels and stir.  Leave at room temperature for 1 day and stir periodically.  Keeps well for 3 months. 

These Rolo pretzels are 3 ingredient sweet and salty treats that are the perfect snack or dessert. They take just minutes to put together and can be customized for any occasion.



36 square pretzels

36 Rolo candies

36 M&M’s I used red and green for the holidays



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a sheet pan with a sheet of parchment paper or nonstick baking mat.

Lay the pretzels out in a single layer on the sheet pan. Place one Rolo on top of each pretzel.

Bake for 3 minutes until Rolo candies have just started to soften.

Remove from the oven and press one M&M into the top of each Rolo.

Let sit until firm.

Serve, or store in an airtight container for up to one week


An infusion is both the process of, and the result of, extracting flavors from food into a liquid. This is usually done by soaking the food in the liquid for a long period of time. The liquid is typically water, alcohol, oil, or vinegar and can be hot or cold. For this series, we also included flavor infused salts and spice rubs. See infusion recipes below.


1. Buy a Cheap Bottle


Seriously, go for the least-expensive bottle available. You’re only wasting money if you shell out for the top-shelf stuff. Remember that you’re going to layer in your own flavor, so you don’t want strong notes of floral, citrus, or whatever else the heck people claim straight vodka tastes like. The only thing to be mindful of is what the vodka is distilled from. It can be made with ingredients as varied as grains, potatoes, and even grapes. If you’re gluten-free, be sure that your vodka was not distilled from grains like wheat or barley.


2. Secure Your Vessel


I always seem to have an abundance of quart and half-gallon wide mouth mason jars on hand. In addition to looking nice, they’re ideal for infusing alcohol. They won’t impart “off” flavors to the booze the way plastic would, and the wide mouth is big enough to accommodate whatever you’re going to infuse with. (An apple does not fit very neatly through the neck of a vodka bottle.)


3. Prep Your Ingredients


As for what to infuse with, the sky’s the limit. Citrus and vodka are great friends. Vanilla bean adds a warm and cozy flavor that’s nice when combined with simple syrup or maple. Chile peppers are awesome, if you can handle the heat. Herbs and spices are always welcome in my book, but use whole spices. Ground spices will turn the vodka murky and gritty. Right now, I’m infusing two bottles: One with cinnamon sticks, and another with beets.


Just keep yourself in check by asking: Would I actually want to drink this? Be sure to slice the citrus, split the vanilla bean, cut the chiles, bruise the herbs, and toast the spices first. This will help them release their flavor and fragrance into the alcohol. My general rule of thumb for proportions is a handful of “flavoring agents” for each quart of vodka. That translates to a split vanilla bean, 4-5 cinnamon sticks, the zest of 1-2 lemons or limes, and so-on. The good news is that if it’s not strong enough after the initial infusion period, you can always add more. I prefer not to sweeten the vodka, and just sweeten individual cocktails as I mix them. Here are some combinations to try:


1 cup cucumber slices + handful of dill

1-2 tablespoons star anise points + 1 vanilla bean

Small handful of crushed cardamom pods + ¼ cup fresh ginger

⅓ cup muddled blueberries + skin of 1 lime + zest of 1 lemon

⅓ cup cherries + ⅓ cup strawberries + mint


Infuse It


Add the infusion ingredients to your jar, fill with vodka, and cover tightly. Store on the countertop for anywhere from 3-7 days. The alcohol will preserve any fruits or veggies that should typically be stored in the fridge. Taste it periodically to assess whether it’s flavored enough for your liking. Shake the jar once or twice a day—be sure the lid is closed tightly—to help things get going. Fresh ingredients infuse more quickly than dried.


Strain It and Store It

Once the vodka is perfectly flavored, strain out the solid ingredients and discard them. If the vodka is still a little cloudy, strain it again before pouring it into a clean jar (you can just wash and reuse the infusing jar), and capping. Keep in mind that some ingredients, like beets, will color the liquid. That’s okay!


Vodka made with perishable items, like fresh fruit or herbs, should be stored in the fridge. If you used shelf-stable items like dried spices or dried fruit, the vodka can be stored at room temperature.

Written by Colleen Graham


In drink terms, a shrub is a concentrated syrup that combines fruit, sugar, and vinegar. The result is a sweet, acidic mixer that can be enjoyed on its own or used in a variety of mixed drinks. Quite often, herbs and spices are also used to created interesting flavor combinations.

The first step is to choose at least one ingredient from each of the following categories to create your custom shrub:


Sugar: As with simple syrup, you can experiment with the type of sugar you use. One may work better with a particular fruit-vinegar combination than others. White granulated sugar is perfectly fine to use, though some shrub makers prefer raw sugars like turbinado or demerara, or even regular brown sugar.


Vinegar: The majority of the time, you will see shrubs made with red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Some will use balsamic vinegar. While distilled white vinegar is fine, the extra flavors of the other options are preferred.


Fruit: Berries are a favorite shrub fruit, though almost any fruit can be used. Apples, figs, pears, plums, and even cucumbers or rhubarb are good options as well.


Extra Flavorings: Herbs and spices will add dimension to your shrubs and are an optional ingredient. Peppercorns, basil, rosemary, thyme, and fennel are just a few options that have appeared in shrubs.

Typically, 2 cups of fruit are used with 2 cups each of vinegar and sugar. Herbs and spices can be added to taste, though 1 tablespoon is a good place to start with most ingredients. This will yield a nice amount of shrub for experimentation and quite a few drinks. Most of the time, you’ll use just one or two ounces of shrub for each drink.


When deciding which herbs and spices to pair with a particular fruit, think about natural flavor pairings. For instance, strawberry and basil work great together. Apple with either ginger or rosemary is very nice as well.


Hot Method


The hot method is the most popular way to make a shrub and it is very easy. Some people prefer to begin by making a simple syrup of water and sugar. They will then add the vinegar after cooling and just before bottling.


Heat equal parts of sugar and vinegar on the stove, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. (Adjust the ratio to taste.)


Add fruit and any herbs or spices and simmer to release the juices and flavors into the syrup.


Cool the mixture.


Strain out any solids through a double layer of cheesecloth.

Bottle into a clean glass jar and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for two to four days. More sugar or vinegar can be added to taste.


Cold Method


Many shrub makers have experimented with cold methods for shrubs. While there are a few different approaches you can take, this is a basic method.


Use one part each fruit and vinegar and add them to a jar with a tight-fitting lid.


Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds and then allow it to infuse at room temperature for about a week. Give it a good shake once a day.


Strain out the solids through a double layer of cheesecloth and pour into a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Add one part sugar and shake until it is completely dissolved.


Refrigerate for about one week (more or less time to taste). More sugar or vinegar can be added to taste.

This old fashioned raspberry cordial recipe is as traditional as it gets and an easy way to enjoy the raspberry harvest for months to come. A homemade raspberry cordial recipe is full in flavor and extremely easy to make. Not to mention, it is an excellent adult sipper or mixer for many cocktails.


Servings: 1 quart


Cost: $35




  • quart or half gallon mason jars
  • fine mesh Sieve
  • swing top bottles



  • 1 quart Raspberry fresh
  • 1 cup Organic Sugar
  • 4 cups Premium Vodka



  1. In a quart mason jar, add sugar.
  2. Gently add fresh raspberries, taking care to not pack the fruit.
  3. Fill the jar with premium vodka, making sure to cover the fruit.
  4. Each day for a week, gently shake the jar to assist the sugar in dissolving.
  5. Store in a cool, dark location making sure to gently shake the mixture once a week. Allow the mixture to infuse for 2 months gently shake the mixture once a week.
  6. The longer the cordial is allowed to rest, the better the flavor. Feel free to let it rest longer than a month. The choice is yours.



Feel free to experiment with various fruits and alcohol. Another great pairing, cherries and brandy, bourbon and peaches.


Serve as a dessert cocktail sipper, mix with lemonade, add a splash to ice tea, or mix with sparkling water..

Cumin-Sesame Salt


2 tablespoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons kosher salt


Toast cumin seeds and sesame seeds in 8-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and sesame seeds are golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to spice grinder and let cool for 10 minutes. Pulse seeds until coarsely ground, about 6 pulses. Transfer to bowl and stir in salt.


  • How to use: Sprinkle on baked winter squash, grilled steak, sautéed mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, steamed white rice.

Sriracha Salt


½ cup kosher salt

1/3 cup Sriracha sauce


Combine salt and Sriracha in bowl, then spread on large plate. Microwave, stirring occasionally, until only slightly damp, 6-8 minutes. Let sit until completely dry and cool, about 10 minutes.


  • How to use: Sprinkle on French fries or baked potato, avocado toast, fresh noodles; coat rim of Bloody Mary glass.

Smoked Salt


½ cup kosher salt

1 teaspoon liquid smoke


Combine salt and liquid smoke in bowl, then spread on large plate. Microwave, stirring occasionally, until only slightly damp, about 2 minutes. Let sit until completely dry and cool, about 10 minutes.


  • How to use: Sprinkle on grilled meats and vegetables, roasted asparagus, caramels.

Classic steak rub


This earthy, herbal, bitey rub is a popular steakhouse seasoning—for more than just steak.


2 tablespoons peppercorns

3 tablespoons coriander seeds

4 teaspoons dried dill

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes


Process peppercorns and coriander seeds in spice grinder until finely ground, about 30 seconds; transfer to small bowl. Stir in dill and pepper flakes.


  • How to use: Sprinkle on a loaded baked potato, rub on swordfish steaks or hot smoked salmon before grilling, mix into ground beef for burgers, toss with mushrooms before roasting.

Southwestern rub


The flavors of the Southwest are classically bold and fiery but also warm and round, and this spice blend hits all the right notes.


3 tablespoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons chili powder

3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Process cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and cinnamon in spice grinder until finely ground, about 30 seconds; transfer to small bowl. Stir in chili powder and pepper flakes.


  • How to use: Sprinkle on avocado toast, rub on halibut before grilling, rub onto pork shoulder before slow-roasting, rub on meat and vegetables for fajitas, stir into mayonnaise for a sandwich spread.

Caribbean Jerk rub


Fiery yet fruity Caribbean-style jerk rub is possible with pantry staples and a little brown sugar.


5 teaspoons allspice berries

5 teaspoons black peppercorns

2 teaspoons dried thyme

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Process allspice, peppercorns, and thyme in spice grinder until coarsely ground, about 30 seconds; transfer to small bowl. Stir in sugar, garlic powder, mustard, and cayenne.


  • How to use: Mix into scrambled eggs, stir into guacamole, rub onto chicken parts before roasting, sprinkle on grilled pineapple.

Cinnamon-Ginger Spiced Nuts

serves 8 to 10

2/3 cup superfine sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound raw whole almonds, cashews, walnuts, or shelled pistachios

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 275 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and coriander in bowl. 2 Whisk egg white, water, and salt together in bowl. Add nuts and toss to coat. Sprinkle spices over nuts, toss to coat, then spread evenly over prepared sheets. Bake until nuts are dry and crisp, about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let nuts cool completely on sheets, about 30 minutes. Break nuts apart and serve.

Why this recipe works: Salty spiced nuts are deceptively easy, and they pack a triple-punch of flavor (salt, sugar, spice) that makes them a perfect snack to get a party started. Most recipes are made with a heavily sweetened syrup that causes the nuts to clump awkwardly and leaves your hands a sticky mess. We wanted to develop a recipe that was neat to eat. Tossing the nuts in a mixture of egg white, water, and salt gave them a nice crunchy (and dry) coating when baked and helped the spices adhere. The warmth of cinnamon and ginger, with some earthy notes of coriander, paired perfectly with the nuts’ richness. Using this basic technique, we created a pair of variations so you can make a mix that fits your menu. If you can’t find superfine sugar, process granulated sugar in a food processor for 1 minute. You can use a mixture of nuts instead of a single type.

Chili-Lime Spiced Nuts

We enjoy a combination of cashews and peanuts here.

Substitute 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper for cinnamon, ginger, and coriander. Substitute 1 tablespoon lime juice for water and add 1 tablespoon grated lime zest to egg white mixture. (Nuts can be stored in airtight container for up to 3 weeks.)

Orange-Cardamom Spiced Nuts

We enjoy a combination of almonds and pistachios here.

Substitute 1 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1/2 teaspoon pepper for cinnamon, ginger, and coriander. Substitute 1 tablespoon orange juice for water and add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract to egg white mixture.

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