Fes­tive and fla­vor­ful hol­i­day gifts

Chicago Sun-Times - - TASTE -

Food is a gift from the heart. It’s one-size-fit­sall, and you don’t need to fight the crowds at the mall or worry about blow­ing your bud­get. Whether for hol­i­day presents or host­ess gifts, re­ceiv­ing some­thing home­made is truly what the sea­son is about: shar­ing com­fort and good cheer.

For a fes­tive twist to your de­lec­ta­ble good­ies, look no fur­ther than your freezer. Aside from their bright, joy­ful color, frozen red rasp­ber­ries’ sweet and tart fla­vors make them ver­sa­tile from a culi­nary stand­point, com­ple­ment­ing and en­hanc­ing a wide range of in­gre­di­ents. Th­ese ju­bi­lant ru­bies are also nu­tri­tional pow­er­houses, boast­ing the most fiber and the low­est nat­u­ral sugar con­tent com­pared to other berries.

Th­ese recipes are sure to warm your friends’ and fam­ily mem­bers’ hearts with the taste of the hol­i­days. Find more recipes worth shar­ing this hol­i­day sea­son at re­drazz.org.

Rasp­berry Greek Yo­gurt Bark

Recipe cour­tesy of Nour­ishRDs.com

2 cups plain, re­duced-fat (2 per­cent) Greek yo­gurt 1 lemon, zest only 2 ta­ble­spoons honey 1 cup frozen rasp­ber­ries 1/2 cup shelled pis­ta­chios 1/4 cup sliv­ered al­monds

Line two bak­ing pans with parch­ment pa­per or sil­i­cone mats.

Com­bine all in­gre­di­ents in blen­der and puree un­til smooth. Pour rasp­berry mix­ture on both pans and smooth into thin layer, less than 1/8-inch thick.

Bake 3 hours or un­til mix­ture is no longer wet, but still slightly tacky, ro­tat­ing ev­ery hour and al­ter­nat­ing lev­els.

Cool pans on wire rack to room tem­per­a­ture. Re­move parch­ment pa­per (if us­ing), place on cut­ting board and cut (or tear) into chip-size pieces. Store with fresh pieces of parch­ment pa­per be­tween fruit leather lay­ers in air­tight con­tainer.

Any­time Pump­kin-Rasp­berry Muffins

1 cup frozen unsweet­ened red rasp­ber­ries 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 cup gran­u­lated sugar 2 tea­spoons ground cin­na­mon 1/2 tea­spoon bak­ing soda 1/2 tea­spoon salt 1 cup canned pump­kin 3/4 cup low-fat but­ter­milk 3 ta­ble­spoons canola oil 3 egg whites 1 ta­ble­spoon grated or­ange rind 1 tea­spoon vanilla ex­tract 2 ounces chopped pecans, toasted For the muf­fin top­ping: 1 ta­ble­spoon gran­u­lated sugar 1/2 tea­spoon ground cin­na­mon Heat oven to 350 F. Coat 12 non­stick muf­fin tins with cook­ing spray and set aside.

Place frozen rasp­ber­ries on counter to thaw slightly while preparing muffins.

In medium bowl, stir to­gether flour, brown sugar, sugar, cin­na­mon, bak­ing soda and salt.

In an­other medium bowl, stir to­gether re­main­ing muf­fin in­gre­di­ents, ex­cept rasp­ber­ries.

Stir pump­kin mix­ture into flour mix­ture un­til blended. Do not over mix. Spoon equal amounts of bat­ter in each muf­fin tin. Place equal amounts of rasp­ber­ries on top of each muf­fin.

Bake 20-22 min­utes or un­til wooden tooth­pick in­serted comes out al­most clean.

Mean­while in small bowl, com­bine top­ping in­gre­di­ents and set aside.

Re­move muffins from oven, place on wire rack and im­me­di­ately sprin­kle with top­ping. Let stand 15 min­utes to con­tinue to cook and ab­sorb fla­vors. Re­move muffins from pan and cool com­pletely on wire rack be­fore stor­ing.

Store cooled left­overs in air­tight con­tainer in re­frig­er­a­tor up to 48 hours or freeze up to 1 month.

Note: You may make th­ese as mini muffins: bake 15 min­utes in 12 muf­fin tins.

Rasp­berry Salsa

1 Pink Lady or other tart-sweet ap­ple, cored and diced 2 cups peeled ji­cama, diced 1/3 cup rasp­berry vine­gar 1 medium jalapeno pep­per, seeded and finely chopped 3 green onions, sliced 1 ta­ble­spoon grated fresh gin­ger 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen rasp­ber­ries

In large bowl, toss ap­ple and ji­cama with vine­gar. Add all re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents and toss to blend. Serve at once or cover and re­frig­er­ate un­til ready to serve.

Rasp­berry Greek Yo­gurt Bark.

Rasp­berry Salsa.

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