Suggestions for holiday noms
November 24, 2011 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Please give me your suggestions for homemade holiday snacks that I can make and give to my co-workers. (Sorry, kind of long.)

I am part of a small team and would like to give the other two members on the team some homemade goodies.

Some requirements:

- both are weight-conscious and have expressed concerns about fattening foods
- one is diabetic but he can have artificial sweeteners
- the diabetic is not crazy about sweets anyway, but he eats them in moderation
- my other coworker loves sweets, especially chocolate
- both take public transit, so transportable goodies are preferred

Other notes:

- I don't mind making completely different things for each of them
- aside from the diabetic's restrictions, they pretty much eat anything
- foods that don't have traditional holiday connotations are great
- savoury snacks are great
- anything that has a health benefit is good, e.g., I am thinking of making something with matcha (maybe)
- ready-to-eat is best, no mixes please


Scalable recipes that I can make partway ahead of time would be great! e.g., dough that I can make and freeze for a week or two and then bake the night before, and/or things that keep well for a week or two.
posted by methroach to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
In past years I have had raving success with handmade chocolate truffles using high quality dark chocolate. A couple of varieties in a little tin is all you need to give, because people think they're really hard and expensive to make (but they're not, just time consuming... see below).

Using the dark chocolate, they don't have a lot of sugar in them (good for diabetics). I liked to make the ganache strong, like intense little flavor bombs. I have made so many varieties. The more interesting ones were gingerbread (molasses and tons of ginger), cheesecake (cream cheese added late to the ganache), and earl grey (I even had finely ground earl grey tea in it). I am wholeheartedly planning on matcha truffles this year too, using white chocolate.

A little goes a long way, double batches produce 30+ truffles. They do take a while to make, but you can do it in stages - make the infused ganache filling one day, ball it another day, and dip/coat/decorate the day after that. If you intend on making the ganache far ahead of time, I would freeze it and then let it thaw in the fridge overnight before balling. The balls can be frozen as well. The dipped chocolates shouldn't be frozen though, the chocolate coating will "bloom" and a white haze will form. Ideally they should be kept in the fridge and eaten within a week.
posted by lizbunny at 12:28 PM on November 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I've heard good things about Ina Garten's chipotle and rosemary spiced nuts. If those flavors don't sound good, another spice blend would probably also work.

Roasted chickpeas (link contains 15 different recipes for different flavors) would also be good, or a maybe a tin of homemade flatbreads.
posted by rebekah at 1:09 PM on November 24, 2011

Popcorn kernels + seasoning mixes so they can make & mix at home. Mix ideas: parmesan cheese + Italian Seasoning; furikake or wasabi; taco seasoning + nacho cheese butter sprinkles.
posted by dragonplayer at 1:13 PM on November 24, 2011

Sorry just saw the no mixes line! Make batches to take to them, if possible.
posted by dragonplayer at 1:15 PM on November 24, 2011

How about dark chocolate-covered pretzels? You can dip the pretzels in chocolate, and then dip them in crushed pistachios/almonds/some other nut.
posted by estherbester at 1:28 PM on November 24, 2011

Best answer: Home-made bread is always a hit. Or corn muffins (use less than the recommended amount of sugar). And spiced nuts will never be frowned upon.

Little jars of these things could be lovely:

Marinated onions, balsamic shallot marmalade, drunken mushrooms ...

There are also tons of quick-pickle recipes out there for beets, cucumbers, radishes and other veg.
posted by bunderful at 2:38 PM on November 24, 2011

Chocolate dipped pretzels are really pretty, very easy, and can be made ahead of time.
posted by raisingsand at 5:13 PM on November 24, 2011

Speculaas cookies are spicy, festive and not too sweet.
posted by leigh1 at 6:03 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Fantastic, and not too bad healthwise -- I'm gonna call bullshit on the blog here's 100-calories-per-cookie figure, because there's just no way, but the calorie count nevertheless can't be too high.
posted by dekathelon at 6:50 PM on November 24, 2011

Best answer: Spiced nuts!
posted by amanda at 7:37 PM on November 24, 2011

I've been making variations of pain d'epices that have been a hit with friends. I use hazelnuts in mine because then it goes better with coffee, but you can change up the recipe to use traditional ingredients like rye flour. Instead of using all the different spices listed, I use 'quatre epices' a mix of the essential spices. You can make traditional dough and leave it for a month [because in the olden days, no butter or milk or eggs were used, the honey and flour could 'rest' for months]. Also, I've found that this bread/cake is so easy to make in a food processor, I throw everything in, let it get moistened and bung it in the oven.
posted by honey-barbara at 10:01 PM on November 24, 2011

Best answer: White flour (pretzels, bread) or even whole wheat flour are not so good for diabetics, so I would go the not-sweet-flavor nut route for your diabetic friend if you want to be very considerate. Of course many diabetics can and do eat refined carbs, even sugar, in small amounts. But it doesn't sound like your friend does not have a sweet tooth anyway. This Nigella Lawson recipe for Union Square Mixed Nuts is very good, and your other friend will probably like it too. You could probably use an artificial sweetener instead of the 2 teaspoons of sugar if needed.
posted by derMax at 4:48 AM on November 25, 2011

(doesn't sound like your friend has a sweet tooth...)
posted by derMax at 4:49 AM on November 25, 2011

Chex mix. I don't add nuts, pretzels, etc., just Chex - corn, rice, wheat & bran. The wheat & bran are in smaller quantity, as they don't crunch well, and have a denser texture. Many people comment that they like it to be just Chex. Always popular. Thanks for the reminder, as I need to make some.
posted by theora55 at 10:49 AM on November 25, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all!
posted by methroach at 4:45 PM on November 27, 2011

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