Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Presents

Another year of no money, another year of packaging cheap homemade foods up pretty and calling them gifts. This Christmas it was jam and cookies.

I had made jam before, but never canned it, and was excited to try. This recipe for Florida Citrus Marmalade (see below) was inspired by a recipe for Cranberry Orange Marmalade on page 188 of a Cooking Light holiday edition from November/December 2007. I wanted to see if I could achieve sufficient tartness using grapefruit and key limes instead of cranberries, which aren't native to Florida. In the future I may increase my limeage, but it came out pretty well for a first attempt.

As for the cookies, I made these of the potato chip variety (thanks a million to Brie le Grand Fromage!) and added chocolate chips. I wanted to dip them in chocolate, but there would be days' worth of car travel before many of these packages reached their destinations. As my Florida readers can tell you, the weather fluctuates like mad at this time of year, so I wouldn't want to risk making a melt-prone gift.

Here's what my kitchen looked like while I was making the cookies. Thought you may get a kick out of it:

Florida Citrus Marmalade


8 lbs. navel oranges (about 14 oranges)
2/3 of a ruby red grapefruit
6 key limes
6 c. sugar, divided
3 c. water


Zest two oranges and two limes. Remove peels from these and all other fruits. Chop the fruit and remove all seeds.

Combine chopped fruit and zest in a large saucepan with water and 2 cups of the sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes.

Add remaining sugar. Simmer approximately an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, sanitize your canning equipment. Pre-wash all jars, lids, and bands with antibacterial dish soap and water. Fill a pot with enough water to completely submerge your jars. Bring to a boil over medium-high and place jars, lids, and bands gently in the boiling water for five minutes or more. For the last minute or so, lower the end of a pair of tongs into the boiling water. When time is up, use the sanitized tongs to remove each piece from the pot and place it on a clean towel.

Spoon jam into the jars while still hot. Wipe anything that spills over the edge with a clean damp towel. Put on the lids and secure with the bands.

Lower jars gently back into the boiling water. Boil for ten minutes, then remove carefully with the tongs and place back on the towel. (The towel is there as a buffer between the hot jar and the cold countertop, a trick I learned from Alton Brown via a recommendation from Peas Love Carrots. This helps prevent spontaneous shattering). A couple hours later, check the tops to be sure they have sealed. If the button doesn't bounce back when you push it, hooray! Your jam will keep in the same condition for about a year. This recipe makes about a dozen 8-oz jars.

I had a jar left over for myself and my husband. Before I left to visit family on Christmas Eve, I had some for breakfast over toast and melted havarti. Yum! A little too sweet, but overall... yum!

Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.


BikeEatSleepRepeat said...

We were lucky enough to be recipients of some Citrus Jam. It was awsome! Just right, tart and sweet. And the cookies.. Potato chips in cookies???? OMG! Good! Who knew?

Brie: Le Grand Fromage said...

your cookies look fabulous! glad you liked them! :) i've been showing your comment to everyone - it's hilarious!

penny aka jeroxie said...

that is really sweet of you! I wish I was as prepared as you.

dokuzuncubulut said...

Yumm. Looks great...

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Wow - I never considered an ironing board as additional counter space. Genius. As un-fancy as that sounds, I might just try that!

Vegetable Matter said...

I've got potato chip cookies on my to-do list for a family baking project. Great idea to add the chips. Although not as great an idea as using an ironing board as a prep table. Very clever! Now I have to ask, do you actually ever iron anything?

NOELLE said...

WOW! These make great gifts despite your lack of moolah! These are great. It is the thought that counts. I mean I would be glad to receive a jar of that marmalade!

wasabi prime said...

Delicious gifts made with thoughtfulness and love -- always the best kind! My mom used to make a cookie with cornflakes in it, to keep them a little more crisp in humid climates, probably a similar idea as using crisps?

Mae said...

See, you may have Alton Brown to thank for not having a bunch of jam glass shards mixed in the potato chip cookies! :P

You make awesome xmas gifts! I just got a bunch of mixed nuts and popcorn...