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Entertaining

Thinking Outside The Box
December 8, 2010 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Everyone loves homemade holiday treats. This year skip the expensive cookie boxes, and use materials lying around the kitchen to add an extra special homespun look to your gift giving.

Canning jars gives a vintage feel that echoes the handmade gift inside. The clear glass is perfect for showing off the nuts and berries in granola, and it looks pretty on countertops with a scoop tied to the side and filled with homemade pancake mix. A handwritten note card with cooking instructions is the proverbial icing on the cake.

Used jelly jars, especially ones with decorative tops, need no more than a ribbon to make them ready for gift-giving. Use them to store candied nuts or bite-sized cookies.

Parchment paper makes an excellent wrap for breads and cakes. Simply tie up with butcher twine and add a few branches of Christmas tree or some pine cones for a festive touch.

Homemade Buttermilk Pancake Mix
makes enough for one gift

You can easily double, triple or quadruple this recipe if gifting to a crowd, just be sure to whisk the ingredients together well so they are evenly distributed throughout the mix.

For the Mix:
1 cup (5.2 ounces) flour
1 tablespoon (16 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) sea salt
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) vanilla powder, optional

To Cook the Pancakes (include this on a handwritten note card):
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter, melted plus more to coat the griddle
1 cup (8 ounces/225 ml) buttermilk, plus 1 tablespoon more if you like a thinner pancake
1 large egg

  1. Add the mix ingredients to a medium bowl; whisk to combine. May be prepared up to one month in advance and stored in an airtight container.
  2. To prepare the pancakes, whisk the ingredients together to make sure ingredients are thoroughly combined again. Add to a medium bowl.
  3. In a clean separate bowl, add the melted butter, buttermilk and egg. Whisk together to combine. Pour over dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir together just until batter has formed and there are no visible streaks of flour — it's okay if there are lumps.
  4. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Coat with a pat of butter. Add generous tablespoons of batter to the pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the edges look set and bubbles form on top. Flip and cook 1 to 2 more minutes until done.
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