Sometimes you don’t have a lot of money for gifts; sometimes you just want to make something personal and heartfelt.
Whatever your reason for Do-It-Yourself (or DIY) holiday gifts, the time and thought spent on the gift will be appreciated by even the curmudgeon Scrooges amongst your friends.
Whether you can’t spend a dime or you have a lot of time, we’ve made a list of Great DIY Holiday Gifts For Friends.
You might be thinking, “Cookies. How boring.” But, as an unqualified expert in holiday cookie eating, cookies are never boring. They are always welcomed, yummy, and super thoughtful.
If you want to make something a little different and show off your baking skills, we wouldn’t be mad to get a tin of these Peppermint Meringues With Chocolate Filling.
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup(s) sugar
1/2 teaspoon(s) pure peppermint extract
Red gel-paste food coloring
1 cup(s) heavy cream
6 ounce(s) good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; secure corners with masking tape. Fit a pastry bag with a small open-star tip (such as Ateco #22). Set aside.
Make meringues: Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water, and stir gently until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Mix in peppermint extract.
Using a new small paintbrush, paint 2 or 3 stripes of red food coloring inside the pastry bag. Fill bag with 1 to 2 cups meringue. Pipe small (3/4-inch-high) star shapes onto prepared baking sheets. Refill bag as necessary, adding food coloring each time.
Bake cookies until crisp but not brown, about 1 hour 40 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.
Meanwhile, make ganache: Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just simmering. Pour over chocolate in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let ganache cool at room temperature, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes, until thick enough to hold its shape, about 45 minutes. (If ganache sets before using, reheat in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; repeat the cooling process.)
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #5) with ganache. Pipe a small amount onto bottom of 1 meringue. Sandwich with another. Repeat with remaining ganache and meringues. Transfer to wire racks; let set 30 minutes. Cookies can be stored in a single layer in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.