Extension Education Highlight: Gifts from the kitchen

Extension Education Highlight: Gifts from the kitchen

Shalayne Smith Needham: Thanks for joining us this week for USU Extension’s Education Highlight. We’re back with Teresa Hunsaker, USU Extension educator.
Teresa, for all of the chocolate lovers out there, me included, how about we start with your recipe for triple chocolate brownies in a jar?

Teresa Hunsaker: Oh, perfect place to start. So this triple chocolate brownie is so delightful, easy to do. You can put chopped walnuts or chopped pecans in it if you want to.
But it takes white chocolate chips, about a half a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and brown sugar, some flour, baking cocoa, some sugar and some salt. And what you do is you layer each of the ingredients into a jar, and then give the recipient some baking instructions. And it is so simple; all they have to do is dump that into a mixing bowl and add some eggs, some melted butter and a little vanilla, and these are so yummy. I’m glad we started with that one.

Shalayne Smith Needham: Oh, that sounds absolutely delicious. Now from chocolate to peppermint. Tell us about your peppermint meltaway cookies.

Teresa Hunsaker: So, again, it’s a very simple recipe. It’s butter and powdered sugar creamed together with some peppermint extract, adding in some flour and some cornstarch. And then, again, you don’t need to make these very big; they’re intended to be small: about one inch round circles on a cookie sheet. And then you top them with a peppermint frosting, and who doesn’t have candy canes around this time of year that you can kind of crush up and sprinkle on top of that frosting? I promise these are some of my all-time favorites to not only give, but that receive tons of popular comments.

Another one that I really like is something maybe a little less commonly given, but so useful. And this spiced Christmas pancake mix has also been one that I have given a number of friends and families throughout the years. And I make it in great big batches and again, I put it in a decorative jar but all it is is some all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oatmeal flour, powdered milk and some granulated sugar to this big bowl of a mixture and some brown sugar. Then of course my leavening agent, baking powder, and then my spices. I add cinnamon and ginger and cloves and nutmeg. And this makes a great pancake mix, again, that I can put in a jar. And people have loved this, especially if you make a homemade maple syrup to go with it.

And then an other one that I wanted to feature is a peanut toffee cluster and this one is so simple as well. And that is a semi-sweet chocolate chip melted with some milk chocolate chips, and some toffee chips, some chunky peanut butter, some marshmallows and some salted peanuts. And then you just melt those all together, then dollop the drops onto some wax paper and let those cool, and they’re just a lovely sweet, kind of salty little treat. So those are some of my ideas for gift giving from the kitchen this season.

Shalayne Smith Needham: Well as always, it’s great to have you here sharing your delicious recipes. And of course, we’ll have these recipes on our website for your enjoyment UPR.org. Teresa, thanks again for joining us and happy holidays.

Peppermint Melt Away Cookies

1 cup butter, room temperature

½ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp peppermint extract

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

In a medium mixing bowl cream the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy and creamy. Add in the peppermint extract and beat again. In a separate bowl combine the flour and cornstarch and whisk together well. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture. When well mixed, refrigerate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. When dough is chilled, form into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes…or just until the bottom is turning light brown. Remove cookies from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack or paper towel. When completely cool, frost with peppermint frosting.


2 TBS butter

2 TBS cream

¼ tsp peppermint extract

2-3 drops red food coloring

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

½ cup crushed peppermint candies to sprinkle on top for decoration.

In a small bowl add the butter, cream, and powdered sugar. Beat until creamy, add in the food coloring and extract. Frost cookies and top with crushed candies.

Triple Chocolate Brownies in a Jar

1/3 to ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans-optional

½ cup white chocolate chips

½ semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 ¼ cup flour

½ cup baking cocoa

¾ cup sugar

½ tsp salt

Layer all the ingredients in above order into a quart size jar, wide mouthed jar. (Can be a decorative jar with a lid, not just a canning jar.) Be sure to pack down well after each layer. Secure lid in place and attach a baking instruction tag.

Baking instructions: Empty contents of this jar into a large mixing bowl. Add 3 eggs, ½ cup melted butter, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Pour into a greased 9×9” baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. Cool before cutting.

Spiced Christmas Pancake Mix

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup oatmeal flour…I just place 2 cups old fashioned oats in my blender and blend the oats to a fine powder…then measure out 1 cup

3 cups powdered milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup baking powder

2 TBS cinnamon

1 TBS ground ginger

1 TBS salt

1 tsp ground cloves

½ tsp nutmeg

Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 month. May be frozen.

To Make Pancakes: Place 2 cups mix in a bowl. Whisk together 1 1/4 cups water, 1 large egg and 2 TBS melted salted butter until blended. Add water mixture to mix and stir just until combined. Do not overmix. Cook on a hot griddle.

Peanut Clusters

1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 pkg. milk chocolate chips

1 cup toffee chips

1 cup chunky peanut butter

16 ounce package marshmallows

2 ½ cups salted peanuts

Melt chocolate chips with peanut butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in marshmallows, toffee chips, and peanuts. Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper. Chill until firm.