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Last minute gift ideas for the 'foodie' (or yourself!)

By Kara Kimbrough

Last minute gift ideas for the 'foodie' (or yourself!)
Easy Crescent Cookies are just that – easy to make – and they’re melt-in-your-mouth good.

Christmas is a few days away, but don’t panic. There’s still time to find the perfect Christmas gift or stocking stuffer for family and friends who enjoy cooking, entertaining and exploring new food trends. It’s probably too late to order online, so you’re spared my “shop local” spiel!

Most of the items are ones I purchased in 2022 or they've gotten glowing recommendations from friends. Even better, they can be purchased at most in-state retailers and department stores. The majority sell for less than $100, making them the perfect gift for any budget. 1. GraniteStone Cookware – After years of faithful service from a set of Cuisinart cookware, it was time for an upgrade, especially large skillets whose surfaces were flaking. A little research led me to GraniteStone, a relatively inexpensive line of hard-anodized, non-stick cookware. The primary selling point for me, besides reported healthier cooking, is they're dishwasher-safe - no more pans soaking in the sink. I put the sturdy black skillets (other colors are blue and green) to the test and love their versatility. I’m planning to splurge on the 10-piece cookware set that is…wait for it…stackable! This feature alone should be a game-changer in terms of cabinet space. 2. Ninja® Coffee Maker – One of my best purchases of 2022 was a Ninja Coffee Maker. Like all Ninja products, it’s compact, reliable and related to this product, makes great coffee. There’s even a tea-making component when my electric kettle (see #3) is not readily available. I anticipate this model lasting awhile, but I’m already checking out more advanced models, including the Dual Brew Specialty Coffee System. It’s K-Pod compatible and comes with the ability to make cappuccino and other specialty drinks. 3. Cuisinart PerfecTemp Cordless Programmable Kettle – An inexpensive electric kettle has served me well for a couple of years, but after seeing this cordless model, it’s time for an upgrade. Besides boiling water at lightning speed, the one-touch controls on the handle provide six different preset heat settings, which allows for steeping tea at just the right temperature depending on the variety. 4. Ninja® Foodi™ 8-in-1 XL Pro Air Fry Oven Countertop Convection Oven – If you’re in need of a full-size oven, I recommend Frigidaire’s combination convection, air fryer and regular function oven. After purchasing this amazing oven in 2022, I couldn’t be happier with its triple functionality. If you don’t need a new oven but love to air fry, friends swear by the Ninja Foodi countertop oven, which provides more space than many single air fryers. 5. For stocking stuffers or gifts at a lower price point, a couple I like and that are readily available include: * The Pioneer Woman’s “Sweet Rose” 8- Piece Plastic Food Storage Container Variety Set – in my opinion, the folksy design resembles vintage Tupperware with a modern twist. * Rachael Ray’s 2-piece ceramic oval au gratin set – the perfect tableware set if you’re cooking for two or a small group. 6. Bamboo charcuterie board - Last, besides my Ninja coffee maker, my favorite kitchen purchase this year was a relatively inexpensive paddle-shaped charcuterie board. I purchased the board for that specific purchase, but it’s since become a multi-purpose kitchen tool. In addition to showcasing food, it often serves as a cutting board and heat-safe pad for hot dishes. At the end of the day, I add candles and other décor depending on my mood and the holiday, creating an instant kitchen décor piece. For the “person who has everything,” turn to your kitchen. A gift of homemade food channels your creative side and demonstrates thoughtfulness. These cookies are easy to make, travel well in a festive Christmas tin and will last for several days.

Next week I'll share my favorite supermarket products and restaurant meals of 2022. Until then, Merry Christmas, everyone! Easy Crescent Cookies 1 cup unsalted butter, softened ½ cup white sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 teaspoons water 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup finely chopped almonds ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup powdered sugar, or more as needed Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and water. Add flour, almonds, and salt; beat on low speed until dough is just combined. Cover and chill for 1 to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Shape chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart onto unlined cookie sheets.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove cookies from the sheets and transfer to wire racks to cool, 20 to 30 minutes.

Place powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll cooled cookies in powdered sugar to coat. Kara Kimbrough is a food and travel writer from Mississippi. Email her at kkprco@yahoo.com.


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