Maple Mustard Dressing with some of the jars. I separate out the whole walnuts and package them separately, as "nibbling walnuts."
Fruit Cake was one of my Dad's favorites. I used to make at least 3 fruit cakes for Christmas; one to share, one to go under the tree for Dad and one to save as his February Birthday gift. The rest of the family is not really that keen on fruit cake, so since Dad died I have scaled back and occasionally make one cake for the holidays. This is still a good present, however, especially if made in the smaller mini-gift size pans.
Cranberry Bread (photo left) was always the "teacher's gift". For a few years I made it, and then Alex and Chris helped me or really made it themselves for their favorite teachers. This is always a most appreciated item for holiday fairs.
Cookies, especially Mexican Meringues, Molasses Cookies/Ginger Snaps, particularly in the form of gingerbread men/ladies, and holiday stars and trees, and Nut Puffs also make nice gifts. And sometimes I have made a Cranberry Pudding, our traditional Christmas night dessert, for special friends/absent family members.
BEACH PLUM JELLY
Plum Crazy, by Elizabeth Post Mirel for the "archives".
Make beach plum juice:
Simmer for 30 minutes
10 c beach plums
2 c water
Strain through cheese cloth. Do not squeeze.
Make the jelly:
Bring to a boil and boil hard for one minute
3 1/2 c beach plum juice [I use 4 cups]
6 c sugar
3 oz (1/2 bottle)liquid pectin such as Certo
Skim off foam. Put in sterile jelly jars and seal.
* In the preface to the jelly recipes, Ms. Mirel writes: "Before producing jelly, you must decide whether you want Natural Beach Plum Jelly, made with fruit, sugar and water only, or Standard Beach Plum Jelly, made with fruit, sugar, water and added pectin. The adherents of Natural Beach Plum Jelly claim that the pectin is an unnecessary adulterant. The advocates of Standard Beach Plum Jelly state that making jelly without added pectin is risky." (page 31) She then devotes several paragraphs to the pros and cons of each method. As I recall, when I tired to go the natural route, my batch did not jell properly.