Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hazelnut Brittle in Faux Letter Bundle, and Gourmet Gifts Giveaway

I'm so pleased to introduce today's guest poster, Dinah Corley, author of Gourmet Gifts.

Dinah is a chef and cooking instructor who has taken delicious edible gifts to the next level. Gourmet Gifts not only provides 100 delicious recipes, but also takes care to show how to give a beautiful presentation with each item. It is candy for the eye and the stomach!!

Dinah is currently in the middle of a blog tour to promote Gourmet Gifts, and was sweet enough to stop by Lemon Tree Creations to share one of my favorite entries with you guys today! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

I was so happy that the ladies of Lemon Tree Creations invited me write a guest post, and even happier that they chose a project from the “Small Tokens” chapter of my book. Small tokens are delicious and unique gifts intended as little gestures of affection or appreciation. All the gifts in this chapter are fairly simple and inexpensive to make, and most importantly, each one has a touch of whimsy and undeniable charm.

Buttery hazelnut brittle enclosed in a “faux” bundle of vintage letters beautifully exemplifies the “Small Token.” This delicious brittle could not be simpler to make (the hazelnuts are an unexpected and welcome change from peanuts or almonds), and its whimsical package could not be more charming.

I happen to be a huge fan of anything “Trompe L’oeil” (literally translated as “fool the eye” but “delighting the eye” is more accurate). A standard pillow box covered with a printed image of antique letters or envelopes is easy and a lot fun to make. Creative embellishments like thin silky ribbon or colored twine secured with vintage stamps or a wax seal perfectly completes the “bundled letters” illusion thus adding to the charm of this small token.

If you have any questions about the project or recipe, you can always find me at!

Hazelnut Brittle in a Faux Bundle of Letters

Overall Prep Time: 1¼ hours
Active Prep Time: 15 minutes-Easy-Ships well-Do not double'
Shelf Life: 1 week in an airtight container at room temperature
Makes: 20 pieces

-¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
-1 cup chopped hazelnuts (you can substitute pecans or almonds)
-1 cup superfine sugar
-½ cup light corn syrup
-½ teaspoon sea salt
-1 teaspoon cognac
-1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Using 3 tablespoons of the butter, heavily coat the bottom of a standard sheet pan (11 x 17 inches) and set it aside.
2. Combine the nuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the mixture on High for 3 minutes, pause the oven to stir the mixture well, and microwave on High for 3 minutes more. Pause the oven again, stir the mixture once more, and microwave on High for another minute.
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the brittle mixture without stirring and microwave on High for 2½ minutes more. Remove the bowl from the microwave and gently stir in the cognac and baking soda, taking care because the boiling mixture may foam and sputter when you add these ingredients. Quickly pour the hot brittle onto the buttered sheet pan. Working very quickly, pick up the sheet pan with oven mitts and tilt the pan back and forth and side to side to spread the molten brittle into as thin a layer as possible over the sheet pan before it cools and hardens.
4. Cool the pan on a rack for at least 1 hour. Break the brittle by hand into generous bite-sized pieces. Store in an airtight container until the pillow box wrapping is completed and you are ready to assemble the gift.

Wrapping It Up

Images of beautiful vintage letters, postcards, and other antique paper ephemera can be downloaded to your computer or printer from several free sources, like Use printer-weight card stock when reproducing the images. You can also clip images from magazines or old books and dry-mount them onto card stock to achieve a similar effect. The embellished card stock can be mounted on a commercially produced cardboard pillow box (or you can make your own using a purchased box as a template).

Suggested Supplies
-Dry-mount spray adhesive
-Lightweight cardstock with printed or dry-mounted images of antique letters, postcards, or other ephemera
-1 cardboard pillow box (purchased or homemade), folded size approximately 5 x 9 inches
-Waxed tissue paper
-Thin ribbon or twill tape
-Sealing wax or hot glue gun
-Sealing wax, with stamp

How to put it in a letter
Use the dry-mount adhesive to attach the embellished card stock to the outside of the pillow box before folding it into shape. Small scissors or a craft knife can be used to trim around all the outside edges of the pillow box so the attached images are the exact same size as the pillow box. To make sure the images are well attached with no gaps, wrinkles, or bubbles, place the embellished box under a stack of heavy books for a few hours.Wrap the brittle in waxed tissue and place it in the box. Wind the ribbon or twill tape around the box and knot it tightly. Apply a small circle of real or glue-gun sealing wax to the ends of the ribbon and impress it with a stamp.

Thanks Dinah! I can't wait to try this out, it looks beautiful and scrumptious!!

Would you like to win a copy of this book. Click HERE for details and to enter.

*Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post.


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