Posts Tagged ‘Homemade Irish Gifts’

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The holidays are right around the corner: Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and Christmas is just six weeks later. As is the case for so many homemakers everywhere, my holiday countdown has begun!

First up on my To Do list is make candied mix peel. Mixed peel is a staple of Irish holiday baking: it is added to Christmas Cake, Plum Pudding, and is often given as a beautiful homemade gift.

If you have ever tasted store bought mix peel, I want you to forget everything you thought you ever knew about this holiday ingredient. Mixed peel from a plastic tub is bland and unappealing. It’s also loaded with horrid ingredients. Homemade candied mix peel, on the other hand, is brightly coloured, sparkling in sugar crystals, and tastes wonderfully citrusy.


Another bonus of making your own mixed peel is that it’s something you can involve your kids or grandkids in. And, don’t we all want to share time with the young people in our lives? Little-littles and teens can be involved in every stage: selecting the fruit, washing it, juicing and peeling it, cutting it {with your help}, boiling it and, finally, sugaring it.

Wishing you well as you begin your own holiday countdown! And, in all the hassle and bustle, do remember…this is the perfect season for memory making and reviving family rituals. Enjoy!

Citrus Mixed Peel

Makes 4 cups


2 grapefruits, preferably organic

3 oranges, preferably organic

4 lemons, preferably organic

8oz/2 cups sugar

8oz/250ml/1 cup sugar


1 Cut each citrus in half and juice. Reserve the juice for another purpose and do not use a squeeze juicer as it will damage the peel.

2. Cut each citrus into quarters and, using a paring knife, carefully pull out the inside pith and membrane.

3. Slice the citrus quarters into 1/4-inch-wide strips.

4. Put the citrus strips into a heavy saucepan and add enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat and blanch for 5 minutes.

5. Drain and repeat Step 4 two more times.

6. While the citrus peels are draining the third time, put the sugar and water into the heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stir to dissolve the sugar.

7. When the sugar is dissolved, add the citrus peel and boil gently for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the peels do not burn.

8. Remove the peel with a slotted spoon and leave to cool for about 30 minutes. Reserve the syrup for another use, perhaps a flavouring for ice tea. Set a rack over a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

9. Put the peel into a clean bowl and pour over 1 cup sugar and mix well. Spread the sugared peel on the wire rack and leave to dry.  The drying process can take 2, maybe even 3, days.

10. Once fully dry, store candied mix peel in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* Since most pesticide residue is found in the skin, its important to use organic fruit when making candied peel.

** Click here for my favourite homemade mince pie recipe.

*** And if you’re looking for homemade Irish recipes for giving at Christmas, please see my post here.




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In our Irish home we believe there’s something magical about receiving a gift at Christmas that has been lovingly made by someone you know. Which is why we make edible handmade treats every year to give close friends, neighbours and teachers.


These “Naughty & Nice” sweet treats are sure to make our friends smile this year (clearly the Irish Cream Liqueur is for adults only!). The granola recipe, originally posted here at In an Irish Home, was modified slightly: we added several handfuls of dried red cranberries to give it a real Christmassy-look. The Irish Cream Liqueur recipe, passed down by my father-in-law, Dan McGuire, is amazingly good and may be found at the end of this post.

And who doesn’t love an authentic Irish Shortbread Biscuit? With the addition of some gorgeous crystalised ginger, they’re perfect this time of year with a freshly brewed cup of tea. The recipe may be found here.


Once tasted, I dare anyone to say they don’t love these Irish Mars Bars treats! Not only are they incredibly “moreish”, they are super easy to make. Even better, there’s no baking required. The recipe, posted at In an Irish Home, may be found here.


Guinness Gingerbread is something we can’t get enough of in our Irish home. The ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg really smell like Christmas. Wrapped simply in some parchment paper and tied with a festive red bow, this is the perfect Irish edible gift.


And finally, these Rocky Road Biscuits, which I first shared with you two years ago, are totally delicious and give off a real Christmas vibe if you grate in a bit of orange zest and top with a drizzle of melted white chocolate. They are an Irish childhood favourite and sure to be enjoyed by whomever you make them for.

Now, with less than a week to go before Christmas day, we wish you and your loved ones some very happy times in the kitchen ~ slan abhaile!

Dan McGuire’s Irish Cream Liqueur


14oz condensed milk

14oz evaporated milk

1 1/2 teaspoon coffee essence (or 1 teaspoon instant espresso)

1 teaspoon glycerine

6oz/3/4 cup Irish whiskey


1. Mix all the above ingredients in a large measuring cup and stir with a small whisk until well blended.

2. Put into clean, sterilised, glass jars, close and store in the fridge.

Related Articles:

Darina Allen’s delicious homemade edible gift ideas here.

Donal Skehan’s blog post on edible Christmas gives may be read here.

This Irish Times article on edible gifts from 2011 is still very useful.

An Edible Ireland blogpost on Chocolate Bark with Almonds & Candied Bacon was reviewed at I Can Has Cook? These are two great Irish food blogs!

Ireland’s Catherine Fulvio, of Ballyknocken House, offers this Almond Liqueur recipe and delicious brownie recipe to her readers this year.

Check out those free, downloadable, gifts tags here and here and here to use with your homemade edible gifts.



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