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Dec 20, 2004 08:33 AM

homemade food gifts

  • l

Any homemade food gifts out there? I remember my mom used to make jars of "Russian Tea" it had cinnamon, sugar, iced tea mix, and tang...there might have been other ingredients as well. I have made infused vodkas and olive oils. Any other ideas? The holidays sort of crept up on me so I am looking for something quick.

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  1. c
    Caitlin Wheeler

    I made a few homemade spice rubs to send to people with serving suggestions -- one of my favorites is equal parts sugar, salt, cayenne, mustard, cumin, cinnamon, and ginger. It's great on salmon.

    1. Just handed out my baskets today. I did a pink-white-red theme. Baskets were made up of an assortment of the following, all homemade:

      Peppermint marshmallows (pink)
      Lollipops (cinnamon flavored, colored pink)
      Mexican Wedding Cakes
      White chocolate bark with dried cherries and pistachios
      Coconut macaroons
      Snowflake sugar cookies (iced pink, with pearl sugar sprinkles)
      Candied cranberries

      And so far, everyone is most excited about the lollipops, which took about a half-hour to make. I did have to go buy lollipop sticks, but after that it's just a matter of bring 2 c sugar, 1 c water, 1 c corn syrup to hard-crack stage, adding food coloring and flavoring (oil of cinnamon, in this case), and pouring rounds onto an oiled sheet. I was amazed at how easily perfect rounds formed. They're very pretty, cheap, and taste better than store-bought lollipops. I'm a big convert.

      The second place winner are the marshmallows, about which there have been several threads here.

      I didn't do anything savory this year - pure sugar. Next year I'll reverse gears and give pickled onions or something.

      1. Herb salts are the bomb.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Anne in SF

          If you are willing to share, I'd love to hear some of the combinations of salts you made.

          1. re: Luther

            I do an Herbs de Provence herb salt since I don't have any lavender only, and my goal is to make something similar similar to lavender salt.

            The varieties of herb salts are pretty much endless since you can do any combination of herbs. Dill, rosemary, chives, tarragon, thyme, oregano, basil, cumin, and marjoram (or combinations of them) seem to be the most popular ones. I also like Rosemary Herb Salt, since I use rosemary quite a lot in my cooking.

            Proportions range from 1:1 to 1:5, depending on how salty or herby you want your herb salt.

            It is quite a lot of fun to play with... and you can even try out the differences between using mortar&pestle versus food processor. If you don't have sea salt lying around, you can use kosher salt.

        2. You can also make savory spiced nuts, which are a little less common than the sweet spiced nuts (and in the age of fAtkins...).

          2 Replies
          1. re: Anne in SF

            Right. This curried almonds recipe is ridiculously easy, takes very little time and everybody loves it.

            The recipe calls for a small amount of sugar, but I'm sure you could substitute Splenda if you (or your friends/family) are low-carbing.


            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I am definitely going to try this recipe. I just had a question about how to store them. Do they need to be in airtight containers? Can I put them in a cellophane bag?

              Thank you so much!

          2. Sorry, missed this thread until today. There are tons of suggestions on the older thread linked below. Better late than never :-)