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looking for inspiration - a birthday gift

  • c

Just found out a co-worker's birthday is today. I would like to make her something for tomorrow, but for various reasons would rather something she could take home and enjoy at her leisure, rather than a birthday cake. Would prefer something fairly shelf-or fridge stable, since she wouldn't be sharing with a lot of people, and want something sophisticated - she's a glamour-girl. She also gave me a beyond-generous Christmas present I didn't expect at all, so I would like to give her something particularly nice. If I had had notice, I would have made her some truffles in fancy-pants flavors (Mexican chocolate, Earl Grey, ginger, etc.) but with having to chill the ganache and so forth, I don't think I can manage that by tomorrow. I could definitely pick up some nice chocolate and dried fruits and dip the latter into the former, but maybe someone else has a suggestion for something a bit more unusual?

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  1. how about make a pot of marmalade, give a jar to her, keep what's left for yourself. seasonal. yummy. impressive. you could make her some madeira biscuits, or shortbread maybe to go with it. stick a few bags of tea in. yum.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hi

      actually, i just remembered, you need two days for marmalade. you can buy a cute tea cup, fill it with cookies, stick in a few teabags. cute. everyone loves that gift.

    2. You can actually make Alton Brown's truffle recipe all in one night (I did), and the results are pretty good.

      1. What about fudge sauce in those cool flavors? Or flavored simple syrups? These could be used to gourmet-ize any number of other things, and wouldn't go bad. Or a pot of lemon curd, or some sort of caramel.

        I also love getting nuts, like the rosemary ones, or the sweet/hot type, or regular sugared. It's definitely something I don't usually buy for myself (unlike chocolate).

        1. The Barefoot Contessa (check foodtv) has a really rich and fabulous brownie recipe (dark & white chips I believe). It is so rich that I cut them in 1/2" squares and call them brownie bites--really good!

          1. If she is a glamour girl, you could always make her some all-natural facial masks/scrubs, etc. :)

            If you're looking for something more tasty (while the all-natural facial masks may be edible, I'm not sure how they would taste!), perhaps a homemade blend of tea (take some black tea leaves and add dehydrated lemon zest and lavender flowers - use your imagination here, the possibilities are endless). You can accompany the tea with some shortbread cookies and she has a perfect little set up for afternoon tea.

            Or, a jar of homemade pesto, package of homemade pasta, and a bottle of wine for a complete simple meal.

            A bottle of homemade herbed olive oil (garlic and rosemary, and lemon zest and thyme are some of my faves), nice balsamic vinegar, and a block of aged parmesan.

            Anyway, hope that helps...

            1. What about homemade marshmallows and the makings of good hot chocolate (with shaved chocolate) with some pretty espresso cups? If you're anywhere cold it would be great.

              1. I think that the recipe for "brownie cookies" in the Last Course cookbook by Claudia Fleming is great. I made them tiny, about silver dollar size, and they looked quite stylish with their shiny, crackled exterior; they are almost as dense as truffles and keep well too. Put in a nice tin with stylish tissue paper & accompany by a bottle of Champagne if desired and it'll look pretty damn glamorous. Or, add a Laboratorio del Gelato pint of ice cream... (if she has a freezer at work).

                Also, people aren't too upset to receive a box of homemade madeleines - maybe 2 different flavors, like almond and citrus... something about the shape is really appealing.

                1. Maida Heatter's World Best Hot Fudge Sauce. name says it all. Pour it into jelly jars with straight sides and tie a ribbon around it. you can spoon it out of the jar (it's really thick) or heat in the microwave and pour it over ice cream or fruit. it's easy to make- the recipe is attached.

                  Or buy her some good hot chocolate mix (mariebelles?) and a bottle of peppermint schnapps to go with some great homemade cookies.

                  1. If she's a Sex in the City glamour Girl you could put together a drink mixer for her. For example Mojitos - buy a frehs mint plant in a pretty pot, make some sugar syrup that oyu place in a pretty jar, and buy a good bottle of clear rum and sparkling water. Or oyu oculd go even simpler with a kir royale mixer buying chambord and champagne. To make it even facier you can buy glasses to go with.

                    1. Dying to know what you came up with!