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Sep 1, 2006 12:36 AM

Easy, simple but impressive hostess gift?

I've been invited to a dinner party Saturday (informal) with friends who are very much into wine (they work for a winery) and enjoy good food. I want to bring a gift but I have been working late all week and have to work all Friday and half of Saturday. I'd love ideas for a good homemade hostess gift that won't take a lot of time but they will like. Last time I made chocolate chip cookies so I don't want to repeat it. Thanks in advance for suggestions!

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  1. Would you be opposed to buying something? When I'm in this situation, and don't have time to cook, I buy a bottle of good olive oil. Agrumato makes olive oils that are pressed with lemons or oranges. Such a gift has been well received by my foodie- and not-so-foodie friends.

    1. Zuni Cafe's Gateau Victoire recipe is easy to find on line. Many call it the best flourless cake in the world, and I tend to agree. I haven't made it, but the instructions seem simple enough and the topping is just whipped cream. Bring a bottle of good heavy cream along with the cake and they can whip it up whenever they're ready to eat the cake.

      I made toffee last night and it took me about an hour. And even though I had a few missteps, the finished product was VERY tasty and impressive looking (more like a praline than toffee, but delish).

      Salted caramels were very easy last time I made them. But wrapping them individually takes longer than making them in the first place. You probably don't have time at this point to let them cool for 24 hours and then wrap them.

      I like everyone else's suggestions of buying food gifts, but if you really do want to make something yourself I think a one layer cake that requires no frosting will be your best bet. The gateau victoire, a white cake embedded with seasonal fruit, etc.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Pei

        I think I posted this reply to the wrong person, so, since I hope for a return reply, I will repost this to the appropriate poster. So sorry! I loved your idea of the Zuni Cafe's Gateau Victoire recipe, and have an occasion to make it in a few days, but, I am having NO LUCK finding it on line. I Googled it, Yahood it, even went to Zuni Cafe's website, Epicurious, etc... it is mentioned, but no recipe!!! I would really appreciate it if you would post it. Thank you so much.

          1. re: MeowMixx

            Yep - just found the recipe on the same website... It sounds great!

            Do you (or does anyone) know if this is the original recipe from Zuni Cafe?

      2. not sure if you want actual food they can enjoy that night or not- so here are a few ideas...

        -basket/tray of cheeses to go with wine
        -a jar filled with dry cookie or other baked good ingredients with the recipe attached
        -homemade bread or iced cinnamon rolls
        -gourmet popcorn spicd/flavored
        -homemade fudge, so many yummy flavors
        -a dish filled with recipes for using that dish (like trifle dish with trifle recipes, pie dish with pie recipes, small ceramic bowl with dip/salsa recipes, etc...)
        -gourmet coffee or tea in pretty mugs
        -assortment of great mixed nuts and/or dried fruit
        -dried or fresh fruit dipped in chocolate (hardened)

        1 Reply
        1. re: pamd

          Along with the coffee/tea idea, maybe something to go with coffee or tea. I picked up some wonderful flavored sugar from a tea shop recently. I got lemon sugar and orange sugar. There was also vanilla sugar available. Another similar item would be chocolate covered spoons meant to go with coffee.

          I also like the olive oil idea. To tuen it into something homemade, maybe try infusing the olive oil yourself.

        2. the last time i did this i got a wooden salad bowl at a kitchen supply store (it cost like $2) - then added pretzels, chips, crackers and 1 or 2 really nice things - like olive oil, olives, spreads, or something like that. wrap it up in some colored plastic and you're set.

          1. Truffles...

            Incredibly easy to make.


            8 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped (buy the best you can find... this is everything for these truffles! I like Scharfenberger)

            1/2 cup heavy cream
            2 tablespoons liqueur such as Cognac or Grand Marnier or plain vanilla extract
            1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted

            1. Place chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes; gently stir until smooth. Add liqueur and stir to combine. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.

            2. Sift cocoa into a bowl. Using a measuring spoon, scoop up 1 teaspoon of chocolate, and quickly roll into a ball about 3/4 inch across. Drop into cocoa; roll each truffle in cocoa to coat. Chill until firm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

            Makes about 30.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jennalynn

              Ah, yes--with a bottle of late harvest zin.
              (You could buy truffles if you don't have time...?)