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Food gift ideas

I would like to hand each Mothers' Day celebrant a food gift this Sunday. It can be sweet/savory either or both. I don't want to make a truffle in case the weather is very warm. What do you think?...cheese straws, cookies, mini bundt cakes, scones?

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  1. 2-bite mini scones? orange cranberry? pack with a couple of nice teabags?

    1. Tassies, which are fun because you can put different additions in the cups, so you have an assortment in a single batch.
      http://www.chef2chef.net/features/cyn...
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7008...

      1. i like to do granola in cellophane bags or jars. it holds up well in any climate, and you can make nice, personalized labels for the jars, or tags to thread onto the ties for the bags.

        1. An assortment of Madeleines (orange, lemon, chocolate, etc) and some tea.

          1. how much trouble do you want to engage in, and do you want to simply give edible treats (edible as in not incorporated into something else or used in something else - if so disregard my first few suggestions)?

            individual mini jars of jam or apple butter or fruit butters and nut butters

            herb plants in pots

            cruets of flavored vinegars or little pots of flavored sugars

            homemade muesli or granola

            mini boston creme pies made in jumbo muffin tins

            lemon pistachio biscotti with a white chocolate drizzle?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Emme

              Thanks guys. I have so much (dare I say?) food for thought. I am leaning towards granola right now but keep the ideas coming. There is always room for more.

              1. re: lucyis

                groan.....

            2. strawberries are in season so a jar of homemade jam would be nice!

              1. i love cheese straws!

                2 Replies
                1. re: LaLa

                  So do I!

                  1. re: LaLa

                    Yeah - I think home made cheese straws are the bomb.

                  2. Not to be too negative, but I think the food gift really depends on the tastes, likes and dislikes of the recipients in question. For instance, my mother detested peanut butter cookies. She didn't even want to make them. She liked peanut butter fine, just not the cookies.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: John E.

                      Yes that's true, John. But it's also true of any gift/recipient situation, isn't it?

                      1. re: lucyis

                        Yes, but even more so when referring to food.

                    2. How about cake lollipop bouquets? Cookie bouquets are good too but the cake lollipops are fairly new.

                      http://www.bakerella.com/dont-lick-bi...

                       
                      10 Replies
                      1. re: tonka11_99

                        I'd like to report that I've made the cake balls quite frequently and while extraordinarily simple to make, people go crazy for them and they are fun. I've found that making them in steps makes for a better end product.

                        Some tips:
                        Bake the cake at least 1-2 days before, allow to cool fully
                        Mix the crumbed cake with the frosting and allow to sit in the fridge overnight
                        Once you form the cake balls, freeze them for quite some time as if they are not fully frozen they will start to fall apart in the melted coating ever so slightly, leaving crumbs which looks unsightly.

                        What I've made:
                        Devil's food cake with white coating
                        Devil's food cake with peanut butter coating
                        Spice cake mixed with cream cheese frosting & white coating

                        A friend has also made chocolate+chocolate+chocolate which, while very good is VERY rich! A bit too rich for me....

                        I'm considering making strawberry and/or lemon this weekend dipping in pink or yellow coating.

                        1. re: jenscats5

                          I actually made brownie pops as favors for my daughter's baby shower last summer. I baked a recipe of brownies and under-baked them a bit. I let them cool and then scooped them out and formed balls and froze them. When they were hard I coated them with icing and decorated them. they were extremely well received!

                          1. re: lucyis

                            Do you mix the crumbled cake with the icing to form the balls? Have you considered using teacake pans as molds for something besides the balls...maybe flowers or stars?

                            I would think you could use ganache or liquid fondant as a coating too.

                            1. re: tonka11_99

                              What I've done is baked a cake "normally" then cooled it, crumbed it & mixed it with the frosting. I don't see why you can't use teacake pans, but I don't have them so just made the cake balls.

                              And I've used candy melt/coating from the local supply shop as they have different melts/colors that are easy to pick up.

                              1. re: tonka11_99

                                When you make something as moist as brownies you don't have to crumble and mix with any frosting. I think that sounds like it would be much too sweet. You don't need a mold either. What you do need is some Wilton candy coating as jenscat suggested.

                            2. re: jenscats5

                              Hi Jenscats5,
                              I know this is an old post, but I am hoping you will see this and be able to help me out. I'm wondering if you've ever made the cake balls with homemade frosting. I would love to make these for my sister's birthday party, but I am not crazy about canned frosting. If you have had success with using a homemade frosting, would you mind sharing the recipe you use? I appreciate any guidance you can give:-)

                              1. re: arp29

                                The biggest criticism I have heard about cake lollipops is that they are so sweet. Recently, I have seen some tea cake molds and brownie pop molds that could make something without having to mix it with frosting.

                                Here are a few you could try:

                                http://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Pla...

                                http://www.amazon.com/Martha-Stewart-...

                                http://www.amazon.com/Wilton-Round-Br...

                                1. re: arp29

                                  Sorry I'm late! No I've never used homemade frosting, just the tub frosting.

                                  I've never had anyone say the cake balls were too sweet....

                                  1. re: jenscats5

                                    I had read the concern about them being too sweet and I decided to experiment. I did a mix of cream cheese and nutella and they were great!

                              2. re: tonka11_99

                                hubster wants these for dessert tomorrow or is it that he just wants them period?
                                he'll get 'em when dinner is done tomorrow. can' t resist the guy and his wishes, he's so deserving :)

                              3. a throw away container of :

                                Spiced nuts
                                Jordan Almonds although it would be like a wedding shower
                                Too late for this year the M&Ms with custom printing on them
                                specialty popcorn like caramel, cheese or herb butter

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: tonka11_99

                                  "specialty popcorn like caramel, cheese or herb butter" reminds me it's time for a Garrett's stop over

                                2. i just finished canning jars of apple butter and carrot cake jam... i'm wrapping them with ribbon, and can't wait to see how the mothers like them tomorrow... fingers crossed...

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: Emme

                                    Emme, would you mind sharing your carrot cake jam recipe? the concept has always appealed to me, but the recipes i've seen are much too heavy on the pineapple for my taste - i'd love to see how yours compares...

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      well of course you know me, and i alter... everything... and eyeball things...

                                      1 1/2 cups grated carrots
                                      1 1/2 cups peeled chopped pears
                                      roughly 14 oz of pineapple w/ juice
                                      3 tbsp lemon juice
                                      1 tsp cinnamon
                                      1/2 tsp nutmeg
                                      1/2 tsp cloves
                                      1 tsp vanilla (maybe a little more)
                                      little less than a full package of pectin
                                      sugar - oy here's the rough estimate... like 3 cups of white sugar and maybe 2 or a litlle more cups brown sugar, not packed

                                      mixed all but pectin and sugar. brought to boil. stirred in pectin, brought to boil. stirred in sugar... bring to boil once all dissolved, then boiled hard for 1 minute. can as usual :)

                                      hope that helps somewhat... sorry i'm so retarded!

                                      1. re: Emme

                                        why are you apologizing? particularly to ME? you *know* i'm the same way :) thanks so much for posting your recipe. of course i like that it calls for a bit less sugar than most, unfortunately the amount of pineapple is about the same as the others i've seen - i think i may just have to screw around with it and try to find a way to cut it back a little...

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          just looking at this, if you want to minimize the pineapple you could bump the carrots and pears up to 2 cups each and try 8 to 10 ounces of pineapple juice.

                                          1. re: appycamper

                                            thanks - i was definitely thinking about increasing the pears, but i don't want to overdo it with the carrots for textural reasons. i'll get around to it at some point!

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              if it helps, i didn't taste the pineapple at all, and the chunks were def not discernible. you could also cut back on the pineapple, and though it may sound weird, toss in some finely finely grated zucchini... my inclusion of brown sugar and vanilla obviously altered things too.

                                        2. re: Emme

                                          I've been under a rock for way too long. never heard of this.
                                          dumber than dumb question here, what do you use this for?
                                          to spread on toast, pour over a block of cream cheese like jalepeno jelly or use it to baste pork tenderloin with?
                                          whatever it's used for, I love the idea of this unique to me gift.

                                    2. With Christmas around the corner, I thought I would resurrect this thread with these ideas.

                                      Homemade mustard
                                      Homemade ketchup
                                      Homemade jam
                                      Homemade truffle oil
                                      Homemade chocolate truffles
                                      Chocolate dipped anything

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                                        I am intrigued! Do you have good recipes for mustard and ketchup? I have never made my own condiments before, how long do they keep?

                                        1. re: sarahelan

                                          I have seen some on the web and there are some threads on chowhound but I have never tried them. I have been wanting to. They both have vinegar in them so they would last quite a while especially if you started with a sterilized container.

                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                            There is a ketchup recipe on Chow: http://www.chow.com/recipes/28552-ket...
                                            I plan to try it once I finish the humongous bottle of storebought I'm working on. I don't go through so much of it that price is a big concern, but I do find it a little too sweet (even for me) and would like to avoid the corn syrup. I'll plan on using a combo of Splenda and sugar. I have been to a couple of restaurants that make their own ketchup but unfortunately, it's not great. One tasted like the bottled chili sauce that's sold in the ketchup aisle. I suspect a certain amount of personal tweaking is needed in recipes like these.

                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                              my sister makes a killer hot mustard for pretzels (I think there is wasabi or horseradish in it) - it's always a great gift.

                                              I like homemade salsas and I've done my own spice mix in a grinder as a gift with a few recipes to use it on the side.

                                              1. re: lexpatti

                                                I want to make the citrus dust again.
                                                It's so good for savory or sweet so does double duty.

                                            2. re: sarahelan

                                              I make this mustard all the time. My family is crazy about it. I use half brown mustard seeds and half yellow for a very full-bodied flavor. I tried brown mustard seeds first and I could have taken wallpaper off the walls with it. Not saying it was awful, just that it was too hot for my tastes so I recommend starting with half and half and adjusting from there. Use a good vinegar in a recipe with so few ingredients. I like a fruity pomegranate vinegar that Whole Foods carries. YumSugar doesn't say so but I think it's a good idea to start your mustard a couple weeks early to allow the flavors to mellow out before using it.

                                              http://www.yumsugar.com/Homemade-Must...

                                              I once made ketchup. Not from the YumSugar recipe but a promising one I found when I had a garden full of fresh tomatoes. Personally I'd never bother again. It was a day of cooking and evaporating down tomatoes for quite an ordinary flavor. Not saying that would be anyone else's experience or how good the YumSugar recipe is, just passing on my experience.

                                              The mustard recipe makes a lot but it keeps forever and a half. And at my house it goes quickly.

                                            3. re: Hank Hanover

                                              "With Christmas around the corner"

                                              oh you just had to remind me......eh? :)