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It's Never Too Early Home Made Holiday Food Gifts

  • n

NOT looking for cookies or candies. Looking for savory or off-beat.

Here's a link to one of last year's suggestions thread. Personally, I'm not keen on soup or hot cocoa in a jar ideas because they either need too many expensive items for the recipient to buy and/or they don't taste good.


I'm totally curious about the CURRY SAUCE suggestion, though . Any recipe that could be canned would be appreciated.

Before the season is over, I plan to put up some jars of whole Seckel pears (or Bartlett's in slices) in lightly sweeten white rum.

Have done cocktail cookies. Delicious but they don't keep very long.

Please chime in for something new and interesting.

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  1. The Limoncello we made last year was a BIG hit. Onion marmalade and lemon curd have both become regular things for me, both well received. The ginger jelly I made never set up so it got relabelled Ginger Syrup and my MIL has asked for it again this year.....

    5 Replies
      1. re: happybaker

        Ginger jelly is my all-time favorite jelly. Sorry it didn't set up for you this time, but the syrup version has many uses, including as a glaze on a fruit tart or as a sweetener for ice tea.

        Please post your recipe for onion marmalade.

        1. re: nemo


          The better the individual ingredients, the better the results.

      2. Preserved lemons. I use David Leibowitz's method-- available through Google. They're beautiful to look at, and even better to eat. They enhance just about anything vegetable or chicken, and I find myself just kind of eating them.

        3 Replies
        1. re: monfrancisco

          Am I too late to preserve these for holiday gifts? I'll check out Leibowitz. But thank you in the interim!

          1. re: monfrancisco

            Are these the lemons of which you speak? I've been meaning to make preserved lemons but haven't gotten around to it.


            Nemo, looks like you'd have time to do these for holiday gifts.

            1. re: tcamp

              Yes, these are they, and yes, plenty of time. Hope you like them!

          2. Spiced or candied nuts? Homemade crackers?

            1 Reply
            1. re: sandylc

              Yes and yes. Thanks for the input. I've never done crackers, but I should try them as opposed to the softer cocktail cookie things. Good suggestion.

            2. In the past I've done --

              - vanilla extract (now would be a perfect time to start them)
              - homemade spice blends
              - mulled wine kit (bottle of drinkable red wine + satchel of mulling spices and an orange, all packed up nicely)
              - homemade ferments of various kinds
              - cookies, ofc

              I'm thinking of doing the homemade spiced hot chocolate this year, in ganache form -- much tastier than the standard cocoa powder mixed with sugar form, and is how I always make hot chocolate myself at home anyway. Downside is it won't keep that long.

              2 Replies
              1. re: delickwent

                Thank you for reminding me, D. I have vanilla beans. I'm thinking dark rum vs. vodka. Your thoughts? Also what do you mean by ferments?

                Please post a recipe for your ganache chocolate drops.

                1. re: delickwent

                  A friend gifted me some homemade vanilla extract-- 3 split beans in a 375mL bottle of Smirnoff 90.4 proof vodka. He had actually forgotten about it so by the time he gave it to me it had steeped for over 2 years and it is amazing. I do not use it for regular baking, only use it for "special" applications.

                2. My family clamors for Meyer Lemon Marmalade. Easy enough to make and doesn't add to their clutter.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: smtucker

                    if you want to start making that marmalade, i just spotted the 4-lb containers of Meyers at Costco - first time i've seen them this season. i think they were $6.49...?

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      That is always my cue! I buy those tubs at costco and start slicing. Thanks for the alert. Been too busy this week to get over there.

                  2. Cheese pennies, chutney, salad dressing (really!), fudge sauce, and for this year, jars of the sage/rosemary/garlic rub for meat and veggies.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: tcamp

                      Fudge sauce is a great one. Like lemon curd, it needs refrigeration, which is a consideration.

                      1. re: sandylc

                        Do you have a special recipe for fudge sauce you might share? I am always looking for a delicious fudge sauce. Haven't found the one that is "just right".

                        1. re: buzzardbreath

                          Revised from Saveur magazine long, long, ago.....

                          In an 8-cup glass measuring pitcher, mix together 8 oz. 60% bitter chocolate, chopped, 7 T. softened unsalted butter, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 cup whipping cream, and 1/4 c. hot water. Nuke on high in short increments, stirring in between nukings, until it's melted. Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt.

                          Store in the fridge, heating as needed.

                          1. re: sandylc

                            Thank you! This sounds delicious. It also sounds fairly easy, another plus. :-) Will let you know how the sauce turns out. :-)

                            1. re: buzzardbreath

                              Good luck! Sorry I can't be more specific about the nuking time - I just wing it. Just don't overcook it.....

                              1. re: sandylc

                                That's OK. I usually wing it when I'm nuking food anyway. :-)

                    2. Last year I finally got around to making cranberry liqueur (therefore I didn't really give it away until some friends popped in mid-January). But this year I plan on starting that in a few weeks. Fairly easy, you just need to get a head start on it. And man is it good. And strong. Go with cheap vodka. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cranb...

                      My other always makes Sweet Hot pickles and they are the biggest hit--she is now a pickle-factory. You use the large dill hamburger slices, drain it, and add in sugar (2 c., I think), a tablespoon tabasco, some garlic, celery seed, mustard seed, and dried onion flakes. I'll have to look up the recipe, but you can probably search it.

                      I've done a "biscotti baking binge" and they are also well-received. http://www.ellenskitchen.com/bigpots/...

                      1. Vanilla bean sugar
                        Herb salts
                        International spice blends
                        Spiced nuts
                        Loose tea bags
                        Pickled root vegetables

                        1. Oh, geez, I forgot about the vanilla I made in August that is aging in a closet. Super simple and very good; appreciated by pretty much anyone who bakes.

                          1. Though you are looking for something different, I suggest this take on fruitcake because it actually tastes good, and has one of the weirdest prep methods I've come across. This is the tea-totaller version of my late Kentucky-born friend's delicious recipe. I believe Polly added at least a half-cup of "booze you choose". She generally used whatever jams and dried fruits she had on hand, but I have made both all-apricot and all-pear versions that were very good. This is a heavy, large, moist cake that keeps in the refrigerator (in a sealed container) for a VERY long time. I know this not because it isn't tasty but because I live alone and it takes me over a month to go through that much cake.

                            POLLY'S PEOPLE-PLEASING FRUITCAKE:

                            3 c applesauce or other fruit sauce
                            2 c sugar
                            7 Tbsp butter
                            1/4 tsp salt
                            1 Tbsp baking soda
                            1 Tbsp cinnamon
                            2 tsp ground cloves
                            2 tsp nutmeg
                            1 c preserves or jam, any kind
                            1-2 c raisins
                            1-2 c chopped nuts
                            up to 16 oz. chopped dried fruit or candied fruit

                            In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring ALL of the above to a boil, stirring often, and boil 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Then stir in:

                            2 beaten eggs
                            4 c flour
                            4 tsp baking powder
                            1 tsp vanilla
                            optional: 1/2-1 cup booze of your choice?

                            Pour into a greased and floured bundt, tube, or angel food pan and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours. When cool, drizzle with a simple icing of fruit juice and confectioner's sugar, if desired.

                            ANOTHER suggestion - I make a fruit compote using fresh Bosc pears and any type of apple that holds its shape when cooked. Peel, core, and cut into large wedges. Put into a pot or microwaveable dish and add dried apricots and prunes. Drizzle with a little honey, add apple cider to cover the fruit about half way. (Optional: use 2/3 cider and 1/3 Tokaji Aszu or other sauternes-type dessert wine.) Simmer or microwave on half-power until the fresh fruit is tender but not too mushy. Off-heat, stir in some golden raisins (if you add them earlier they will swell up too much). This compote is sweet but also a little tannic, more for adult palates than kids'. Good as is, or over pound cake or ice cream. I have never hot water canned it but I think it would work well, except that the raisins would turn back into grapes. No initial cooking would be needed.

                            1. how about some candied bacon?

                              1. Definately savory, maybe you consider this off beat...
                                honey is a nice gift all by itself but prepared spiced honey even better!
                                Source quality honey and spice it using this recipe per jar:
                                SPICY HONEY:
                                1 cup honey
                                1 clove garlic, mashed
                                1 tablespoon peppercorn
                                1 tablespoon chili flakes
                                1 tablespoon smoked paprika
                                Sea salt

                                Attached a small holiday card around the neck of the bottle or jar that this goes really well on cheese & crackers, fried shrimp, apples & peanut butter, etc.

                                Great stuff!

                                1. Oh, for personal use, I keep the the spiced honey on the kitchen counter in a squeeze bottle and use it pretty often.

                                  1. FYI, it appears you linked to the wrong thread.

                                    some of my favorite non-sweet homemade food gifts:
                                    - spiced roasted chickpeas
                                    - spiced nuts, seeds or savory snack mix
                                    - savory granola
                                    - nut butters
                                    - bacon jam & various chutneys
                                    - salad dressings
                                    - infused vinegars

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      What method do you use on the spiced roasted chickpeas, ghg?

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        just dump 'em in a bowl, toss & coat with whatever oil & seasoning blend i choose, and roast on a sheet pan in a 400-degree oven until crisp & dry.