Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy, Homemade Christmas Gifts

Every year, we mix up a batch of homemade Christmas gifts and put them in some sort of fancy container to give out as gifts to family and friends (for kids and each other, we actually buy presents). Here's what we (OK, what I) made this year, with links to some of the recipes or sites for buying ingredients.

Gingerbread Surfer Babes & Dudes (I use the Mark Bittman Gingerbread Men recipe--it calls for lots of butter and molasses. Too yummy! Then, for icing, I use organic powdered cane sugar and other organic ingredients. Then, top it all off with granulated candy sugar with lots of beautiful artificial colors to make everything festive. One can be too good, you know.)

Belgian Tripel Homebrew (The Home Brewery is a great site. And the folks there are super-nice.)

Chocolate Coconut Truffles (Trader Joe's for the bulk Belgian chocolate [only $4 a pound!] and white chocolate [the real kind, not "white chips."]), made from my own recipe.

Layered Peppermint Bark (Again, Trader Joe's for the chocolates. I doubled the quantity of white chocolate in this recipe to make each white layer thick. Heavenly and to-die-for do not begin to do this justice! Add extra peppermint extract for a taste explosion.)

Rosemary Almonds (Also from my own recipe, only this one is on You could not find an easier, nor more satisfying gift to give and to receive. The nuts will be gone in a flash!)

Pomegranate Fruit Compote (Sure, this project started out as "Pomegranate Jelly" and ended up as "Compote" when it didn't set. Oh, well. It's a nice presentation in a festive jelly jar, and it can be yummy on ice cream instead of on toast. Why not? The compote was easy to make, even though it didn't gel as much as promised.)

Homemade Soaps in Yin-Ylang and Yang-Mint (So easy to make "Melt-and-Pour" soaps. Just melt chunks of the block of solid soap base, add in color, fragrance, and botanical doodads. Voila! Recipients rave and oooh. Don't tell them the real truth. This year, I used spearmint leaves and peppermint oil to make a "yang" soap, and ylang-ylang, sage, and tangerine oils, along with sage flowers to make a "yin" soap. Wrap in plastic wrap first, then in a strip of homemade paper, then a ribbon around the strip. Fab!)