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Homemade Edible Gift Ideas?

Homemade Edible Gift Ideas?
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  • Homemade Edible Gift Ideas?

    Post #1 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:29 am
    Post #1 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:29 am Post #1 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:29 am
    In searching the forum, I couldn't find a topic dedicated to homemade edible gifts so I thought I would start one to help jog some ideas for the holidays. The past couple years I've done edible gifts for extended family and plan on continuing the tradition this year. I'm having trouble coming up with what to make. In the past I've done carrot/zucchini muffins (packaged with silicone muffin bakeware and a copy of the recipe) and hot cocoa mix (planned to also do homemade marshmallows, but they didn't turn out). Ideally, I'd like to find something other than candy/cookies since my family members get inundated with sweets this time of year. One thing I considered is homemade vanilla extract, but I'm afraid there isn't enough time for it to be ready by the holidays.

    I'd love to hear your ideas...
  • Post #2 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:35 am
    Post #2 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:35 am Post #2 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:35 am
    Eric used to give out his own home-made dry curry mix/powder IIRC.
  • Post #3 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:42 am
    Post #3 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:42 am Post #3 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:42 am
    Last year I gave home-made bacon, breakfast sausage and candied pecans to several friends and it was all very well received.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

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  • Post #4 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:46 am
    Post #4 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:46 am Post #4 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:46 am
    I typically make quick breads - Pumpkin and Date Nut and cookies. However, I agree, people are so inundated with foods at this time of the year that I'm not so sure how enjoyable a gift like that is.

    I have, in the past, made preserves and chutneys as well as flavored vinegars. They look pretty and can be used after the holidays.

    Jyoti
    Jyoti
    A meal, with bread and wine, shared with friends and family is among the most essential and important of all human rituals.
    Ruhlman
  • Post #5 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:46 am
    Post #5 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:46 am Post #5 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:46 am
    Last year, I made vinaigrette and purchased some nice looking bottles at the Container Store, then printed some labels and handed them out. I believe I made a pomegranate-shallot vinaigrette. I'm planning to do this again this year. Maybe a different vinaigrette though.

    I've also thought about making a relish or some kind of salsa and putting them in nice jars.

    I'm not a canner so my gifts are perishable and are only meant to last a couple of weeks in the fridge.
  • Post #6 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:50 am
    Post #6 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:50 am Post #6 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:50 am
    My sister in law often gives lemon or lime curd, which I adore. I hope I make her list this year.
    Other ideas: salsas, chutneys, infused oils, any baked good that can be frozen.
  • Post #7 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:50 am
    Post #7 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:50 am Post #7 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:50 am
    I'm putting up a batch of chutney from Camille Glenn's recipe. If I get around to it, I'm also doing her spiced grapes. Anything with enough sugar and vinegar doesn't need to be pressure canned. Also, if you refrigerate (within the suggeted time parameters) until the gift occasion, you don't have to obsess about the sterilization, but the jar will have to be refrigerated by the giftee and won't last as long.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #8 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:59 am
    Post #8 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:59 am Post #8 - November 2nd, 2007, 10:59 am
    I make classic old school Victorian fruitcake-- light on the candied fruit, heavy on real things like apricots and figs, and heavy on molasses. (I open Fannie Farmer to her recipe for backup, but largely wing the recipe.) Wrapped in cheesecloth and soaked in brandy, it lasts, so no problem with people having lots of things to eat at the time.
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  • Post #9 - November 2nd, 2007, 11:24 am
    Post #9 - November 2nd, 2007, 11:24 am Post #9 - November 2nd, 2007, 11:24 am
    One year I made flavored oils and vinegars (frighteningly, I made garlic oil with raw garlic - NOT recommended) and packaged them in little bottles. If you've got fresh herbs, herb vinegars are pretty, useful, and dead easy - ethnic markets sell wine/cider vinegars in bulk.

    There's a thread about homemade hot sauces and one about frozen mealsas gifts.
  • Post #10 - November 2nd, 2007, 11:28 am
    Post #10 - November 2nd, 2007, 11:28 am Post #10 - November 2nd, 2007, 11:28 am
    BQ Meat rubs!!!

    Might be the 'guy' in me wanting to give out useful gifts that will last, but I love making / getting / using them.

    Super Spicy, one with extra sage, maybe one with a little maple flavoring, a "Tex Mex" inspired one with a little extra cumin, a curry inspired one. Buy all or a few good spices at the Spice House, or Penzey's, and then you can even bulk up the rest of it with the 89c bags of onion/garlic/cumin/paprika/ancho powders at your local mexican mkt. Make your rubs, toss them in little jars. Throw your jarred creations in a basket with some kitchen cloths (so the women folk with think it's kitschy and cute) or whatever, and you're done. If you have grilling or q'ing fans, this will be a winner, guaranteed.

    For little jars, check the thread on hot sauce jars from a few days ago, but in a pinch, you know you can get them from spice house/penzey's.

    I think I'd do one of their big jars full of a standard rub mix, and then several of their little jars of "inspired" mixes (curry, extra hot, thai, chinese "five spice" etc.) for each gift basket. For ideas, just check out penzey's or spice house sites. They are both making mints off of this stuff, and really, you can make enough for quite a few ppl if you do it on your own for the same price as one or two of their gift boxes.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #11 - November 2nd, 2007, 12:43 pm
    Post #11 - November 2nd, 2007, 12:43 pm Post #11 - November 2nd, 2007, 12:43 pm
    I'm going to do jars of preserved lemons, and give them with a moroccan cookbook.
    I think I'll start the weekend after Thanksgiving, so that they're ready by the time the holidays hit.

    http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000177.html
    "Food is Love"
    Jasper White
  • Post #12 - November 2nd, 2007, 1:25 pm
    Post #12 - November 2nd, 2007, 1:25 pm Post #12 - November 2nd, 2007, 1:25 pm
    [quote="messycook"]I'm going to do jars of preserved lemons, and give them with a moroccan cookbook.

    This is a great idea!

    Jyoti
    Jyoti
    A meal, with bread and wine, shared with friends and family is among the most essential and important of all human rituals.
    Ruhlman
  • Post #13 - November 2nd, 2007, 2:43 pm
    Post #13 - November 2nd, 2007, 2:43 pm Post #13 - November 2nd, 2007, 2:43 pm
    I do Maple Sugared Walnuts. These are super easy and very popular.
  • Post #14 - November 3rd, 2007, 4:08 pm
    Post #14 - November 3rd, 2007, 4:08 pm Post #14 - November 3rd, 2007, 4:08 pm
    I've made different varieties of tea and packaged them in hand-tied satchels. The experimentation involved in developing blends is fun, and tea bags are much cheaper to ship than say, jars, in you have friends and relatives who live far away.
  • Post #15 - November 3rd, 2007, 4:25 pm
    Post #15 - November 3rd, 2007, 4:25 pm Post #15 - November 3rd, 2007, 4:25 pm
    Last year, Cookie made chocolate-covered peppermint patties which I thought made really nice gifts.

    I'm not sure where she got her recipe, but there are a number of recipes available on blogs, recipe sites, etc.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #16 - November 3rd, 2007, 5:33 pm
    Post #16 - November 3rd, 2007, 5:33 pm Post #16 - November 3rd, 2007, 5:33 pm
    Last year I made limoncello that I put in some nice glass bottles. This year I've got some sour cherries steaping in vodka for gifts.
  • Post #17 - November 3rd, 2007, 7:39 pm
    Post #17 - November 3rd, 2007, 7:39 pm Post #17 - November 3rd, 2007, 7:39 pm
    Good thread. Great ideas here.

    I've been making preserves the past few years.

    First year, it was Alton Brown's spiced blueberry jam: frozen berries from Trader Joe's, dead easy, no fruit prep. Several people said they ate it straight from the jar with a spoon. Another year, started months early after finding a good deal on fresh figs at a Devon Ave. market and made fig preserves. Rose petal jelly last year; violet jelly this year.

    With masses of people to give gifts to at Xmas (married into an enormous family, and then there are the co-workers...) and lacking masses of money and time, jam works for me. I can knock out 8 to 12 pints of in a session, and do it over the course of three or four evenings.
    "Why don't you dance with me? I'm not no Limburger."
  • Post #18 - November 4th, 2007, 8:13 am
    Post #18 - November 4th, 2007, 8:13 am Post #18 - November 4th, 2007, 8:13 am
    sassafras - well, and everybody else - I'd love to see pics of your completed projects. A lot of gift-giving is about presentation..
  • Post #19 - November 4th, 2007, 9:24 am
    Post #19 - November 4th, 2007, 9:24 am Post #19 - November 4th, 2007, 9:24 am
    I love making gifts and do this every year. I try to pick things that will last for a while so I'm not baking a ton right before the holidays. Last year I had herbs and cayenne in my garden so I made herb salt and a hot pepper blend. I've also made chai tea and mexican hot chocolate. Also spiced/sugared/candied nuts.

    Container Store does have some nice options (inlcuding ziploc-type bags in a lot of sizes), but I save empty jars for this purpose, too.

    The books _Homemade: Delicious Foods to Make and Give_ by Judith Choate and _Food for Friends_ by Sally Pasley Vargas have some good recipes.

    You can also use food to make a lot of bath products: salt or sugar scrubs, facial steams, etc.
  • Post #20 - November 4th, 2007, 2:18 pm
    Post #20 - November 4th, 2007, 2:18 pm Post #20 - November 4th, 2007, 2:18 pm
    Hi,

    For several years I have been giving away an upscale Chex Mix. While it is easy to reverse engineer for anyone who received one. I cannot divulge the ingredients because the recipe came to me with a condition: do not share it!

    I will be making candied citrus peel for the first time in 3 years. The pause was due to my Christmas/Thanksgiving file having totally disapeered and now found. It is so much better than store bought peel, that it is usually welcomed by people who don't like it.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #21 - November 4th, 2007, 8:54 pm
    Post #21 - November 4th, 2007, 8:54 pm Post #21 - November 4th, 2007, 8:54 pm
    Each year I try to do different food gifts for family and friends. Last year it was cookies, another year were brownie or soup mixes in jars, one year I made various pretzel rods...

    This year I'm making chocolate truffles - both wine infused and traditional flavors.
  • Post #22 - November 5th, 2007, 8:37 am
    Post #22 - November 5th, 2007, 8:37 am Post #22 - November 5th, 2007, 8:37 am
    Mhays wrote:sassafras - well, and everybody else - I'd love to see pics of your completed projects. A lot of gift-giving is about presentation..


    For my nuts, I've gone different routes. The first year I bought glass jars from Ikea (1.99 each) with the stainless clasp. Then tied big gold wired ribbon bows around them. Last year I picked up poinsettia boxesfrom Oriental Trading. They were VERY annoying to fold, but only $3.99/dozen.
  • Post #23 - November 7th, 2007, 12:34 am
    Post #23 - November 7th, 2007, 12:34 am Post #23 - November 7th, 2007, 12:34 am
    I used to do a lot of homemade food gifts.
      Home-smoked almonds were a staple for years.

      Smoked turkey breasts, both Western-style and Chinese tea-smoked.

      Gravlax.

      Home-dried tomatoes.

      Homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

      Flavored vinegars and seasoned oils.

      My personal blend of peppercorns-plus, with a grinder.

      Herbed yogurt cheese with gourmet crackers.

      Cheddar-pecan wafers.

      One year I gave risotto kits: A glass jar layered with arborio rice, dried mushrooms and seasonings, with the recipe attached.

      Truffles and other assorted homemade candies, like nuant with hazelnuts, almonds and black walnuts, and cream mints.

      Cake in a jar.

      Rosemary-lemon shortbread.

      Gourmet hot cocoa mix.

      Flavored whipped honey.

      Blueberry mint jam, grapefruit marmalade and other preserves.

      Homemade liqueurs.
    I would combine homemade items and purchased goodies into elaborate gift baskets, with utensils and so on. Sometimes I'd do themes -- for example, the risotto kits were part of an Italian basket that also included pasta, jars of sauce, imported tomatoes, anchovies, salami, capers, cheese, candy, a colander, a pasta fork, and more.

    But as time went on, this one was on Atkins, and couldn't eat "that stuff." That one had high blood pressure and only ate salt-free. The other one let me know, after years of home-smoked gifts, that she really hated smoky flavors. And on and on. Fat-free. No sugar. South Beach. Slim-Fast.

    Then one day in March, my mother-in-law mentioned that she was having some item from the basket for dinner.

    "You're just getting around to eating it now?" I exclaimed.

    Well, no. She allowed as how most of the contents of the baskets we'd given the other members of the family were typically passed along to her, because the rest of them thought they were "too weird."

    So I stopped. After all, you may be able to choose your friends, but you can't pick your relatives.
  • Post #24 - November 7th, 2007, 9:20 am
    Post #24 - November 7th, 2007, 9:20 am Post #24 - November 7th, 2007, 9:20 am
    :lol: :cry: LAZ, I've been reading this thread with interest, but realized I'm in the same boat - after all, I get this kind of reaction whenever I take family members to a restaurant I'm excited about. The grownups in our family got together a while ago and decided that gift-giving was really all about the kids, so I'm off the hook anyway. I was contemplating making up little bottles of GWiv's Chili Oil but I probably ought to reconsider...pearls before swine, you know...
  • Post #25 - November 7th, 2007, 11:07 am
    Post #25 - November 7th, 2007, 11:07 am Post #25 - November 7th, 2007, 11:07 am
    I make baskets with my Spice Rubs,BBQ sauses,Hot/Mild Giardiniera,hot sauce and Homebrew .
    I started after getting requests during the year and giving my own stash.
  • Post #26 - November 8th, 2007, 9:29 pm
    Post #26 - November 8th, 2007, 9:29 pm Post #26 - November 8th, 2007, 9:29 pm
    Last year I made Honey Tangerine Almond Caramels from Fine Cooking. Almond and Tangerine were two variants, but they were much better together. Toffee is also excellent. I use mini Chinese take-out containers from the Container Store for packaging. This year the 3-year old and her glitter glue pens are in charge of decorations.

    My in-laws are numerous and we are short on cash, so home-made works well. Because the caramels are a pain to wrap, I don't give that many in each container-- that cuts down on the sugar inundation at the holidays.

    This year I'm thinking granola, or maybe I'll dip the caramels. One year I gave apple butter, but people were confused by it.
  • Post #27 - November 9th, 2007, 8:40 am
    Post #27 - November 9th, 2007, 8:40 am Post #27 - November 9th, 2007, 8:40 am
    Cathy2 wrote:For several years I have been giving away an upscale Chex Mix. While it is easy to reverse engineer for anyone who received one. I cannot divulge the ingredients because the recipe came to me with a condition: do not share it!


    Hi Cathy,

    Your "upscale chex mix," got me interested. Without asking you to reveal the recipe/ingredients, can you share any additional details? For example, are you making some ingredients from scratch? Or have you replaced the melted butter with another oil (truffled chex mix, anyone), or have the other ingredients (pretzels, peanuts, etc.) been upgraded?

    Hope this request doesn't overstep the bounds! I can certainly sympathize...there have been a few discussions where I've been eager to share a recipe, but I've instead had to honor the request "don't publish this recipe." My Mom and Aunt are still a bit reserved about sharing recipes after they gave a family salad dressing recipe to a friend, who later informed them that she was planning to bottle and sell it!
  • Post #28 - November 10th, 2007, 9:49 am
    Post #28 - November 10th, 2007, 9:49 am Post #28 - November 10th, 2007, 9:49 am
    Just an FYI -The current issue of Bon Appetit has a piece entitled Quick Gifts from Your Kitchen. It has some interesting suggestions such as:

    Candied Espresso Walnuts
    Balsamic Fig Chutney
    Parmesan Shortbread Rounds

    Jyoti
    Jyoti
    A meal, with bread and wine, shared with friends and family is among the most essential and important of all human rituals.
    Ruhlman
  • Post #29 - November 10th, 2007, 11:40 am
    Post #29 - November 10th, 2007, 11:40 am Post #29 - November 10th, 2007, 11:40 am
    homemade limoncello is SO easy to make!
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #30 - November 26th, 2007, 3:15 pm
    Post #30 - November 26th, 2007, 3:15 pm Post #30 - November 26th, 2007, 3:15 pm
    I'd like to give people an assortment of cookies this holiday. However, here's the catch. I want to present the cookies in a nice airtight, durable, practical container that can be used year round. When I present it, I'd like to tie a nice ribbon around the container. I've done holiday tins in the past, but those just don't quite cut it this time. I've surfed various websites, but not coming up with anything that really strikes my fancy. Any suggestions?

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