Edible holiday gifts
Preparing a homemade gift is a great way to show someone how much you care. Edible gifts can bring twice the smiles— when they’re received and when they’re enjoyed. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Vodka is the most often infused spirit because of the clean palate it provides. However, light rum and non-complex gins may be handled in a similar fashion.
The following are some general directions and infusing suggestions to get you started on the creation of your own unique flavored spirits. Experiment with one of these and let your imagination take you from there. Once completed and sealed in a clean bottle, these strained, infused spirits will keep up to six months in the refrigerator.
- Put your selected flavoring in a clean glass jar. Top with spirit and seal. Let steep at room temperature for at least two days before tasting. (Soft-leaved herbs like basil and mint will need to be watched more closely. They may be done after only 36 hours.)
- Shake or stir once a day. Taste once a day to see how the flavors are developing. Sample your brew both “neat” (straight and unchilled) and on the rocks. You may continue to intensify the flavor by leaving the spirit on the infusion ingredient for up to two weeks.
- When you reach the desired flavor profile, strain the spirit immediately and discard the infusion ingredients. Filter the spirit through a cheesecloth and store another 1 to 2 weeks at room temperature to allow flavors to meld (again, taste occasionally to test for desired flavor intensity). Filter through cheesecloth occasionally as necessary to keep color. Many of these infusions take on a lovely, appealing hue from their flavoring ingredients.
Everything used here should be washed and dried before going into the spirits.
- 2 cups fresh fruit, like peaches, apricots or pears (in large chunks) or berries
- 2 fresh vanilla beans, split lengthwise
- 1 cup peeled, chopped pineapple, 1 split vanilla bean and 1 tablespoon light honey
- 3 Meyer lemons, finely sliced and 1 tablespoon mild honey
- 1/3 cup whole coffee beans and 1 split vanilla bean
- 1/3 cup peeled and chopped ginger root, 1 orange, finely sliced and 1 tablespoon mild honey
- 1/4 cup slightly crushed basil or mint leaves (strain after 1 1/2 to 2 days)
Joy in a jar
A pretty glass jar full of delicious treats or custard can be an appealing gift to all the senses. Here are some ideas for creating the perfect jar to gift.
More edible gift ideas
Here are two more ideas for edible holiday gifts everyone would love to receive.
Spiced Mixed Nuts
There are lots of recipes online for adding your favorite spice–from curry, to chili and brown sugar–to your favorite nuts. Well-toasted and packed in a container with a tight lid, these will last for up to 3 weeks.
Dip your favorite salted pretzels into melted chocolate and let harden on a sheet of wax paper. This looks beautiful with a mix of white and dark chocolate. To create another interesting variation, sprinkle chopped nuts into the chocolate before it hardens. These can be packaged, after hardening, for up to 2 weeks.