It’s never to early to start making homemade gifts. Less expensive and more personal, they can also be easy to make. If you don’t know what to buy, or are attending a party, a gift from the kitchen can be the perfect solution.
Gifts From Children
Since most children have limited funds, creative homemade gifts are more authentic than something bought in their name. What could be better than homemade gifts for grandma, or homemade gifts for teachers. Butters, granola and flavored sugars are all easy family-friendly kitchen projects.
Although I am not a child, I still prefer a simple project. Something slightly unusual, but easy to make in bulk. This year my theme is lavender sugar.
Instead of a bottle of wine or a fragrant candle, it’s nice to bring something different to a party. I’ve chosen lavender sugar because it is so versatile.
What to Do with Lavender Sugar
Although flavored sugars are often used in baking, they can also add flavor to butters, whipped cream and drinks. Now that Starbucks have become an ubiquitous feature of the American landscape, coffee and tea drinking have been embraced by young and old alike. Almost everyone now has a favorite coffee or tea. Personally, I like the floral flavors of lavender sugar with tea, or when added to a latte. I also think lavender sugar is delicious when added to whipped cream for fruit pies or made into a compound butter for breakfast biscuits or scones.
Homemade Gifts for Men
Since many people find men hard to shop for, I thought I would share my holiday gift idea. For the men on my list I’m making a gift of lavender sugar, syrup and a cocktail recipe. My favorite lavender cocktail is a Lavender Martini. The recipe is from the Cypress restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina and was published in Food & Wine magazine. My variation is slightly more indulgent than the original. Instead of garnishing with a sprig of lavender, I gild the lily by encasing the rim of the glass in lavender sugar. Since winter is long in Chicago, I hope this drink can substitute for a trip to the south of France.
Find out why you want Vernors Ginger Ale for Thanksgiving and get my mom’s holiday punch recipe in my blog post about the Detroit original. Also for holiday dessert ideas: try my recipes for chocolate rugelah and tiramisu.
Makes 2 cups
1 tablespoon culinary lavender buds
2 cups sugar
Add the lavender and 1 cup of sugar to a food processor and process until well blended. Mix the fine-ground lavender sugar with 1 cup sugar. Divide into 2 decorative containers.
Makes 1 cup
1 cup lavender sugar
1 cup water
Add the water and sugar to a saucepan. Heat over medium. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool. Strain.Pour the cool syrup into a decorative bottle.