Homemade Christmas gifts
Every year I try to give a few homemade gifts here and there. This Christmas I had some grand ideas to make jams and chutneys but with starting a new job just before Christmas, I had to knock that one on the head and resolve to do it next year instead. I did manage to make a few homemade treats though!
Firstly I made some Gingerbread Latte cupcakes to take round to our friends when we went over for a Christmas get together. It was a good job that I did a practice run of these first which was a slight disaster since I only remembered about adding the cream when the buggers had been in the oven for 15 mins! Without cream though they just tasted like gingerbread and so my Mum's office were the happy recipients of the test batch! So I was very careful to add the cream on the second run. I cannot recommend this recipe - or the Lola's book - enough. All the cakes I've made so far have come out beautifully. I see that someone else has enjoyed this recipe and you can see it online here.
Next up were some mulled wine kits. I first made one last year as part of a gift box, but made a few this year to give on their own and I think they make a really nice gift. Even if people can't be bothered mulling the wine, at least they still have a nice bottle of red to drink! I got the instructions from BBC Good Food. All you need to do is put 85g demerera sugar, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg and 12 cloves onto a 25cm square piece of butter muslin (I got mine from Hobbycraft but I noticed that Lakeland were selling the individual squares this year), gather the sides together and tie into a pouch. Attach a cinnamon stick to the neck of the bag with some festive string, and tie the pouch around the neck of a standard bottle of red wine with some festive ribbon. Write the instructions on a gift tag and attach aswell: "Tip the contents of the bag into a pan with the wine and the cinnamon stick. Add a sliced orange and 300ml water. Simmer for 5 mins, then serve."
Finally, I made some Cookies in a Jar seen on The Pink Whisk's blog. I've seen a fair few of these on blogs over time, plus a lot of them in the shops too. I think these are a great idea but my problem is always that I don't really have anyone to give them to! Most of my friends who have an interest in baking do it regularly anyway so I thought there wouldn't be much point in this as a gift! I decided to make one for Mike's sister since she has made a few things here and there but as far as I know isn't a hardened baker. I think they make lovely gifts, and you can really play around with the ingredients to suit who you're giving it to. I definitely want to make these again! Plus I have two kilner jars to use up as I got a set of three!
That's it for the Christmas baking. I think another New Year's resolution for me should be to post about Christmas *at* Christmas this year...