Christmas recipes for gifts | Going beyond the cookie plate

Christmas gift hot cocoa

A "remixed" hot cocoa can be an easy, fresh Christmas recipe for giving. Image: Flickr / stevendepolo / CC-BY

Christmas recipes for gifts usually fall into two categories: cookies or candy. This year, you can still save money and be creative with new Christmas recipes for gifts. With just a little work and some fun packaging, you can cover your holiday gift list quickly and easily.

Christmas recipes for gifts: Remix classic cocoa

There are several “classic” Christmas recipes for gifts that are easy and quick to put together and even easier to remix. For a flavored hot cocoa mix, combine 1 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 5 cups powdered milk and 20 crushed peppermint candies. You can also replace the peppermint candies with a package of cherry Kool-Aid for cherry hot cocoa, or 1 cup instant coffee granules for a mocha mix. Include instructions to mix 3 tablespoons with hot water or milk, and it’s a tasty holiday gift recipe.

Gift recipe for Christmas: Homemade soda

If you’re feeling ambitious, an often under-used holiday recipe that makes a great gift is homemade soda. You have two options – “naturally” carbonated or “artificially” carbonated. If you, or a friend of yours, has a keg system, then artificially carbonated is the way to go. Naturally carbonated sodas use yeast, and while the results can vary a bit from batch to batch, it can be done safely. Start by collecting used plastic soda bottles with caps — 20-ounce or two-liter work great. Sanitize those, a five-gallon bucket and a funnel. Combine 1 gallon hot water with 2 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons soda extract or flavoring extract (available at most grocery stores). If you are artificially carbonating, pour the mixture into your keg system and carbonate away. If naturally carbonating, add 1/4 teaspoon champagne yeast (available at any home-brew supply shop), pour into bottles and store in a room temperature space for three days. Once bottled, label and refrigerate, and you’ve got a cheap, flavorful, and fun Christmas gift to give away.

Christmas recipes for gifts: Flavored vinegars

If you have a salad fiend on your holiday list, a flavored vinegar can give an extra kick to their dressings, and it is easy to make. Stuff any sterilized jar about 1/3 full of bruised herbs, then fill with boiling vinegar. Seal and let steep in the fridge for two weeks, and it’s ready to be gifted.

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