From the endless parties to the stress of finding the right gift, the holidays can get hectic. This year, find time to slow down and connect more with family and friends by passing the feeling of comfort, togetherness and good health –the feeling of milk. Share good taste and joy with delicious gifts from your kitchen.
DIY gifts are personal and unique. Show you care with homemade holiday gifts, with your holiday hostess or host at the top of your gift list!
This sauce makes a wonderful topping for ice cream, bread pudding and French toast, or as a dip for fruit. The recipe can create three sweet 4-oz gifts when bottled in small glass jars.
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon bourbon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Boil sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally. Cook until caramel is the color of iced tea, about 10 minutes, watching closely. This can scorch quickly.
2. Remove from heat and add cream and bourbon (watch out for steam!), whisking to combine. Keep off the heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer sauce to a bowl to cool (and thicken).
Store covered in the refrigerator. To serve, heat slowly in the microwave or over low heat in a saucepan.
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup peppermint crunch baking chips
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Gradually add flour and mix on low until combined. Add baking chips and continue mixing on low until fully combined.
On wax paper or parchment paper, form dough into a 12- to 14-inch log and freeze at least 30 minutes or until firm.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the shortbread dough into 1/4-inch slices and bake for 13 to 15 minutes on parchment lined baking sheets.
If desired, dip cookies halfway into melted chocolate and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
Spice Mix for Dips
A homemade spice mix comes together quickly and turns into tasty dips when blended with sour cream, Geek yogurt or cream cheese. I like to mix a big batch of the dry ingredients, divide among small containers, and include a tag with serving instructions. Here are my favorite crowd-pleasers, but feel free to get creative with the spices in your kitchen!
Each recipe makes 12 gifts—one full tasty dip per gift when mixed with one cup of the preferred dairy base.
Dill Dip Mix
·3 ¼ tablespoons dill weed
·¾ tablespoons kosher salt
·1 ½ tablespoons garlic powder
·3 ¼ tablespoons onion flakes
·3 ¼ tablespoons parsley flakes
Tuscan Dip Mix
·¼ cup dried basil
·2 tablespoons garlic powder
·2 tablespoons dried oregano
·2 tablespoons dried thyme
·2 tablespoons dried rosemary
Gingerbread Dip Mix
·1 ½ cup dark brown sugar
·1 ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
·2 tablespoons ground ginger
·2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
·1 teaspoon nutmeg
If you don’t have time to cook, but want a unique gift, arrange three or four different cheeses (wrapped) on a chalkboard from a craft store. Write out the names of the cheeses in chalk and… Voila! A perfect hostess gift.
1. Use a variety of real dairy cheese. Soft, Semi-Soft and Hard. Label cheeses.
2. Round out with sides: Nice crackers, dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, unique jams (fig jam, jalapeno jelly, etc.)
3. Add a simple but festive garnish such as a sprig of rosemary, a few fresh cranberries and cinnamon sticks, radish rose, etc.
4. Appropriate utensils.
Find these recipes and more at www.milkmeansmore.org – You’ll also find downloadable holiday gift tags and recipes cards in our “4 Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas” blog.