“Gourmet gifts to make” Create your own foodie gift hampers – Today with Sean O’Rourke 22nd November 2013

Christmas is fast approaching so please read on below for some great ideas for creating your own foodie themed Christmas presents at home. Also I have included recipes for Hot Chocolate Stirrers and Tea and Cookies Gift Box.

Catherine x

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Hamper Ideas – DIY popcorn kit? We all watch movies during the Christmas season so it is a great gift. Pour corn into a cellophane bag or even a homemade fabric bag and seal, add a jar of homemade salt caramel. A small jar of chilli and lime powder (which is just chilli powder and lime zest) and add a little wooden scoop with some cardboard boxes and there you have it.

Recipes in jars – These are very popular – use recipes like apricot and white chocolate muffins or flapjack or even hot chocolate mixes.  It is important to choose recipes that have a lot of dried ingredients in them like dried fruits, different flour. A good examples is  a DIY – rocky road jar.  You will need a large kilner jar -white chocolate, mini marshmallows, grated coconut, dried cranberries and some dried chopped apricots and pistachio nuts as well as biscuits like ginger or rich teas.  

Foodie Present  – an oven glove with equipment like meat thermometer, tongs, homemade jar of spicy meat seasoning and a salt and pepper grinder.    

Children’s Hamper – Children just love baking.  Brownies are a great bake for them.   Ensure that there is a recipe, pretty cupcake cases, a whisk, a chef’s hat, baking tray, wooden spoon and a jar with the ingredients layered, as well as sprinkles.  

Packaging – choose only 2 colours – like cream and gold and a few sparkly bits. Ensure that everything is labeled and that the ingredients are shown, eg nuts etc.  If you are including a recipe – make sure that it will work out for your friends.

Consider the amount of packaging that you are using because there is an enormous pile left on the 26th.  Recycle it and use eco friendly items: eg transform old Christmas cards into gift tags.

 

Hot Chocolate Stirrers

Makes 6 to 8 depending on the size of the ice tray

 Relax by the fire and enjoy a warm comforting drink, the concept of these is to warm a small mug of milk, add a little sugar, if necessary, and add the chocolate stirrer creating a delicious Christmas yummy drink.  

 120g dark chocolate drops

2 tbsp Irish cream liqueur or any of your favourite

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

30g mini white marshmallows 

 6 to 8 lolly sticks

Red ribbon, for decorating

Cellophane bags, for packaging

 

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Add the liqueur and the ground cinnamon and mix well.

Carefully spoon into an ice cube tray and leave the chocolate to cool slightly.

Arrange the marshmallows on top of the chocolate and carefully insert the lolly sticks into the chocolate. Do not move until completely set. Check that they are standing straight from time to time. The setting time is at least 6 hours or overnight.

When complete gently twist the tray and the stirrers will “pop” out.

Tie a ribbon onto each chocolate stirrer and pack into the bags, seal and add a label.

 

Tea and Cookies Gift Box

Makes 1 box

 When purchasing the box just keep in mind the size and that  the tea bags and cookies have to fit comfortably into it.

 For the biscuit box

Makes about 24 biscuits

180g butter, softened

180g golden caster sugar

½ tsp vanilla bean paste

1 egg yolk

250g flour

125g dark chocolate drops

1 orange, juice and zest

 For the tea box

12 individually wrapped tea bags

 For the packaging

Corrugated cardboard

1 medium size box with lid

Cellophane wrap

Ribbon

 

To make the biscuits, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, add the vanilla bean paste. Stir in the egg yolk.

Fold in the flour, chocolate, orange juice and zest.

Shape the dough into a thin cylinder shape and wrap in cling film.

Place in the fridge for half an hour.

Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4. 

Slice the cookie dough into 1/2cm slices and place on the lined baking trays.

Bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden and baked.

Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

 To assemble the box.  Pile the biscuits into 2 towers and wrap each in the shape of a Christmas cracker so that it fits lengthways into the box. Tie ribbons on both end.  Divide the box into 3 sections with the corrugated cardboard, place the tea bags standing up in the centre and the biscuits on each side. Cover with a sheet of cellophane and place the lid on. Wrap a piece of ribbon around the box and tie a bow.  

 

 

 

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