Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sugar and spice

I know that Martha Stewart has probably told you one too many times what great gifts homemade foods can be, but there are a couple of inventive ideas out there that may have yet to cross your mind.

First up, homemade vanilla extract. Any baker on your list will appreciate such a luxury and may even repay you with some cookies made with it. Check out My Baking Addiction for a recipe and more photos. Bonus points if you make your own bottle label!

For another sweet treat, try whipping up some flavored sugar for the coffee lover you know. Check out the lavender vanilla sugar Joy The Baker whipped up here. As she says, it's the perfect gift along with a bag of yummy coffee beans.

If your recipient is more into salty than sweet, try this recipe for Sweet-and-Spicy Pecans from Derek's mom, Chris! You can also try packaging these in a mason jar or get crafty with some ribbon and stamps on a simple brown lunch bag.

Sweet-and-Spicy Pecans
Makes 1 cup

1/4 cup plus 2 TB sugar
1 cup warm water
1 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Stir together the 1/4 cup sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Add the pecans and soak for 10 minutes. Drain and discard the liquid. Combine the remaining sugar, chili powder and red pepper in a bowl. Add the pecans and toss to coat. Place the pecans in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once. Enjoy!

P.S. I LOVE how these s'mores were wrapped here

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