Kitchen Gifts  

   In the great winter time season of gift-giving, the kindest gifts are those of peace and brotherly love. Perhaps more representative of these gifts are holiday presents made  by loving hands rather than purchased with resentful plastic. Here are some gifts that can be made in the kitchen for holiday giving. Use your computers to create festive labels and instruction leaflets to use in packaging these gifts to be truly unique. Give it a try...it is fun!   

Try mixing up a batch of this cocoa mix. It makes enough to give and leave some for your own family to use at home. Packaged in a festive holiday tin with instructions, you can box it up with some nice chocolate mugs and a bag of marshmallows. Add a carton of your homemade cookies and you have a present for a whole household.  
   Cocoa Mix Copyright 1988, Liz Waters  
   5 quart equivalent of nonfat dry milk 2 lbs. Nestle's Quik 1 lb. confectioners sugar 16 oz. jar of powdered dairy creamer  
   Mix the above ingredients well and store in an airtight container. Add four teaspoons of mix to a cup of boiling water for a quick cup of cocoa.   

For adult households on your mailing list, a tin of Viennese Coffee Mix can be packaged with some cookies.  
   Viennese Coffee Mix  
   2/3 cup instant coffee powder 2/3 cup sugar 3/4 cup dry non-dairy creamer 1/2 tsp. cinnamon dash of ground allspice, ground cloves and ground nutmeg  
   Combine and put in a festive airtight container. To mix, add 4 heaping tsp. to 8 oz. boiling water.  

Spice combinations make a nice gift, and the basic combinations can be altered to reflect your personal tastes or those of your intended recipient.  
   Curry Powder  
   2 tsp. mustard seed 1 tsp. fenugreek (or substitute 2 tsp. celery seed) 4 tbsp. ground coriander 4 tsp. ground cumin 4 tsp. tumeric 2 tsp. ground cardamom 2 tsp. mace 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper 1/2 tsp. each cayenne, ground ginger, ground cloves, and nutmeg.  
   Briefly roast the mustard and fenugreek seeds in a 300 degree oven. Let cool and grind to a powder with mortar and pestle (or coffee grinder). Mix thoroughly with remaining ingredients. Store in a tightly lidded container.   

Chili Powder  
   1 cup dried chili peppers 1/4 cup ground cumin 2 tablespoons garlic powder 1 tablespoon oregano 1 tablespoon (+ - according to personal taste) cayenne pepper  
   Remove stems and most of the seecds from the chil peppers. Shred coarsely. Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor container and whirl until powdered. Let chili powder settle before removing food processor lid.   

Gourmet Salt  
   1 cup salt 1 tsp. paprika 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. white pepper 1/4 tsp. celery salt 1/4 tsp. garlic salt  
   Combine all the ingredients. Package in shaker top container. Great spice for steaks, seafood, poultry, vegetables, and salads.    

Herb Salt  
   (use at table as a salt alternative)  
   Grind together with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder:  
   1 tsp. sweet basil leaf 1/2 tsp. dill 1/2 tsp. sea salt 1/2 tsp. thyme 1/2 tsp. celery seed 1/2 tsp. dried parsley  
   Using this condiment in place of salt cuts your sodium intake to around 30-40 milligrams instead of 200-300 milligrams in regular table salt.   

Capuccino Kit  
   Package together a pair of capuccino mugs, a bundle of stick cinnamon tied with a pretty ribbon, a nice bottle of a coffee liqueur, and a bag of gourmet espresso coffee beans.  
   To make capuccino...mix equal parts coffee liqueur and hot milk in a cup. Fill with hot espresso coffee, sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick stirrer.   

Carribean Coffee Liqueur  
             2 cups water           3 cups sugar           1 2 oz. jar instant coffee           1 fifth of Good Quality Vodka           2 vanilla bean, cut in 1" pieces  
             Make a light syrup by boiling first 3 ingredients for 14 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Cool.  Mix well with Vodka.  Pour into 2 bottles.  Add 1 vanilla bean to each bottle, stopper tightly.  Age in a cool place for 30 days, agitating bottles lightly occasionally. Strain into decanter and serve as a liqueur.   

Big Walk's Coffee Liqueur  
   10 oz. water 12 oz. sugar 2 oz. instant coffee powder 1/3 oz. vanilla extract 9 oz. cheap vodka 9 oz. cheap bourbon 1/3 oz. glycerine  
   Bring water, sugar, and coffee to a boil and let stand until lukewarm. Add vanilla, vodka, and bourbon. Let age about 4-6 weeks. Final mixture MUST be filtered. After filtration, add glycerine and mix well. Put in a nice decanter and it makes a great holiday gift.   

Like Tia Maria  
   2 cups water 2 cups white sugar 1/2 cup instant coffee powder 1/2 vanilla bean cut in pieces 1 1/2 cups rum  
   Bring water and sugar to a boil and boil until sugar dissolves.Remove from heat. Slowly add coffee and stir until dissolved. In a large, sterilized glass jar, add the vanilla bean and the rum to the cooled coffee mixture. Cover tightly and shake vigorously daily for three weeks. Strain, run through a coffee filter and bottle. (dark rum makes a richer liqueur) Makes 4 cups   

The following liqueur recipes call for this simple sugar syrup.  
   1 cup sugar 1/2 cup water  
   Boil water and sugar until sugar is dissolved - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Yield-1cup  
   As a smoothing agent, glycerine (available from wine-making supply shops or pharmacies) may be added at the rate of 1 tsp. per quart of liqueur.   

Like Amaretto (made with Pure Almond Extract)  
   1/2 cup sugar syrup 1/2 tsp. pure Almond Extract 1 1/2 cups vodka  
   Make sugar syrup and allow to cool. Place remaining ingredients and the syrup into a sterilized glass quart jar. Cover tightly and shake well. Drinkable in a few days. Yield-2 cups   

Like Amaretto (made with almonds)  
   3 oz. fresh, unblanched, unsalted almonds, peeled and chopped pinch of cinnamon 1 1/2 cups vodka 1/2 cup sugar syrup  
   In a sterilized, glass quart jar, combine ingredients. Shake well and allow to steep for about 2 weeks. Filter. Sweeten to taste with additional sugar syrup.  Let mature a few more weeks before serving. Yield-2 cups   

Chocolate Liqueur  
   2 tsp. pure chocolate extract (as used in baking) 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups vodka 1/2 cup sugar syrup  
   Place all ingredients in a sterilized glass quart jar. Let age for several days. Yield-2 cups   

Banana Liqueur  
   2 medium sized bananas, peeled 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1 cup sugar syrup 3 cups vodka  
   Mash the bananas sinto a sterilized quart jar. Add the vanilla, vodka, and cooled sugar syrup. Cover tightly and shake gently. Steep one week. Strain and then filter through coffee filter. Let age for 2-3 weeks. Yield-4 cups  
   Note: to make Creme de Banana, follow same instructions but double amount of sugar syrup used.    

Berry Liqueur  
   1 10 oz. package frozen, sweetened berries, thawed 1 1/2 cups vodka (or 1 cup vodka and 1/2 cup brandy) 1/4 cup sugar syrup  
   Add the berries and juice to the vodka in a sterilized glass jar. Stir and steep for one week. Crush berries through strainer and filter. Add sugar syrup to taste.    

Creme de Famboise  
   1 1/2 cup red raspberries grated peel of 1/2 lemon 3 cups brandy 2 cups sugar syrup  
   Lightly crush berries. Add lemon juice. Place in a large, sterilized glass jar with the brandy. Let stepp 2-4 weeks. Strain and filter, squeezing all of the berries through a fine cloth. Add the sugar syrup and mature 4-6 weeks. Makes 1 quart    

   5 tablespoons anise seed, crushed 1 1/2 tsp. fennel seed, crushed 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander 1 cup honey 3 cups 80 proof brandy  
   Combine the spices with the brandy and let steep in a sterilized glass jar for 2-3 weeks. Shake the jar occasionally and then strain the liquid through cloth (or coffee filter) several times. Add honey and stir. Let stand until clear.    

Apricot Cordial  
   6 heaping tablespoons thick apricot jam 3 1/2 cups 80 proof brandy 2 tablespoons honey  
   Whip the jam with the brandy in a blender. Put in a tightly closed, sterilized jar for 6 weeks. Strain through cloth and add honey. Mix well. Let stand to clear.

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