By Levana Kirschenbaum
When it comes to gift giving, I only have eyes for the homemade and natural, so I find gift baskets an unbeatable way to treat family and friends on special occasions, whether it’s a holiday like Christmas or Purim, or an opportunity to uplift someone with a get-well or care package. Plus I love putting together a personalized selection of fun and useful homemade goodies. (Yes, I said fun and useful—absolutely not an oxymoron.) Here are my suggestions for doing it right:
Have you just found the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe?
Or the perfect raspberry vinegar or chutney recipe? Share it with your friends in your gift baskets. Let them sample it, and include your recipe.
Leave out the mystery.
We often get stumped trying to find a name, let alone a use, for some of the mysterious confections we find in our gift baskets. In my opinion, you can always start with serious ingredients and end up with fun results!
A few logistical guidelines …
Don’t include anything that demands immediate refrigeration, such as a meat- or fish-based sauce, a chocolate truffle or a cheesecake. Also, avoid fragile treats, like lace cookies or fruit pie, unless you’re going to deliver the basket immediately and the goodies won’t suffer in transit.
I will leave the presentation entirely up to you
I’ll just say that when you give something wonderful, you shouldn’t obsess about the packaging. Let all the promise be found in, not around, the gift. I guarantee you will never again have the heart to get the store-bought version.
Levant Kirschenbaum of LevanaCooks.com is the author of several cookbooks, including her latest, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen, which includes an extensive pantry chapter for the recipes below. Click on each one to see recipe!
Hot Pepper Jelly
Chai Tea Spice Mixture
Apple Raisin Chutney
Pesto Sauce. All Variations
Japanese Pickles. Kimchi Variation
Grapefruit Liqueur. Apple Variation
Sugar-Free Orange Marmalade
Tehina Chocolate Nut Butter. All Variations
Date Power Bars
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Zucchini Walnut Chocolate Chip Bread
Hot Chocolate Mix
Dry Spice Rub
Date Nut Bread