Monday, December 3, 2012

13 easy DIY gifts from the kitchen kids can make

121204_CPE_DIY gifts
1. Smoked Paprika Almonds, 2. Spiced Nuts, 3. Citrus Salt, 4. Infused Honey, 5. Creamed Honey, 6. Butter, 7. Preserved Lemons, 8. Play Dough, 9. Coconut Lime Scrub, 10. Fleur de Sel Bon Bons, 11. Brigadeiros, 12. Peppermint Bark

We have a baker's dozen simple kitchen gifts that are kid-friendly and fun to make. Most require few ingredients and have a shelf life of at least a few weeks.

1. Roasted Almonds with Smoked Paprika and Lavender: A seductive snack for people who like a little spice in their lives.

2. Best Spiced Nuts: Make a double batch. Or triple. Trust us. Garam masala and Sriracha make these addicting.

3. Citrus Salt: Put lemon, lime, and orange rinds to good use in a terrific finishing salt.

4. Infused Honey: We haven't featured this before, but it's an easy one. Add spices or very dry herbs to a jar of honey. Let it sit for a week or two, then strain and enjoy. In years past we've made vanilla, sage, lavender, lemon, and more. Pictured above is this year's batch: star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla.

5. Creamed Honey: Liquid honey plus a dollop of creamed honey yields a big batch of homemade creamed honey. This takes a few minutes on the stove top and then two weeks' waiting time. Next year I want to try making creamed honey from infused honey...

6. Butter, Straight Up and Flavored: Start with cream, or skip ahead and blend herbs, spices, and other seasonings into softened butter. Pack into molds or roll up into a log for a creative gift.

7. Preserved Lemons: This takes a few weeks, but it's mostly waiting-around-time. Be sure to include some tips on how to use this tasty condiment.

8. Perfect Play Dough: What better gift to give young friends? Make any color you fancy, mix in a little sparkly glitter, add scents — a wonderful gift to personalize.

9. Coconut Lime Sea Salt Scrub: A fun sensory project to make, and a big hit with our teachers last year.

10. Fleur de Sel Bon Bons: This is a little messier than the other projects, but if you're up for it you and the kids will have a blast playing chocolatier in your kitchen.

11. Brigadeiros: Another slightly messy one, but messy stuff is usually the most fun. These delectable little candies disappear at parties — give a tray in little paper cups.

12. Peppermint Bark: A holiday classic, simple and delightful. Easy to make huge batches.

13. Vanilla Sugar: A super-simple bonus! Stick a vanilla bean in a jar of sugar. Done. It takes a few weeks for the flavor to infuse, but it lasts forever. It's a great way to extend the life of scraped pods too. (I get a pound of vanilla beans each year — that's about 100 — for $20 to $30 from this site.)

What are you making for gifts this year? We'd love to hear!

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