As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may find yourself wondering what to give to all of the special people in your life, especially that special someone. Many people find themselves with longs lists, but short on gift ideas. Valentine’s Day stirs up endless questions on the definition of a perfect gift.
So this year, why don’t you spend your valuable time creating a few gifts with your family instead? The beauty and simplicity of homemade gifts can be the answer to all of your gift-giving conundrums.
Together as a family, you can spread the love by making a few simple homemade creations using local honey as the focal point. I’m partial to honey from The Hamptons Honey Company and love including jars of it along with our creations. This year, we’ll be including it in our Honey and Cheese Baskets as well as using it as a main ingredient in Honey Lollypops and Honey and Green Tea Sugar Scrubs.
1. Honey & Cheese Baskets
Food always makes a great gift for people that love to eat and entertain. For the foodies in your life, put together an edible gift basket of local honey, soft ripened brie, and sweet raspberry jam. You can even include a handmade recipe card for baked brie, beautifully illustrated by your children. A recipe for baked brie makes a quick and easy appetizer for entertaining guests. This edible gift will put a smile on the face of a close pal, co-worker or party hostess.
Baked Brie Recipe:
1 Puff Pastry sheet, thawed according to package directions (they are usually sold in a 17.3 ounce package of two)
1, 8-ounce Brie round
1 tablespoon of water
2-3 tablespoons of jam (I love my Holiday Jam in this recipe)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Carefully unfold the pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface so the pastry does not stick to the counter top.
Step 2: Using a sharp paring knife, carefully slice off the white top of the brie round. Leave the sides and bottom. Place the brie in the center of the pastry sheet. Using a fluted pastry cutter, trim the pastry so that you have just enough pastry to fold it up over the cheese to cover it. You’ll want to make a neat little package.
Step 3: Roll out the excess pastry and using a holiday cookie cutter, cut out a decorative shape for the top of the pastry package. Gently place the pastry cut-out onto the top of the brie round.
Step 4: Beat your egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the pastry seams with the egg mixture and pinch shut. Place the brie onto a baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture.
Step 6: Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.
2. Green Tea & Honey Sugar Scrub
Everyone should take the time to indulge in self-care to combat the hectic pace of the holiday season. With a few simple ingredients that you likely have sitting in your pantry, you can whip up this simple, fragrant gift. Children will enjoy heartily stirring the tea, honey and sugar together. Once the sugar scrub is packaged in mason jars, have your children help design and decorate them with homemade labels. This honey and green tea sugar scrub will have the tea-lovers in your life dreaming of their next bath.
Green Tea Honey Sugar Scrub Recipe:
1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
2 green tea bags
1 teaspoon honey
1 2/3 cups turbinado sugar
1 tea bag steeped in 1/4 cup boiling water
Step 1: Using a large bowl, combine all ingredients as listed above. Mix well to combine. Store in 4-ounce mason jars, tied with a ribbon, or an air tight container. Makes 4, 4-ounce jars.
3. Honey Lollypops
A holiday without sweets, isn’t much of a holiday at all. Homemade honey lollipops will satisfy the sweet tooth in all of us. These delicious little treats can be enjoyed on their own, or stirred into warm milk and tea for extra sweetness. Children will love being the official taste testers as they place them into mason jars for gifting. Adorn with bright ribbon and jingle bells for extra flair.
Honey Lollypop Recipe:
1 cup honey
20 lollypop sticks
Step 1: Line a work surface with parchment paper. Lay your lollypop sticks down, with enough room between them to pour honey.
Step 2: In a small saucepan, cook honey over medium-high heat until it reaches the hard crack stage. If you have a candy thermometer, this will be at 302 F. If you don’t, this process takes about 10 minutes. To test, simply drop a bit of honey into a cup of ice cold water. If it hardens, it’s ready. If it doesn’t, keep going. Keep an eye on your honey so it doesn’t burn.
Step 3: When your honey is ready, remove from burner. Using a teaspoon, drop small circles of honey onto the parchment paper. After you spoon 5 honey circles, press lollypop sticks firmly into the center of each circle. Twist the sticks around a bit to make sure they get stuck into place. Repeat with the rest of the honey and sticks until finished.
This story was originally published in December 2016.