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Gifts In Jars: Homemade Cookie Mixes, Soup Mixes, Candles, Lotions, Teas, and More!

                  I love making edible gifts to give for the holidays and besides my old standbys, this year I’ll be using recipes Natalie Wise’s Gifts in Jars: Homemade Cookie Mixes, Soup Mixes, Candles, Lotions, Teas, and More!  The book, written by Natalie Wise, gives a list of the supplies needed and step-by-step instructions for quickly making a range of gifts ranging from practical to elegant to fun. The book is divided into five gift categories: “Kitchen” featuring such present ideas as Monster Brownie Mix and Barbecue Rub, “Bath and Body” (Sweet Sleep Kit and ManicureKit), “For the Home” (Scented Oil Diffuser with Reeds),” Party and Kids” (Big Bubbles with Wands) and “For and From the Garden” (Fairy Garden Kit and Garden Marker Rocks).  Using Mason jars, ribbon and tags (Wise suggests what to write on the tag so people know what to do with you gift), these ideas always seem to be welcome at holiday time.

Hot Fudge Topping

Makes approximately 4 cups

¾ cup heavy cream

½ cup light corn syrup

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, chocolate and butter. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and stir constantly for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour into jars and let cool.

Will keep refrigerated for several weeks.

Tag Instructions: Store in refrigerator. Before eating, warm desired amount in microwave or double boiler.

Soup mixes

Coffee Syrups:

Chocolate, coconut and raspberry syrups are great gifts for coffee lovers.

Each recipe makes approximately 2 cups.

Chocolate Syrup

1 ½ cups water

1 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes until smooth and remove from heat.

Funnel into jars. Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Coconut Syrup

1 ½ cups water

1 tablespoon sugar

¾ cup sweetened flaked coconut

Combine all ingredients together in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until mixture comes to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.

Funnel into jars. Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Raspberry Syrup

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

¾ up fresh raspberries

Combine all ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Mash the raspberries using a metal potato masher or the back of a spoon. Turn heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds and pulp. Funnel into jars and let cool. Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Tag Instructions: Stir 2-4 tablespoons into your coffee beverage of choice. Keep syrup in refrigerator.

Lentil-Curry Soup Mix

1 cup green lentils

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon celery salt

2 tablespoons dried basil

1 cup red lentils

3 slices freeze-dried apples

Layer the ingredients in order given, places the freeze-dried apple slices on top just  under the lid.

Tag Instructions: Empty mix into soup pot and add 6 cups of water. Simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Excerpted from Gifts in Jars: Homemade Cookie Mixes, Soup Mixes, Candles, Lotions, Teas, and More! by Natalie Wise with permission from Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

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