A few herbal inspired holiday gift ideas

by Danielle Charles

The holidays are nearly upon us. I have to admit that I still have much to do in terms of gift making, but one more day spent busily working away in the kitchen should just about do it. While most years, I make elaborate plans to make my own gifts and then fail miserably, running around last-minute in a semi-crazed state – this year I am bound and determined to succeed. I have been busy these last few weeks testing recipes, eating the mistakes, and getting things just right. Here are my favorites so far:

Orangette Lip Balm

Have you every had orangette – that lovely French treat of candied orange peel dipped in chocolate? Well if you have, and even if you haven’t, I think you can appreciate the beauty of this orange scented lip balm that contains ACTUAL dark chocolate..

Ingredients:

  • 40 ml castor oil
  • 30 ml macadamia nut or sweet almond oil
  • 15 grams beeswax
  • 15 grams cocoa butter
  • 10 grams organic dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 20 drops orange essential oil

Directions:

In a double boiler over very low heat, melt the oils, beeswax, cocoa butter and chocolate. Take off the heat and add the essential oil, stirring rapidly for 30 seconds or so to incorporate. Pour into tins or tubes, cap and let the mixture set until firm before moving.

Vanilla Chai Honey

All the delicious spiciness of chai packed into a jar of honey. Just a spoonful stirred into a cup of hot water and you have instant chai – that delicious, warming drink just perfect for a chilly winters night. Of course, nobody has to know if you just go ahead and eat it by the spoonful…

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups raw, organic honey
  • 1/4 cup powdered cardamom
  • 1/4 cup powdered cinnamon
  • 1/8-1/4 cup powdered ginger, depending on spice level preferred
  • 1 tbs powdered cloves
  • 1 tbs powdered mace
  • 1 tbs vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp black ground black pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well blended. The mix should be fairly thick, like a thick frosting. Add more honey if you need to – as some honeys are thicker than others.

Edible Gingerbread Ornaments with Rosehip Sprinkles

While not exactly a gift per say, these ornaments make a delicious, fun and affordable way to decorate your tree. They also make great favors for guests (especially of the little kind), who can select their favorites from the tree and nibble away at leisure. They also give off the most delightful spicy fragrance as they hang from the tree…

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 heaped tablespoons molasses
  • 1 eggyolk
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbs ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3-4 tbs milk
  • 1 cup rose hips pieces

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the molasses and the egg yolk.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Break open the cardamom pods and crush the seeds slightly under the weight of the knife. Add to the mix.

Combine everything together by adding the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir well, adding in the milk a tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached a point where you can clump the dough together in your hands and roll it out easily.

Roll the dough onto a lightly floured board to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and lay on a parchment lined baking tray.  Sprinkle with the rose hips, and bake about 12-14 minutes, or until risen and golden. Once out of the oven, use a chopstick to poke a hole into each ornament, making sure to poke all the way through the cookie.  Cool on a wire rack, and then string with ribbon or twine for hanging.