A few herbal inspired holiday gift ideas

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.


Comments

  1. What lovely photos, they had me drooling and look so warm and Christmassy. Vanilla spiced honey is going straight on my to make list, it sounds divine!
    xx

    • Danielle Charles says:

      Thank you Lucinda 🙂 I’ve made up a big batch of your Christmassy bath oil (the one with frankincense and myrrh) and have really been enjoying it. Almost everyone on my list will be getting some too!

  2. Oh my!
    What delicious ideas!!!!!

    I am afraid my family would ‘eat’ the ‘Orangette Lip Balm’ (or at least like their lips all the time to ask for more ‘lip protection’)

    And the ‘Vanilla Chai honey’… this is so great!
    I can imagine to make a quick chai instead of a quick coffee! (And that means something for a coffee addict!)

    It never thought of sprinkling rose hips onto biscuits… are they not too hard to eat after baking?

    Thanks a lot for such wonderful recipes, can’t wait to try them out!

    • Danielle Charles says:

      Brigitte,

      Yes that is most definitely a danger with the lip balm! Fortunately it smells more chocolaty than it tastes, so it isn’t too addictive when it comes to lip licking 🙂

      The rose hips I used we’re coarsely ground, and after they bake they lose their chewiness and become brittle, getting nice and crunchy, like biting into a granular piece of sugar almost. I was experimenting with natural sprinkle ideas, and they caught my eye sitting in the herb cupboard, looking so glossy and red. I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out after baking, but I was really pleased. The sour tanginess combines quite nicely with the spicy ginger flavor of the biscuit, and they retain their beautiful color too!

      I’m glad you like the recipes! I have also been very inspired by yours, I am still salivating over the marinated sheep’s feta! And the herb wreath looks so beautiful! I especially love the idea for the children’s mystery box game! So clever, and it is always challenging for me to think up creative gifts for kids, so I was very grateful for that idea 🙂

  3. Oops, lick not like their lips…

  4. Thanks Danielle,

    just another question… how long do you leave the ‘Chai honey’ to infuse before using?
    It smells so divine I can’t wait to find out how it will taste in my cup 🙂

    I was thinking of adding your post to my last blog party (Herbal gifts for Christmas)
    Would that be ok for you?
    I assume people will always come back to the party post links so it doesn’t matter if I add yours that late…

    • Danielle Charles says:

      Brigitte,
      I think you will be happy to know that you don’t have to waite at all to try out the chai honey! Since you mix the powders directly in with the honey, there is no infusion time necessary…so go ahead and dig in!

      I would also be honored to be included in the previous blog party! That is very thoughtful and kind of you 🙂

  5. I have to admit I couldn’t resit and already tried my Chai 🙂
    It is delicious!!!!!!!!
    I guess I am hooked and like to try other combinations…
    It is even quicker to make and take as my coffee and so I have finally a healthy alternative 🙂

    Thanks a lot for allowing me to link to your wonderful post.
    Off to do it…

    Many thanks and herbal hugs from New Zealand

  6. Ohhhh I love the sound of the Orangette lip balm, I’ll have to try it out, I want to make some vanilla lip balm, I thought about peppermint and vanilla as well. Some lovely recipes and thanks for joining our blog party, I look forward to learning from you and sharing many recipes and views in the future.

    Herby Hugs – Debs x

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  1. […] shares such delicious recipes I couldn’t resist to ask her if she joins in… Here is a link to her awesome ‘Vanilla Cahi honey’, Orangette Lip balsam’ and heavenly […]

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