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Make Tea Liqueur for Gifting

Liqueurs, sweetened infusions, have long been used as digestifs: quick little shots to aid digestion after an especially hearty meal, like Christmas dinner. To make a homemade liqueur, you simply infuse ingredients into a base liquor, then sweeten the resulting liquid. Some liqueurs, like a ratafia of quince, can take months to make. But you can make a really delicious, intriguing tea liqueur in just a few hours.

Think of this recipe as more of an equation: Keep the proportions and change up the ingredients. For this version, I used a chai tea with a rooibos base. The blend of spices, once infused into vodka and sweetened, makes a natural complement to seasonal desserts like a nutmeg-spiked cake. But I’ve also made very good tea liqueurs with genmai cha, Earl Grey and, one of my favorites, jasmine green tea. Vodka is a good neutral base, but feel free to try other liquors. As for the sweetener, honey and sugar syrup work equally well – they just bring different flavors to the final result. (Sugar elevates the intrinsic flavors of the tea, whereas honey brings its own character.) If you want to dabble before committing to the volume of this recipe, just scale it down accordingly. It’s perfect for bottling up and gifting to loved ones — whether they share it with guests or sneak swigs while cleaning up in the kitchen is up to them.

Homemade Tea Liqueur Recipe

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31 Days of Cookies: Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Rocher

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. For the 21st day of cookies, we’re piling it on with Kelsey Nixon’s quick, easy pyramid-shaped coconut rocher.

Click here for the Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Rocher recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Peppermint Fudge Crinkle Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. For the 20th day of cookies, we’re making Kelsey Nixon’s quick and easy peppermint-kissed fudge cookies.

Click here for the Peppermint Fudge Crinkle Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

Puerto Rican Pasteles: Tamales for the Holidays

Some people are just better at celebrating holidays. In Puerto Rico, the season starts after Thanksgiving and goes through Christmas and Three Kings Day to the Octavas and Octavitas, a religious observance that extends the celebration through mid-January. The Fiestas de la Calle de San Sebastián caps it all off over the course of three days in Old San Juan. Friends will show up at loved ones’ houses singing and playing music, like Christmas caroling but with maracas, güiros and cuatros.

It’s common during these celebrations to make large batches of pasteles. Similar to tamales, pasteles are a combination of grated green unripe bananas called guineos, plantains and either yautia or yuca, blended to make a masa seasoned with achiote oil. The filling — pork, ham or chicken simmered in a sofrito of peppers and onions, then mixed with garbanzos, olives, capers and raisins — is tucked into the prepared dough and wrapped in plantain leaves. Once the pasteles are filled and wrapped, they can be frozen, then steamed or boiled just before serving so they’re ready to welcome anyone who may turn up at your door.

Pasteles Puertorriqueños: Puerto Rican Tamales Recipe

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Alie & Georgia’s Homemade Canned Gift Ideas

As frugal gals at heart, wholly without use for fancy or expensive trinkets, our favorite gifts are those that encompass the following characteristics:

1. Useful
2. Unexpected
3. Homemade

It is with that in mind that we present our choice gift to give this year: jarred condiments. Yes, we said condiments. Also known as “stuff to put on things,” homemade condiments are a great way to add creative, interesting flair to any staples on the table.

Then, just put the “stuff to put on things” into a “thing that holds stuff,” also known as a Mason jar. As two vintage-inclined chicks, we’ve been extolling the virtues of the inexpensive yet kitschy vessel that is the Mason jar for years. They’re readily available at most grocery, kitchen and hardware stores and they’re cheap and adorable.

Below are some recipes for homemade condiments you can present in cute jars to turn your gift giving into something uniquely awesome. Attach a little label with serving suggestions, or make a gift basket with a few different jars of tasty things plus some recipes. Look! You just made someone’s whole year. Fine, that’s an overstatement, but they’ll be stoked.

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31 Days of Cookies: Honey-Almond Lace Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. For the 19th day of cookies, we’re dunking translucently thin honey-almond crisps in melted bittersweet chocolate.

Click here for the Honey-Almond Lace Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Spritz Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. For the 18th day of cookies, we’re going classic with ultra-versatile almond-scented spritz cookies

Click here for the Spritz Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. For the 17th day of cookies, we’re eating sunshine, courtesy of Giada’s bright, tart Lemon Ricotta Cookies, topped with a lemony sugar glaze.

Click here for the Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Christmas “Circus” Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. For the 16th day of cookies, we’re feasting on nostalgia with these frosted cookies, named for the colorful retro circus treats they resemble.

Click here for the Christmas “Circus” Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Caribbean Gingerbread Kidz

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. For the 15th day of cookies, classic gingerbread men get a spicy, gingery, hip makeover.

Click here for the Caribbean Gingerbread Kidz recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

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