Anyone can buy a gift…but to give a gift from your kitchen and your heart is really Something Special! [UPDATED]

Published 1:06pm Friday, November 9, 2012 Updated 1:06pm Friday, November 9, 2012

Recently, I gave a handmade “food themed” gift at a shower for a bride-to-be. She sought me out later and told me, “Thank you so much for your very personal gift. Anyone can go out and buy something, but this gift really took some thought and time. It made me feel very special.” Her thank-you made me feel special too!

The holidays are busier and busier, our funds get thinner and thinner, we keep accumulating more and more “stuff” and wish to de-clutter our lives . . . the answer? Give edible gifts from your own kitchen.

I know, you may not have traveled thousands of miles on a camel’s back, carrying gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but it does show how much you care and that you thought about the person. All of these gifts can be made well ahead of time, so your holiday time will be less stressful.



The Dill Beer Bread Mix has a long history at our home. This has been a gift for fellow teachers, friends, relatives, and countless others. It was the “go-to” gift for our rural mail carrier, Dale, for years. One day, a message was taped to our door saying: “Could I please have the recipe for that beer bread mix you always give me? I would like to make it for my family for the holidays!” I gladly shared the recipe, but from then on, he had to make his own!

You might combine this mix with a bread tin or an interesting bottle of beer, all wrapped in cellophane or simply give the mix alone in any decorative container.

Dill Beer Bread Mix

3 cups all purpose flour 1-1/2 tsp. salt 4-1/2 tsp. baking powder

3 T. sugar 2 T. dill weed

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients. Whisk together until well distributed. Place the mix in an airtight jar or plastic bag. Attach the following recipe to the mix.

DILL BEER BREAD (makes one loaf)

1 package beer bread mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 – 12 oz. bottle of beer or unflavored seltzer
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, combine the bread mix with the beer or seltzer and beat the mixture together with a wooden spoon or on low speed with an electric mixer. The batter will be lumpy. Place the mixture in a greased loaf pan. Pour 1/3 of the butter over the dough. Bake for 40 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the butter over the top of the bread. Continue baking for 10 minutes more. Pour the last 1/3 of the butter onto the bread and bake 10 minutes longer. Remove the bread from the oven. Allow to cool for 30-40 minutes before serving.


This Double Fudge Brownie Mix is for the chocolate lovers on your list. Package it layered in a wide- mouth canning jar, attach the recipe with a pretty ribbon, tie it on the jar and, ta-da!
Mission accomplished.

Double Fudge Brownie Mix

1 cup sugar    1/2 cup cocoa (regular, not Dutch processed)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour    1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Layer the ingredients into the jar in order (sugar/cocoa/flour/
nuts/chips), seal with the lid, attach the following recipe and decorate.

Double Fudge Brownies (makes 12)1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 package Double Fudge Brownie MixPreheat oven to 325°. Grease an 8” X 8” or 7” X 11” pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the Brownie Mix and continue to beat the mixture until it is smooth. Spread the mixture into the greased pan and bake for 40-50 minutes.


This Mulled Wine/Cider Spice Mix will warm up your holidays. If you need more servings, just double/triple the recipe. You could give this spice mix with a bottle of red wine or simply wrap the mix in a decorative container.

Mulled Wine/Cider Spice Mix (makes 1 cup, enough for four batches of mulled wine/cider)

10 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
1/3 cup whole cloves
1/3 cup whole allspice
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 T. dried orange peel
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and put into a decorative jar. Attach the following recipe to the jar.

1/4 cup Mulled Wine Spice Mix
1 bottle dry red wine or cider
3 cups white grape juice
Orange/lemon slices for garnish
In a medium saucepan, combine the Mulled Wine Spice Mix with the red wine and grape juice. Heat to boiling and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth and serve in mugs. Float a thin slice of orange/lemon in each mug for garnish.

Two lucky winners will have a head start on the holiday gift season with a set of mixes, gift bags and tags. Entries must arrive by December 15, 2012 via email: (enter “Holiday Gift Set” in the subject line) and email to: or by mail: IGC Prize Contest, Fergus Falls Journal, 914 E. Channing Ave., Fergus Falls, MN 56537.

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