Last year I made Christmas Hampers for my family and also sold some to friends to give as gifts to their families. I had a fabulous time making them and really wish I’d had the time and energy to do it again this year but unfortunately not. Luckily for you lovely lot I am going to share what I put in the hampers and easy tips to do it yourself. A homemade hamper is such a lovely gift for someone special and so much cheaper than buying in a store although not as easy or convenient I admit.
So here is a pic of last years hampers:
Vanilla sugar – find how to make it here.
Spiced Salt – A Nigella recipe which you can below.
Orange and Vanilla Marmalade
Miniature Green & Blacks chocs
Mixed fruit soaked in rum
Epic Hot Chocolate – Jamie Oliver recipe which I will blog tomorrow
Garlic and Chilli Oil
Firstly what I would change if I was making them this year:
1. I would replace the cake tin with a basket. Although I liked the cake tin and its very handy and reusable I like the look of a basket.
2. Shortbread – I would make my own as so much tastier and a nicer touch I think. You can find my recipe here.
3. I would add some alcohol ..now I did actually include alcohol in some of the hampers I gave as I made flavoured Irish Cream using Plain Irish Cream with orange or peppermint flavoured extract but I would perhaps also add a small bottle of bubbly or wine depending on how thrifty I wanted to be.
The items my family loved:
1. The flavoured oil: my mum in particular loved this and I’ve refilled her bottle several times this year.
2. The epic hot chocolate – my sister loved this and I’m probably going to be roped into making some this year too. It makes a gooey thick drink perfect for dipping churros or waffles into.
3. The marmalade – Izzys great grandparents loved this.
4. The spiced salt/vanilla sugar – EVERYONE enjoyed these.
So how easy is it to do? Fairly easy, you just need some time.
Aside from the sugar, shortbread and hot choc recipes which I have already shared here are a few more recipes/tips to get you going:
Firstly depending on how many hampers you are making buy your olive oil in bulk and as high a quality as you can afford as it makes all the difference. A simple garlic and chilli oil is easy to make.
Using fresh red chillies and whole garlic cloves gently heat with your oil in a heavy based pan for around 15 mins on your hob to get rid of any bacteria which may be lurking on your garlic/chilli. You could use dried chilli flakes instead if you prefer but whole chillies look more effective in the bottle. Wait until cool and then pour into your sterilised bottles, seal immediately and they are good for a few months.
* I bought my bottles from Lakeland and they were reasonably priced.
For this you will need really good quality chocolate ( I went for dark) a block of marzipan and a packet of hazelnuts. Roll your marzipan into small balls then simply melt the chocolate ( I used the old Pyrex bowl over a saucepan method) and then dunk/roll your balls of marzipan and your hazelnuts into the choc and put on greaseproof paper to set. Whilst choc was still melted I added some little decorations ( white choc stars) but they aren’t necessary. Make small bags out of cellophane and add 4/5 chocs and tie with ribbon. Extremely easy but effective and tasty.
Festive spiced salt:
Mix together sea salt, pink/red peppercorns, dried chilli flakes and star anise in jars. This looks so incredibly pretty and tastes divine!
*Look out for special offers on luxury chocs such as Green & Blacks and throw a few into each hamper.
*Always add a candy cane or two for visual effect.
*Buy large packs of caster sugar and sea salt to make up your flavoured sugars/salts and mix them at least 1 month prior to Christmas to allow the flavour to develop.
* Tie pretty festive ribbon around jar and bottle necks.
* Buy labels from craft shops and handwrite the description/date of creation on them.
*Make sure you sterilise your jars.
Coming up later this week…recipe for Epic hot choc and peppermint creams!