DIY Holiday Gifts Advent Calendar

DIY Holiday Gifts Advent Calendar

Making your own food gifts for the holidays not only saves money but is a real expression of generosity. Every day we'll reveal a new DIY food gift that you'll still have time to make and will keep until the holidays. Check back every day for a new project!

21
MORE DAYS
Amaretto
Preserved Lemons
White "Groom's" Fruitcake
Canned Cocktail Onions
Fennel Digestif
Spiced Rum
Candied Grapefruit Zest
Grenadine
Cherry-Vanilla Bitters
Bloody Mary Salt
Thai Beef Jerky
Ginger-Infused Vodka
Meyer Lemon Digestif
Chocolate-Dipped Salted Caramels
Hot Sauce
Citrus Salt
Chile-Infused Tequila
Salmon Jerky
Orange Digestif
Tropical Spelt Granola
Tonic Syrup
Chocolate Toffee Pumpkin Seed Bark
Orange Marmalade Truffles
Pandoro
Caramel Corn

Amaretto

This homemade liqueur takes about a month of infusing time. You'll soak nuts and dried fruit in a mix of brandy and vodka, then filter and sweeten the infusion. The end product is way better than store-bought because it's less sweet and full of real almond flavor.

Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons need about a month to ferment. To make them, soak whole lemons in water, cut the lemons partway open, pack them in jars with salt and spices, and age in a warm spot. They add a funky salty-and-sour flavor to any dish.

White "Groom's" Fruitcake

Fruitcake can actually be good. This one ages for three to four weeks. Make the batter, mix in bourbon-soaked dried fruit and nuts, bake, and store in an airtight container, brushing with bourbon every 10 days. No gross neon-colored fruit required!

Canned Cocktail Onions

This project only takes about an hour of prep, plus overnight brining. Make a batch ahead of time and store until Christmas. Brine the onions, then pack them into jars with a spiced pickling liquid and process the jars to seal them. These pickled onions will add class to anyone's home bar set-up.

Fennel Digestif

This is an after-dinner drink that takes about six days of steeping time but keeps for weeks in the freezer until it's time to give it away. Simply soak fennel fronds and seeds in high-proof alcohol, then add sugar syrup. Fans of ouzo or sambuca will appreciate its licorice-y flavor.

Spiced Rum

This rum takes 24 hours to infuse and is shelf stable. Buy a bottle of gold rum; add vanilla, orange peel, and spices; and let it sit overnight. It's less artificial-tasting than Captain Morgan, and makes great tiki drinks.

Candied Grapefruit Zest

It takes a few hours to make this grown-up candy, but it's easy. Slice the peel off of several grapefruits, blanch it in boiling water a few times to kill the bitterness, then boil in a sugar syrup.

Grenadine

In only 10 minutes you can make a batch of homemade grenadine, which keeps for a month in the fridge. Heat some pomegranate juice, then add sugar, lemon juice, and orange-flower water. It's the real deal for cocktail fans—no artificial colors or flavors here.

Cherry-Vanilla Bitters

These bitters take two weeks to steep. Add vanilla beans, dried cherries, and other aromatics to rye whiskey and leave it alone. Anyone who loves a good Manhattan will appreciate a bottle.

Bloody Mary Salt

A seasoned salt that only takes about an hour to make. Toss sun-dried tomato pieces with Tabasco and Worcestershire, dry them back out in the oven, then grind with salt and celery seeds. It's great for rimming a glass of its namesake cocktail, or sprinkled on scrambled eggs.

Thai Beef Jerky

This jerky marinates overnight and cooks for three hours in the oven, then keeps for several weeks. It's a nice departure from the fake smoke and supersweet teriyaki versions most people are probably familiar with.

Ginger-Infused Vodka

Grate a teaspoon of ginger, add it to a bottle of vodka, let it sit for a day or two, and your infused vodka is ready to drink. The significant ginger heat makes for a great Moscow Mule or vodka Collins.

Meyer Lemon Digestif

An after-dinner sipping booze that takes about 10 minutes of work and 12 days of steeping. Peel some lemons, soak the peels in alcohol, and add sugar syrup. Few can resist an elegant bottle of homemade limoncello.

Chocolate-Dipped Salted Caramels

A batch of these salty-sweet caramels takes about two hours to make and keeps in the refrigerator for two weeks. Make some caramel, let it set, sprinkle it with salt, cut it, and dip it in chocolate. A very classy gift.

Hot Sauce

You'll need about a half hour of cooking time plus two days to age this hot sauce. Blend cooked carrots with chiles and spices, then refrigerate. Transfer the hot sauce to bottles and refrigerate for up to a month.

Citrus Salt

This supereasy seasoned salt takes 10 minutes of work, plus overnight to dry. A big batch will last well through the holidays. Mix lemon, lime, and orange zest with kosher salt and leave it out to dry. Its bright, fresh flavor is great sprinkled on fish or used as a rub for chicken.

Chile-Infused Tequila

This tequila only takes one to two days to infuse, then has plenty of shelf life to last until the holidays. Just drop six dried chiles into a bottle and leave it alone.

Salmon Jerky

This jerky takes 12 hours of curing time and 3 hours to dry, then lasts for a month in the refrigerator. Cure the fish overnight with sugar, salt, and caraway seeds, then dry it in the oven on low heat. Don't be afraid of the caraway: It's a really good flavor here.

Orange Digestif

This drink takes 10 minutes of prep and six days of steeping, then lasts a few weeks. Place the peels of mandarin oranges in alcohol and let them steep, then add some sugar syrup. The result has a clean, natural orange flavor that's not cloying.

Tropical Spelt Granola

It takes 40 minutes to make this granola, which then lasts two weeks. Toss rolled spelt flakes with coconut and a mix of honey and oil, then toast it and mix in dried fruit. It's a unique twist on granola, as it has no oats.

Tonic Syrup

Our recipe for tonic syrup (the primary ingredient in our DIY spiced tonic water project) takes about 40 minutes of work plus two nights of steeping. You'll mix together aromatic herbs and spices with water and agave syrup and simmer it, then let it infuse. Fancy tonic is all the rage these days—even cooler is to make your own!

Chocolate Toffee Pumpkin Seed Bark

It takes about 10 minutes to make this bark, plus time for it to cool, and it lasts three days stored in an airtight container. You'll melt together chocolate with a toffee bar, mix in pumpkin seeds, then spread it all onto a baking sheet. It has an unexpected bit of heat from cayenne, and is a supereasy project.

Orange Marmalade Truffles

These truffles take about 40 minutes to make and last two days. Make chocolate ganache (which is incredibly easy), mix in orange marmalade, roll into balls, and coat with cocoa powder. The truffles are intensely chocolaty with a creamy texture.

Pandoro

This Italian Christmas cake takes five hours, but most of that time is for rising and baking—hands-off stuff. You'll make a yeasted dough and bake it in a traditional fluted pandoro pan. It's an impressive gift that is best eaten fresh, so make it the night before you plan to give it away.

Caramel Corn

This last-minute slacker gift takes 15 minutes of work plus an hour of baking time. Make a caramel sauce, toss it over popcorn, and bake until crunchy. It's sweet, crispy, and hard to stop eating.

Testing section - This will be removed once in production

This will change the states of all the calendar days so each state is is vizable.
Lock All Days Unlock All Days Open All Days
This will change the current date - yes, time travel, be carefull.
Nov 12 2011 Dec 1 Dec 5 Dec 7 Dec 11 Dec 16 Dec 22 Dec 24 Dec 25 Dec 26 Jan 1 2012
Your Cookie contains these values: chowadvent=day1:day3:day4:day2:
Delete your cookie Delete Cookie
The Browser you are using is: