Whether it’s at a Friendsgiving at your neighbor’s
place, a Christmas Eve feast at your in-laws, or a traditional Hanukkah dinner at Grandma’s, you’ll be looking for a way to express your
gratitude for your host's hospitality, and we suggest doing so by cooking up something delicious, OBViously. A nice bottle of wine or flower arrangement
can seem kinda meh in the face of something like homemade amaretto, right? There’s something for everybody on this list — including some more unusual items. Does your host love bacon? (Trick question: Of course she does.) How about cooking
up some bacon jam, or infusing her favorite bourbon with that porky goodness? Or if she raved about your steak rub at a summer BBQ, gift her a set of your homemade artisanal spice blends. These 11 homemade hostess gifts
will show thanks and make a big
impact. You’ll be sure to be invited back next year — especially if you bring the eggnog chocolate chip bread.
Did you know you can make your own amaretto? True story. This page from The Kitchn features two sets of instructions — one traditional and one quick and easy. Sure, you could have just gone to the liquor store and picked up a bottle, but what’s so special about that?
Eggnog Chocolate Chip Bread with Brown Butter Eggnog Glaze
You could bring a simple home-cooked loaf of bread or basket of biscuits to share with hosts, but why not go for something more decadent? This eggnog chocolate chip bread with brown butter glaze from How Sweet It Is is undeniably decadent, and perfect for the holidays. Now let’s see if you can stand to part with it. Better make two loaves…
Image: How Sweet It Is
Fruit and Seed Snack Bread
Fruitcake gets kind of a bad rap, and I suppose for good reason. It can be quite sad — and heavy! This fruit and nut snack bread from Healthful Pursuit may just change everybody’s mind, though. Leanne’s gluten-free creation contains apple sauce, honey, dried cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, raisins, apricots, and a bevy of different healthy seeds. It’s light, bright, and delicious.
Image: Healthful Pursuit
Seasonal Compound Butters
Butter is a great and powerful thing, but it can make for a kind of strange gift — until now! Check out these compound butters from The Fromagette. I know I’ve got my heart set on the orange zest + Cointreau + honey variety. Pick up a selection of muffins and scones from your favorite bakery to give alongside this buttery goodness. I promise you will be invited back next year.
Image: The Fromagette
Boozy Bacon Jam
So, bacon jam is a thing. Surprise your bacon-loving hosts this year with something really special — this boozed-up version from Spoon Fork Bacon. The recipe calls for applewood smoked bacon, brown sugar, paprika, bourbon, brewed coffee, and sriracha, all of which is simmered slow and low to concentrate the flavors. Strawberry jam is so 2012.
Cranberry Maple Skillet Cornbread
To keep things on the simpler end of the spectrum, consider this cranberry maple skillet cornbread from Cookie + Kate. It’s rustic and homey, and says “thank you” in all the right ways.
Image: Cookie + Kate
Roasted Beet Balsamic Mustard
Seven-Minute Choco-Almond Truffles
Of course, if you want to really show your host some gratitude, you’ll give her some chocolate — but not any old cocoa you picked up at the mall. These date-sweetened gluten-free truffles from Green Kitchen Stories are not only delicious — they’re gorgeous! And you can make them in just seven minutes. Seriously, what’s stopping you?
Image: Green Kitchen Stories
DIY Herb Blends
Martha Stewart is the queen of good ideas, and this is an especially good one. Maybe you are famous for your chipotle rub, or your Herbs de Provence blend. Share the love by sharing your artisanal blends with your hosts this holiday season. Just prepare your blends, pack them into pretty tins and add custom labels.
Image: Another Pint Please/Flickr
Infused liquors always make for great hostess gifts — especially when you prepare them yourself! We’ve all heard of the standard vanilla vodkas and jalapeño tequilas, but what about this bacon-infused bourbon from The Boys Club? If you think your hosts aren’t quite ready for such extravagance, imagine this stuff in an old fashioned and think again.
Image: Edson Hong/Flickr
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Sure, you could give your hosts some homemade jams or preserves this year, but apple butter is much more seasonal — and makes such great use of all your hand-picked apples from the orchard. This recipe from Oh She Glows is simple and glorious — just apples here, with a little bit of lemon juice and some cinnamon. Your hosts will be begging you for the recipe.
Image: Angela Liddon