For the sweet tooth on your list, create a mini selection of herb-infused sugars.
Wrap up in a gift box and include a recipe book or cards sharing how to use them!
Use peppermint or spearmint leaves, rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium), lavender buds, rose petals, lemon verbena leaves, vanilla beans or ginger. All the following recipes become more flavorful as the fragrance infuses into the sugar. Use decorative glass jars that seal tight.
Herb leaf or flower petal sugar
Alternate a layer of sugar and the chosen herb until the jar is full. Allow to sit a few days before use to allow the flavor to infuse through the sugar.
3 cups sugar and 2 vanilla beans
Directions: Place sugar in a bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut vanilla beans in half, lengthwise. Scrape seeds from the pod into the sugar. Mix vanilla seeds and sugar to evenly distribute the seeds throughout the sugar. Strain sugar mixture through a fine mesh or cheesecloth into an airtight container. Halve vanilla pods crosswise, and submerge them in sugar.
3 or 4 small lemons and 2 cups sugar
Directions: Use the zest (the skin) from the lemons. Scrape as much of the white, bitter pith off as possible. Add zest to a food processor and grind with 1 cup of sugar until thoroughly mixed.
Transfer the mix to a medium bowl. Add remaining cup sugar, and toss until evenly mixed. Allow to dry before placing in a glass jar, by spreading the sugar mix on a cookie sheet at room temperature for about an hour or until dry.
In a food processor, whirl together one cup of sugar with a few chunks of candied/crystallized ginger.
Ideas for use:
-Rim the glass of a cocktail with lemon-infused sugar by running a fresh-cut lemon slice around the rim and dipping it in the sugar mix.
-Rose geranium sugar and other herbal sugars are perfect to sweeten tea or to sprinkle on the top of shortbread or scones.
-Use peppermint infused sugar in coffee, tea or hot toddy’s
-Sprinkle vanilla and ginger infused sugar on warm gingersnaps, fresh from the oven (see my favorite gingersnap recipe)