When made by hand, gifts contain more heart. Use these ideas from the family and friends of Snug Hollow as inspiration for creating presents that express the joy and spirit of the holiday season.
Snug Hollow Rosemary Braided Bread
“This stuff is no fail,” says Barbara Napier of her inn’s popular bread, which is topped with an olive oil and herb mixture.
1 cup whole-wheat flour
31⁄2 cups or more all-purpose flour
11⁄2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1⁄2 teaspoon lemon juice
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1⁄2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped or rubbed sage
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl, combine whole-wheat flour, warm water, yeast, honey, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Stir well and let rest for about 5 minutes.
Add all-purpose flour a little at a time, stirring to mix well until you have a soft dough. Turn out on a floured board to knead.
Add small amounts of flour and knead for approximately 6 minutes or until you have a soft, pliable dough. Pour a little olive oil in your hands and continue kneading until dough “pops up” when punched. Let rest for about 5 minutes.
Divide dough ball into three balls. With your hands, roll each section into a long rope (about 12 inches) for one large loaf. Braid strands loosely into a loaf. Pinch and tuck ends. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Let rise for 5 minutes in a warm place. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
Mix together olive oil, rosemary and sage. Pour mixture over hot bread and serve warm.
This recipe makes one large loaf or two small loaves.
Bird Seed Wreath
1 envelope (1⁄4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
1⁄2 cup warm water
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons corn syrup
4 cups blend bird seed
Bundt pan (or similar mold with a hole in the center)
In a large bowl, sprinkle the gelatin into warm water, stirring to dissolve completely. Whisk flour and corn syrup into the gelatin mixture until a paste forms and most of the lumps are gone. Stir in bird seed and mix well.
Spray the Bundt pan with cooking spray. Press the seed mixture into the pan and pack down well. Allow the wreath to cure in the pan for a minimum of 24 hours.
To unmold the wreath, place plate on top of the Bundt pan and flip upside down. Allow wreath to dry completely (another 24-48 hours). Place a large ribbon through the wreath and hang outdoors for the birds to enjoy.
Adapted from themotherhuddle.com
Botanical Bath Fizzies
A wonderful approximation of expensive, store-bought bath “bombs,” these bath fizzies can be customized with your choice of essential oils and dried flowers or herbs.
1 cup baking soda
1⁄2 cup citric acid (you can find it at stores that sell canning supplies or at health food stores)
1⁄2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons Epsom salts
2 tablespoons coconut oil
5 to 6 teaspoons witch hazel
Essential oils, optional (we used lavender and eucalyptus)
Dried herbs or flowers, optional (we used lavender and hibiscus)
Food coloring, optional
Molds – mini muffin pans, candy or soap molds, or large-size ice cube tray (we used the latter)
In a large bowl, combine the baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch and Epsom salts. With a fork or dough cutter, incorporate the coconut oil into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles sand with some larger chunks of oil.
If you are using essential oils and/or food coloring, mix a few drops of each into the witch hazel. Carefully add the witch hazel to the dry ingredients one teaspoon at a time, stirring it in immediately with a large spoon. The mixture will foam slightly with each addition. Stir in enough witch hazel so that your mixture resembles slightly damp sand. The mixture should be mostly dry, but should stick in a lump when you squeeze it together. Fold in a handful or so of dried herbs or flowers, if using.
If using, sprinkle dried herbs/flowers into the bottom of each mold. Press mixture very firmly into each mold. Allow the bath fizzies to dry in the molds a minimum of 24 hours. Once completely dry, remove from the molds and store in an airtight container until ready to gift.
Adapted from bakingdom.com