Anyone else out there struggle with hostess gifts? It's hard to believe that a girl with over 1600 recipes in her repertoire could ever be at a loss for a food gift, but it's true. Sometimes, I really struggle with coming up with just the right thing to make for other people. Sometimes it's because I don't know the recipients very well, sometimes it's because the recipients have specific dietary needs that limit what I can offer them and sometimes it's just because of time and distance constraints.
I wanted to put together a hostess gift recently for some friends that we were going to visit at the end of a long trip. Since we would't be seeing them until for several days after leaving home, I ruled out anything baked or anything large that required refrigeration.
My go-to hostess gifts are a bag of cookies tied with pretty ribbon or a loaf of freshly baked bread. Neither of those were going to work since they're best consumed within 24 of baking. I considered making cupcakes or a cake but both would require refrigeration so they were out too.
What I came up with were these pretty jars of whipped, flavored butters. I stored the butters in these three little 4 ounce mason jars. When we were ready to leave for our trip, the jars got packed into a tiny little cooler with an ice pack and they stayed nice and cool all day. I swapped out the ice at night in the hotel and they travelled really well.
I picked up a cute bread basket, a package of pretty napkins and a couple of little bread plates before I left on our trip. I knew that I could get up a couple of loaves of crusty bread on the trip to complete my little flavored, whipped butter hostess gift basket. (Thank you Panera.) I loved the way that this gift turned out and even more importantly, our friends loved it even more.
To make this butter, whip 3 sticks butter with whisk in standing mixer or with hand mixer.
Divide butter between 3 separate bowls.
Add 2 Tablespoons jellied cranberry sauce and 1 Tablespoon honey to 1 bowl. Stir to combine.
Stir 2 1/2 Tablespoons honey and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon into a second bowl.
Add 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon parsley, 1 minced clove garlic and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the last bowl. Stir to combine.
Now you have 3 bowls of delicious flavored butters.
Spoon butters into 4 ounce glass jars.
Write or print labels for each jar.
Place in a basket with some crusty bread, some pretty napkins and a couple of cute bread plates.
Confession time - I doubled the butter recipe and made a batch of each of these flavors for us too. My family could NOT get enough of the honey cinnamon and the sweet cranberry butter. They seriously devoured it like it was peanut butter. The garlic parmesan butter was not a big hit on the fresh bread but it is KILLER on a steak. A spoonful of this flavorful butter on top of a sirloin just gives it an extra special touch.
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