4 Mother's Day Gift Ideas from Pantry Staples
Makes 2 cups each
Start with 2 cups granulated sugar. For vanilla sugar, split 1 vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds from the bean into the sugar; then bury the bean in the sugar. For cinnamon sugar, add 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon and 2 cinnamon sticks. For cardamom sugar, add ¼ cup whole green cardamom pods. (The sugars will stay flavorful in a sealed container for up to 1 year.)
To make it gift-worthy: Transfer each flavored sugar into an airtight glass jar. Download the patterned labels shown here. Print the PDF on sticker paper, then cut out the labels and adhere to the corresponding jars. (19.6-ounce jars, $6.95 each; fishseddy.com. Avery sticker paper, $12.23 for fifteen 8½"W x 11"L sheets; amazon.com. Two-ounce metal scoop, $2.72; amazon.com)
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 cup maple syrup, and ½ cup crème de cassis to a boil. Continue boiling until syrup begins to thicken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove syrup from heat and let cool.
To make it gift-worthy: Pour the syrup into a glass bottle with a rubber stopper. Write the above recipe (or a pancake recipe) on paper; then tuck it in a small envelope and secure to the bottle with yarn. (17-ounce bottle, $5.49; containerstore.com. Envelope, $4.75 for 25; paperpresentation.com)
Makes two 8½-inch-long logs
In a large bowl, beat 3 sticks of room-temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Mix in 5 tablespoons strawberry jam (blueberry or raspberry also work well). Divide mixture in half and spoon onto two 12"W x 18"L pieces of parchment paper; centering butter near a short side of the paper. Use your hands to shape mixture into a log approximately two inches thick. Wrap the nearest end of the paper over the top of logs, then continue rolling until all the paper covers log. Twist ends and tape to seal.
To make it gift-worthy: Wrap each paper-covered log in pretty white fabric, then tie the ends with twine and add a tag. (Fabric, $1.98 per yard; fabric.com. Tag, $4.90 for 10; paperpresentation.com)
Makes 2 cups
In a medium, nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2/3 cup water, ½ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue to boil mixture until syrup-like, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 pound fresh cherries, pitted; 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until cherries break down slightly, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer compote to a heatproof glass bowl and let cool.
To make it gift-worthy: Pour compote into a short, airtight glass jar. Center a fun fabric swatch atop the lid. Secure it with twine; then thread a hand-stamped tag onto one end of the twine and tie off in a bow. Include a miniature spoon for serving. (16-ounce jar; $15.99 for six; amazon.com. Fabric, $10.70 per yard; onlinefabricstore.com. Tag, $4.90 for 10; paperpresentation.com. Stamps, $7.73; amazon.com. Spoon, 95 cents; crateandbarrel.com)