Sunday, December 16, 2012

I'm Dreaming of a White Chocolate (Garam Masala) Christmas!

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!" 

And my favorite time of the year - Christmas is almost here!

Each year not only does our Christmas card and gift list get longer (which I actually don't mind at all as this means there are more beautiful babies being born : j ) but it also becomes more difficult to find new thoughtful gifts. 

In an attempt to remain thoughtful and in the spirit of the season I decided that homemade, handmade gifts would be a nice change.What could I give that would be appreciated by a variety of individuals? Food.  The answer is always food!  : j  So, I put together a "spicy" and "sweet" bag of goodies to give out this year. 

Spicy Garam Masala
While there is no specific blend of Indian spices which can make up Garam Masala, it usually includes cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, anise, cumin, coriander and black pepper. I also like to include allspice and nutmeg for their sweet, earthy aromatics. 

It is a simple process involving just a few steps - 1. measuring out your preferred ratios of the whole spices, 2. toasting the spices in a warm heavy bottom pan and 3. once cooled grinding the spices.  As you can imagine, the varieties can be endless and personalized to your taste. I bottled our version and included a quick and simple recipe for those who may not have used garam masala before.

Whole Garam Masala in the background being toasted and then ground to perfection!

 Our personal blend of Garam Masala

Sweet White Chocolate Pistachio Bark
To balance the spicy portion of the gift that really couldn't be enjoyed without a little bit of work, I also made  white chocolate pistachio and cranberry bark for instant satisfaction! The contrast of colors and flavors made this both festive and delicious! The nutty, green pistachios and the tangy, red dried cranberries bathed in creamy white chocolate tasted amazing!

Bags of delicious creamy and nutty white chocolate pistachio bark

All tied up in a pretty bow!
I found these great brown gift bags at my local craft store and coordinating paisley stamps and crystals. I also printed out labels that helped tie in the theme. All of the little flourishes gave the gifts a nice Indian "shabby chic" look overall. : j

Wishing your family a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season as well as a beautiful New Year!

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