3 Easy Edible Gifts To Thank Your Summer Hostesses

Intro-Granola
Here’s the deal: You don’t have a ton of money to spend on a hostess gift but you don’t want to show up empty-handed to your (free!) weekend away either, right? Flowers and/or booze are always a good idea but these three easy edible gifts are far more interesting, plus you get to show off your adorable DIY skills! Choose the homemade gift that best suits your hostess, then wrap it up using one of our simple packaging ideas. You’ll definitely be invited back…
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Limoncello
Make a batch of this homemade limoncello, divide it among swing-top bottles (like this one from Sur La Table), and stash a few in the freezer. You’ll have hostess gifts at the ready for last-minute invites all summer long! To dress up a bottle, wrap grosgrain ribbon around the neck and secure it with a sticker.
Best Homemade Limoncello
Makes: about 2 to 3 dozen servings
1 (750 ml) bottle vodka (cheap stuff is totally fine!)
Zest of 10 to 12 lemons, peeled in wide strips
2 cups granulated sugar
1. Put the vodka and lemon zest in a tightly sealed container and set aside at room temperature for at least one week or up to two months, shaking the container occasionally.
2. Strain the lemon-flavored vodka into a clean pitcher or container; discard the zest.
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3. Heat the sugar and two cups water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolved. Cool completely.
4. Gradually stir the simple syrup into the lemon-flavored vodka until you reach the desired sweetness. Transfer to a tightly sealed bottle and store in the freezer for months!
Bormioli Rocco Rocket Flasks, $5.00 for 8.5-ounce, available at Sur La Table.
Granola
Breakfast is already made! This olive oil granola recipe will feed a crowd: Pack it all to go or divide the granola among smaller containers (leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge up to two months). Feel free to customize the mix by swapping in different nuts or dried fruits. Scoop individual portions into small muslin bags or upcycle the containers your nuts came in (as seen here), to save a little cash! Just remove the labels, wash out the containers with hot soapy water, rinse well and let dry. Decorate with baker’s twine, white gift tags and a bamboo spoon, if desired.
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Super-Easy Granola
Makes: about 8 cups
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup pepitas
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups walnuts and/or almonds
3/4 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 to 2 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line a large-rimmed baking sheet — or two smaller baking sheets — with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients (except for the cranberries) in a bowl to combine.
2. Spread on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden and slightly dry, about 1 hour. Stir in the cranberries and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet, then store in an airtight container.
Celestial Gifts Natural Cotton Muslin Drawstring Bags, $5.50 for 25, available at Amazon; Regency Wraps Red and White Baker’s Twine, $12.00 for 1/2-pound cone, available at Amazon; The Container Store Metal-Rimmed White Gift Tags, $5.99 for 25, available at The Container Store; Sur La Table Bamboo spoon, $1.50, available at Sur La Table.
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Marshmallow
Provide the fixings for an impromptu S’more feast! Homemade marshmallows are easier to make than you’d think. The secret: a good candy thermometer (it’s important to cook the sugar to the right temperature). Box up marshmallows in a treat box decorated with Japanese washi tape, and maybe bring along some graham crackers and chocolate bars for good measure.
Fluffy Vanilla Bean Marshmallows
Makes: about 2 dozen marshmallows
Cooking spray
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 packets unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split
1. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Mix the confections’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Dust the baking pan with the cornstarch mixture to coat completely; tap the excess out back into the bowl.
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2. Put 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water; let sit.
3. Bring 1/2 cup water, the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring a few times in the beginning to combine. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the saucepan and continue to boil until the thermometer registers 240˚ (soft-ball stage), 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat.
4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you’ve added all of the syrup, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the marshmallow batter. Increase the mixer speed to high and whip until thick and the bowl feels lukewarm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray; set aside.
5. Spread the marshmallow into the baking pan using the prepared spatula. Dust with the remaining cornstarch mixture. Let set at room temperature at least four hours or overnight.
6. Dust a cutting board and chef’s knife with confectioners’ sugar. Turn the marshmallows out onto the cutting board and slice as desired; press the cut edges into sugar on the board. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to three weeks.
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Wilton Medium Treat Box, $5.29 for 3, available at Wilton; Hauteboxed Japanese Washi Masking Tape Set, $15.00 for 8, available at Amazon.
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