Make your own Coffee Liqueur and check out the book Gift it From Scratch
Review of Gift it from Scratch By Kathie N. Lapcevic
Gift Giving Compass
Gift giving is one of those duties that catches me by surprise. What? You are having another birthday? You just had one, didn’t you? How many birthdays does one person need?
Add that to the fact that most of my friends and family are allergic to “stuff.” Who needs more stuff and gadgets? So when a birthday, anniversary, or special event comes around again, I sometimes feel like I’m lost in the woods without a compass.
Traditionally, Mr. Joybilee’s family have given books as gifts, and I love to do that, too. But face it, sometimes the books I love are not the same as the ones my friends and family love. I’ve missed it on more than one occasion.
I find myself looking at the gift card rack at my grocery store more often these days. Seems kind of impersonal, doesn’t it? So I was really happy to find “Gift it From Scratch.” For those times when a gift card is too impersonal and doesn’t express the esteem and respect that you want to send, you need this book, too.
Get the Book: Gift It From Scratch
Gift It From Scratch is the compass you need to navigate that next round of birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions on your calendar. This book is about food and drink that is distinctive enough to gift. Everyone needs to eat, after all. You won’t find itchy wool sweaters, or baby booties, in this book. But of course you can add them to your gift, if you want.
One of the things that makes this book really shine is the suggestions of how to present your gift in a unique way. Every single recipe includes several ways to make the gift personal and special to the recipient. For instance, in the Coffee Liqueur recipe it says,
“Gift Giving Idea: Combine a bottle of this with some of your favorite whole bean coffee, and a jar of the hot cocoa mix in a vintage coffee tin for the coffee lover on your gift list.”
Inspiration for DiY gift ideas
The gift giving ideas are inspiring. As you’re reading you’ll think, “this would be perfect for “Kirsten” or “I bet Ian would love this.” (Ian would love this coffee liqueur, yes, I think he would. Happy Birthday, Ian!) Some of the gifts can be made ahead, like the coffee liqueur, and set aside for a birthday or holiday, while others need to be made within a day or two of giving, like the yeast breads, quick breads, and comfort foods.
A lot of the gifts are baked goods, and wheat-flour based, so if you love to bake, you’ll find an assortment of yummy ideas here. There aren’t any gluten-free or flour-free baked goods in here, though a few of the non-baked goods recipes could be made gluten free, if you are careful when you chose your ingredients.
The majority of recipes are made from wholesome, basic ingredients, as you’d expect from the title. In fact, if you have a well-stocked pantry and do most of your cooking from scratch, as I advise, you probably have everything you need in your larder, to start using this book right now.
For the purpose of testing out the cook book I made the Coffee Liqueur, on page 70, but I adapted the recipe for you, to the ingredients I had on hand.
Coffee Liqueur (DIY Kahlua)
Adapted from Gift It From Scratch
Makes 6 cups
2 Cups Organic Sugar
½ cup of homemade vanilla extract (or 2 vanilla beans plus ½ cup additional vodka)
2 cups of strong espresso, homemade (approx. 6 double shots)
1 cup of whole organic coffee beans
2 Cups Vodka (40% alcohol)*
Make the strong espresso in your moka pot or your espresso maker. I used my moka pot. Stir in the organic sugar while your espresso is still hot. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. This takes some time so don’t stop too soon. You are making heavy coffee syrup. Allow to cool. Add the vanilla extract (or vanilla beans and vodka) and pour into a 1 ½ quart glass jar, with a tight fitting lid. Add the coffee beans and the vodka to the jar. Put on the lid. Leave the jar in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks, shake on the days you remember too.
After 4 to 6 weeks, strain the mixture. Reserve the coffee beans for making chocolate covered coffee beans – you can add them to the gift basket, too. Bottle in several small, decorative glass bottles and cork or cap. You’re ready for gift giving.
Other liqueurs that you can make for gift giving
Limoncello (The best Limoncello recipe from Gizmodo)
*In BC, Canada, 40% alcohol is the highest percentage of alcohol that I can legally procure. If you live somewhere that you can get 90% or higher alcohol content, choose that whenever you are making extracts and liqueurs. The other ingredients dilute your liqueur and the alcohol acts as a preservative.
Why 4 stars?
I gave this book 4 stars for two reasons. One was the lack of gluten-free alternatives in the baked goods, as I mentioned. The second reason was the absence of pictures. Grant it coloured pictures don’t show well on the basic Kindle models, but coloured photos would really help you to imagine what the food should look like, especially helpful for some of the unusual recipes like Potica, a yeast bread. Also pictures would help me imagine how to present the gifts to maximize the wow-effect. Visual-people will be frustrated with the lack of pictures. Auditory or kinesthetic people won’t care. If Kathie brings out a revised edition of this amazing book, I hope she’ll include a picture for each recipe to help us imagine how we can maximize the wow-impact in our making and gifting.
What a great idea!
Another remarkable feature in the book is the suggestions for combing thrift shops and garage sales for gift giving containers like dutch ovens, stock pots, and other good vessels for soup. Platters, cake stands, cutesy cookie jars, baskets, and fancy bottles are going on my shopping list now. I’m going to be visiting thrift shops with new vision. In fact, I’m walking over to my take-to-the-thrift-store box right now, and retrieving some of these same items before they leave my house. Ah-hum.
The book has a linked table of contents. I knew you wanted to know that.
Grab this book and you’ll be prepared for all those gift giving opportunities that catch you by surprise. Or even better, just send this book to your bestie on an Amazon gift card and maybe someone will make you a delicious coffee liqueur, and gift it in an upcycled basket, lined with a real linen napkin, with alcohol infused, chocolate covered coffee beans, and hot chocolate mix. (hint!)
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the author. This review is my honest opinion of the work. This post contains affiliate links.