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The Thread

Last-minute Homemade Christmas Gifts

The countdown is on and there are just three sleeps until Christmas Day! Hopefully, you will have ticked off most of your Christmas list by now and all of the presents will be wrapped up, ready and waiting under the tree. However, there are always a few people you either forget or you just canít seem to find something for, whether itís your hardworking postie or your friendly neighbours who never fail to water your plants whilst youíre away. For those hard-to-buy-for folks, you canít go wrong with something sweet and homemade to show that you care. Weíve come up with some of our favourite edible gifts to keep close by Ė just in case!

Recipe Jars

Recipe Jars

This time of year, many people can be found whirling around the kitchen in a cloud of icing sugar and flour, producing tray after tray of decadent baked goods. Spoil friends and family with your favourite recipes, deconstructed and layered up in jars, ready to be baked into delicious delicacies that will fill their homes with the most wonderful aromas.

Simply layer the recipeís dry ingredients in a clean mason or jam jar and include a note with the required wet ingredients (butter, milk, eggs etc.) and step-by-step instructions. Finish with a hand lettered label and a curled ribbon for a thoughtful yet irresistibly easy gift. We love using this recipe ( for hot chocolate and including a layer of mini marshmallows for an extra little surprise! Herb Salts

Herb Salt

Combine your favourite herbs Ė store-bought or homegrown Ė with good quality seas salt flakes for a decadent addition to any food-lovers kitchen cupboards.

Using a ratio of 1 part fresh herbs to 1 part salt, grind your herbs with mortar and pestle or food processor and then use your finger tips to rub into your sea salt. Spread the mixture onto a baking tray and leave to dry out overnight before popping into a small jar. We love using basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme!

Chocolate Bark


Christmas wouldnít be Christmas without a generous helping of chocolate and with this foolproof recipe for chocolate bark, you canít go wrong.

Simply melt a chopped up bar of dark, milk or white chocolate in a bain marie before pouring out onto a baking tray covered in greaseproof paper. Sprinkle it with whatever takes your fancy, whether itís chopped nuts, sweets, dried fruit or crushed candy canes, for an incredibly moreish treat!

Mulled Wine Kit

Mulled Wine

If youíre looking for a truly timeless Christmas treat, you canít go wrong with a warming mug of mulled wine. Give your loved ones the opportunity to make a batch from scratch by providing them with their very own starter kit.

Cut out a square of muslin and place 80g brown sugar and 1 tsp each of ground ginger, nutmeg. Tie the bundle with bakers twine and pop into a box or bag with a bottle of red wine, 1 cinnamon stick, an orange and a small bag of about 10 cloves. Include instructions for the recipient to slice the orange and put all ingredients in heavy bottomed pan with Ĺ pint of hot water, simmer for 10 minutes (being careful not to let it boil) then serve in mugs or glasses with a slice of orange.

Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract is wonderfully simple to make yourself and, when itís poured into a pretty bottle and tied with some festive ribbon, it makes a perfect present for any foodie friends.

Simply slice 3-5 vanilla beans in half, leaving about 1cm still connected at one end. Place the beans in a clean bottle and completely submerge them in vodka. Seal the bottle tightly and give it a good shake Ė leave it to steep in a cool, dark place for at least 1 month and taste test until youíre happy with the flavour.!

About 'The Thread'

Here at Cotton Traders, we like to do things a little differently. Our reputation has been built on outstanding quality, a sense of community and keeping our customers interests at heart. The Thread is just that Ė a space for sharing things we know our customers enjoy, whether itís travel, eating, staying active and healthy or enjoying sneak-peeks behind-the-scenes at Cotton Traders.

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•  Winter 2013

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