GateHouse News Service
Thinking about wedding and shower favors? Head's up: Trinkets are out.
Forget the personalized matchbooks, candles, frames and shot glasses. These days, food favors are the hot way to thank and impress guests.
Trendy ideas range from homemade barbecue sauce and handcrafted jam to customized fortune cookies and bottles of wine with the couple's photo on the label.
Such a personal touch goes a long way, and the bonus is your guests won't have to worry about a dated knick-knack collecting dust in the attic.
Lisa Waterfall Kienzle of Hartville, Ohio, still has fond memories of a niece's outdoor wedding she and her husband, Scott, attended a few years ago.
"As we were leaving, a table had been set up with a display of 5-ounce corked bottles of herbed extra virgin olive oil," said Kienzle, 59. "There was a variety of garlic and herb flavors to choose from. The bottles were ribboned and bore a label with the wedding date and names of the bride and groom. The story was that their hobby was baking artisan breads and the bride's mother grew herbs. It was a wonderful keepsake of the wedding, and one that reminded me of their special day every time I used the oil."
Whatever the homemade food or beverage item you choose, packaging is key. Favor-size tins, jars, bottles and bags are readily available online at sites like www.favorsand flowers.com.
And don't forget the importance of your personalized labels, tags and stickers that could include your wedding colors and even engagement photos. Make them yourself or head to websites like www.myow nlabels.com.
The Tasty List
A self-serve candy bar, where guests serve themselves from a variety of different confections that reflect the bridal colors, then box the candy in designer Chinese take-out containers.
Customized fortune cookies that express personal sentiments (www.fortunecookiestore.com).
Personalized beverage packets for coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cappuccino or cider, which are nice for cold-weather weddings.
Personalized lemonade mixes, or cocktail mix packets.
Homemade gourmet apples.
Chocolate bars with personalized wrappers, inscribed chocolate coins, truffles or molded and printed chocolates.
Jams, jellies, maple syrup, honey, herbal oils.
Barbecue sauce, hot sauces, spice rubs.
Personalized mint tins or mint rolls.
Wedding cake pops (rock-ur-party.table spoon.com).
Homemade caramel corn in bags with personal labels.
Personalized wine bottles (www.personal wine.com).
Hot fudge sauce
3 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
Pinch of salt
In a pot on the stove over low heat, mix the cocoa powder with the cream and stir until the powder dissolves into the cream. Add remaining ingredients and stir over low heat until thoroughly mixed.
Bring to a slow boil, and simmer, stirring, for about five minutes until thickened a little. Allow to cool to lukewarm, and pour into jars. Makes about 4 cups. To serve, heat until it reaches a consistency for stirring, pour over ice cream.
Possible label: "Your presence has sweetened our special day."
Rib rub recipe
2 cups salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups ground cumin
2 cups chili powder
2 cups freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cayenne pepper
1/2 cup paprika
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Divide into containers, such as small decorative tins. Directions for use: Use as dry rub on beef, chicken, lamb or pork.
Possible label: "Thank you for spicing up our wedding celebration!"
Rolo brownie bites
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar, sifted
1 cup brown sugar, sifted
8 ounces melted butter
1 1/4 cups cocoa, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1.7 ounce ROLO pack of candy
1/3 cups dark chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
Store-bought caramel sauce, if desired
Use a brownie bite pan, a mini cupcake pan or an 8-inch square pan, lightly greased. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place eggs in a stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars mix to combine. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine. Pour the batter into brownie bite pan or into mini cupcake pan and place a ROLO in the center. Bake for 15 minutes. If you are using an 8-inch square pan place ROLOs on top of and press into brownie mixture and bake for 45 minutes.
Check for doneness with the toothpick method: a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. If using brownie bite pan or mini cupcake pan, cool for 5 minutes then remove brownies. If using an 8-inch pan, let cool before slicing.
To make chocolate sauce: Place chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over (not on) simmering water. Gently stir until melted.
Pour 1 tablespoon over tops of brownie bites or alternately dip tops of brownie in chocolate. Drizzle on caramel stripes, if desired.
Makes about 48 brownie bites. Possible label: "We're so ooey gooey in love!"