I have three variations of flavored sugars to hand out: Lavender Sugar, Lemon Sugar, and Vanilla Sugar. These flavor-infused granulated sugars each have a wonderfully strong flavor, and add a special touch to holiday cooking and baking. Using a flavored sugar is an easy way to make a basic recipe, like sugar cookies, taste different and special, with the added flavor of fresh lemon zest, or floral lavender, or aromatic vanilla bean. They can be used in most baking recipes in place of regular sugar, but they shouldn't be used when making sugar syrups, since the flavoring agents might cause the sugar to crystallize.
I've already made large batches of each type of sugar, and since they're shelf-stable, I just need to keep them in an airtight container and they will last until the holidays (and long beyond!). To package them, I'm planning on painting some small mason jars with translucent glass paint (using the technique in this tutorial) to create beautiful purple, yellow, and blue jars that I will then fill with the sugars. I'll decorate the jars with some cute ribbon or fabric, and include a note card with a suggested recipe for using the sugars--maybe an easy shortbread or a yummy holiday drink. Flavored sugars are simple, fast, and economical--perfect for any sugar enthusiast on your holiday gift list!
Photo ©2012 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.