Homemade for the Holidays

Lauren Braun Costello

What better way to spread joy this season than with festive food gifts? And who better to share her delectable delights with us than It’s Lauren, of Course! After all, her tagline says it like it is: “There’s a right way to cook, there’s a wrong way to cook, and then there’s my way.” A classically trained chef, published author, cooking-show host and expert food stylist, Lauren is famous for her 100 straight days of Instagram Lives during the pandemic, sometimes multiple times a day, which rescued many of us from the monotony of quarantine. Now, the mom of two boys, who prides herself on crafting over-the-top boxed lunches and weeknight dinners for her brood, shares her tricks and tips for these fabulous and fun treats. “I can teach anyone how to cook anything and present it like a pro,” she says. “It’s all about technique, not torture.” Recipes at itslaurenofcourse.com; more at Instagram @itslaurenofcourse.

Homemade Hot Cocoa
Everyone loves a cup of hot cocoa during the holidays and nothing is better than the real deal. Plus, it’s super easy. Just combine 1 cup of unsweetened Dutch cocoa with ½ cup sugar and 1 cup mini chocolate chips. Store in a glass jar with a small scoop. For every cup of hot milk, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mix.

Marshmallow Snowmen
Kids of all ages will have as much fun making these as they will enjoy eating them! Place three store-bought marshmallows on a wooden skewer. Use edible markers for the eyes and buttons, mini M&Ms for the nose, chocolate coins and a gumdrop for the hat, and licorice laces for the scarf. Melted chocolate acts as glue for the nose and hat.

Gingerbread Ornaments
These cookies are both decorative and delicious, making them a most special addition to any Christmas tree.

Everything but The Bagel Brittle
Peanut brittle is a classic Christmas treat. Swapping the nuts for toasted “everything” bagel seasoning makes it a fun twist ideal for Chanukah.

Chanukah Gelt Bark
Gold coin chocolates are not known for their fine taste. Adding them to a slab of high-quality dark chocolate decorated with blue, white, silver and gold candies is not only festive but delicious. Who says chocolate bark is only for Christmas?

Simple Syrups: Rosemary, Ginger & Blood Orange
It’s always cocktail time during the holiday season. Flavored simple syrups made with seasonal flavors are the perfect homemade food gift for your favorite host.

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