The best hostess gifts make life both easier and sweeter. Case in point: These DIY toppings turn a pint of vanilla ice cream into a gourmet dessert. A touch of molasses and holiday spices lend the gingerbread caramel a freshly baked cookie flavor, especially when garnished with slivers of candied ginger.
The mandarin-lime curd is aromatic and mouthwatering, and works just as well as a silky spread on toast, muffins, or scones in the morning.
To stir up a batch, get the recipes above. Pack them as gifts in airtight seven-ounce Mason or jam jars. We like to package them with a spoon tied onto the jar -- using the same ribbon that's our gift wrap for these homemade treats.
The Container Store Le Parfait French hermetic-glass terrines, 7 oz., $6.50 each, containerstore.com
Teak coffee-spoon set, $25 for 4, abchome.com