I’m a sucker for a good gift – both in receiving one and giving one. The sheer thrill of seeing a person’s face when receiving something you know they’re going to love puts a giant smile on my face, and on the opposite end, I never feel more excited or special than when I receive a gift I adore. This doesn’t mean the gift has to be fancy or expensive (although husband if you’re reading this I would LOVE a certain bag or fancy pair of shoes for my next birthday 😉 ), something as simple as a well thought out card can brighten my day.
The one gift I especially love to give (and receive) is of the DIY kind, and typically involves food of some sort – go figure.
Around Christmastime is when you see the most gifts in edible form; it’s been a tradition in my family to gift an assortment of handmade cookies around the holidays to all of our friends and family. My Mom and me spend days baking up hundreds of cookies to package up prettily; it’s a daunting task, but totally worth it to see how excited the recipients are when they receive the variety of cookies we’ve prepared.
Of course as we’re giving out edible gifts, we’re also receiving them as well, and my favorite of all the edible gifts my family receives is by far my Mom’s friend Grace’s strawberry bread and strawberry butter. While I of course don’t live at home with my parents anymore, I make it a point to steal a few slices of it and a couple pats of the butter for myself. This year she made it even easier for me to steal by packaging them up into adorable individual portions; the bread disappeared in a matter of days, but I rationed out the butter for the last three months and just ran out a few days ago.
With the let down of not being able to slather the butter all over my breakfast breads, it got me thinking that I could make my own fruit butter at home. I was going to try to replicate her strawberry butter, but immediately nixed the plan since I literally have no idea how she makes it and didn’t want to be disappointed if my version didn’t turn out quite like hers. When I went to the store to get a little inspiration, I immediately spied a whole wall full of blackberries on sale for an incredible price; I snatched up a few pints and hurried back home to try my hand at my own version.
The process could not be simpler; softened butter is whipped up in a stand-mixer with a little bit of honey, cinnamon and pinch of salt. I then toss the blackberries in whole and let the mixer smash them up until the butter turns a soft gorgeous purple color and the berries still have a little bit of texture to them. That’s it. Of course you can just transfer the butter to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge, but I decided to package them up nicely so I could gift some of it to a friend of mine along with some blackberry scones.
This is where my new HP Sprout comes in again. If I can trigger your memory a little bit, I talked about the details of the new computer a little bit last week. I showed you how I used the workstation to create a step-by-step collage on how to make the perfect scrambled eggs. Today, I’m going to show you how I used it to create cute little labels to package my blackberry butter.
One of the features of the computer which differs from an ordinary computer is you can scan any object onto the workstation using the touch mat and overhead camera. It could be something as simple as a passage from a book, magazine or a document, but it also can take pretty realistic pictures of whatever object you want as long as it fits on the touch pad. For this particular project, I just set one single blackberry on the touch pad, pressed the camera button on the touch screen, and it immediately scanned the blackberry in. From there I just moved it over to the workstation and played around with different ways to incorporate it onto my label.
I replicated the berries and made a sort of circle with them to create the edge of the label and then used the type function in the Papyrus font to label it. I signed the bottom in my own handwriting using the stylist and then just saved it as a pdf, printed it and cut each label out. The whole process took me maybe 20 minutes, and really it only took that long because I was playing around with the style of the label, otherwise, I could have done in five minutes tops.
After all the labels were cut out I slipped a label onto the top of my mason jar, screwed the lid on tight and then tied a few strands of taffeta in a bow around the top of the jar. The butter alone would be the perfect hostess gift, but I would pair it with a batch of homemade blueberry muffins, a cute butter knife and maybe some pretty disposable napkins and put it all neatly in a basket of some sort for easy transporting.
The possibilities are really endless with the HP Sprout, I don’t feel like I’m an incredibly creative person when it comes to anything besides recipe developing, but this has made it so much easier for me to think outside of the box, and if I can learn a new piece of technology in this amount of time, anyone can.
I just wanted to give another shout out the HP Sprout team for gifting me with this awesome new piece of technology, and also a big thanks to the technician who showed me how to use it!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 4 tablespoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of kosher salt
- 4 ounces blackberries
- In the bottom of a stand mixer, add softened butter.
- Whip butter on a medium high speed. Add honey, cinnamon and salt. Whip until combined.
- Turn the mixer down to low and add black berries. Mix until blackberries are almost completely broken down, but still have a little bit of texture to them. The butter should be vibrant purple.
- Package into mini jars, label and wrap with ribbon!
This post was sponsored by Collectively in partnership with Sprout HP, every opinion is and will always be my own. Thank you for supporting the companies and brands that keep Cooking for Keeps afloat!
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