CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS

Happy holidays and thanks for stopping in during this busy holiday season. As I mentioned in my last post, I recently hosted a Christmas Tea for my Book Club. We call ourselves The Well “Red” Book Club, because we customarily drink more “Red” wine than we do tea. So, I thought making Christmas Mulling Spice Party Favors would be just the ticket for this crowd, who would likely use it to mull wine rather than apple cider. We started our Christmas Tea Party in my bar, where we drank mimosas, given the early hour of the day. There would be plenty of time for tea and red wine as the afternoon progressed.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Each year I try to come up with a party favor idea for this group, several of which I’ve shared with you here. Last year it was Homemade Peppermint Bark.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT BARK |Recipe Tutorial | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The year before that I made Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix.

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Gifts From The Kitchen | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And the year before that I made Homemade Limoncello. We are still enjoying the huge batch I made 3 years ago, and it really does get better with age.

HOW TO MAKE LIMONCELLO | A tutorial at www.AfterOrangeCounty.comHOW TO MAKE LIMONCELLO | A tutorial at www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Then there was the year I made my Matcha Green Tea Sugar Scrub as party favors.

MATCHA GREEN TEA SUGAR SCRUB RECIPE | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So this year I decided to make Christmas Mulling Spice Party Favors. While it might be a little late for you to make some as Christmas gifts, I think Mulling Spices can be enjoyed all winter long. If you have time to whip up a batch, these Mulling Spices would also make a great hostess gift. So, here is how to make my recipe for Christmas Mulling Spice Party Favors.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Start with an 8 pound bag of Seedless Oranges and a 5 pound bag of Cuties (Mandarin Oranges). Throw them in your kitchen sink and give them a good washing.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Next, slice them as thin as you possibly can (about 1/4″ thick) using a mandoline or a very sharp knife. Discard the end pieces.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The next step is to dry them. To speed up the process I used 2 drying methods, my oven and my food dehydrator. I found that using a dehydrator is preferable, as it’s easy to over dry and burn the fruit in the oven, even when baking at a very low temperature. So, if you have a dehydrator this is a perfect use for your machine. If not, you can pick one up like mine by clicking here.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I really love this machine. I purchased it when I started vegetable gardening and wanted to dry my very abundant tomato crop. It can also be used to dry herbs and make homemade beef jerky, although I have yet to do that. But hey, I may just have to try making beef jerky real soon.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

When using the food dehydrator you simply layer the fruit in a single layer on the dehydrating trays, set the temperature to 145° and dry away. I found it took about 2 hours to fully dry my citrus slices. About half way thru the drying process I flipped each slice over, which helped the fruit to dry evenly on both sides.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

For drying the fruit in the oven I lined 3 large sheet pans with parchment paper and again, laid the fruit out in a single layer. I preheated the oven to the lowest setting on my Viking Range, which was about 150°. I was able to fit 3 large baking sheets at a time in my oven, spacing them evenly from top to bottom. Halfway through the 2 hour baking process I flipped the fruit, and I also rotated the pans from bottom to top inside the oven.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

You will know the fruit is sufficiently dried when the slices no longer feel tacky to the touch and the peel is crisp. I had to keep a close watch on the fruit in the oven, as I noticed it was easy to over dry the slices which would become darkened and tasted bitter. Removing the fruit from the oven or dehydrator, I allowed it to cool on the baking/drying sheets and then transferred the fruit to a large bowl. I’ll warn you, the drying of this much fruit took me a full 10-hour day of labor. My recipe will fill 16, 4″ x 4″ containers. These containers hold about 2 cups of Mulling Spices. If you need less than 16 party favors simply cut the recipe down accordingly, and in the process you will save yourself time as well. Depending on how much fruit you are drying, you will need to repeat this drying procedure several times until all the fruit is dried.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I used clear, 4″ x 4″ PVC round containers that I purchased online here at Paper Mart. They came in a case of 48 and cost $28.75. Once you have dried all of your oranges and Mandarins you can start to assemble the Christmas Mulling Spice mix. To do this first fill each container halfway full, arranging the slices attractively, placing some sideways. Then slide 4 cinnamon sticks along the side of the container, spacing them evenly. Next sprinkle in 1 teaspoon each of the following:

  • Whole Allspice Berries
  • Whole Cloves
  • Whole Star Anise Pods

Whole Star Anise is difficult to find in your average market. But, they carry it at one of my favorite stores, World Market. Click here to order some. You can also get a 4% rebate from Ebates when shopping at World Market.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Then top off the containers with more dried fruit and repeat the addition of another 1 teaspoon each of:

  • Whole Allspice Berries
  • Whole Cloves
  • Whole Star Anise Pods

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

To complete my Christmas Mulling Spice Party Favors I purchased some really cute gifts tags from a wonderful shop I discovered on Etsy called Southern Hospitality. They are huge, measuring 3 X 5 inches, and are printed on high-quality, very heavy card stock, and come with coordinating ribbon. They are personalized with either your initial or monogram, with several choices of typeface. The items I ordered were shipped immediately and I received them very promptly. By the way, you also get a 1% rebate from Ebates when shopping on Etsy.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I used the reverse side of the tags to handwrite the mulling instructions. Keep in mind that these mulling spices can also be used to make mulled wine. Simply add it to a bottle of fruity red wine, such as a Zinfandel, and you’ve got a delicious, warm and festive winter beverage.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Placing the cover on each container, I then bound them using wired raffia and tied on the pretty gift tags.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I displayed my Christmas Mulling Spice Party Favors on a table in my foyer where my guests could grab one on their way home.

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

 

Here’s the handy-dandy printable recipe:

 

CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Each container of fresh, homemade mulling spice is designed to flavor one bottle of apple cider or a fruity red wine.
Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 8 Lb. Bag Seedless Oranges
  • 5 Lb. Bag Cuties (Mandarin Oranges)
  • 64 Four Inch Cinnamon Sticks
  • ¾ Cup Whole Allspice Berries
  • ¾ Cup Whole Cloves
  • ¾ Cup Whole Star Anise Pods
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees F.
  2. Thoroughly wash the skin of the citrus fruit.
  3. Slice the oranges and Mandarins as thin as possible (about ¼" thick) using a mandoline or a very sharp knife.
  4. Discard the end pieces.
  5. Line large sheet pans with parchment paper and lay the fruit out in a single layer.
  6. Space the pans evenly from top to bottom in the oven.
  7. Bake for about 2 hours.
  8. Halfway through the baking process flip the fruit and rotate the pans from bottom to top inside the oven.
  9. If using a food dehydrator, layer fruit in a single layer on the dehydrating trays and set the temperature to 145°. Also flip the fruit halfway through the drying process.
  10. Check the progress periodically. You'll know the fruit is sufficiently dried when the slices no longer feel tacky to the touch and the peel is crisp.
  11. Keep a close watch on the fruit in the oven, as it was easy to over dry the slices which would become darkened and tasted bitter. This does not happen in a food dehydrator.
  12. Remove the fruit from the oven or dehydrator and allow it to cool on the baking/drying sheets.
  13. Transferred the dried fruit to a large bowl.
  14. Depending on how much fruit you are drying at one time, you will need to repeat the drying procedure several times until all the fruit is dried.
  15. Drying this quantity of fruit tooks many hours. This recipe will fill 16, 4" x 4" containers.
  16. These containers hold about 2 cups of Mulling Spices.
  17. If you need less than 16 party favors simply cut the recipe down accordingly, and in the process you will save yourself time as well.
  18. Once you have dried all the fruit you can assemble the Christmas Mulling Spice mix.
  19. First fill each container halfway full, arranging the slices attractively, placing some sideways.
  20. Slide 4 cinnamon sticks along the side of the container, spacing them evenly.
  21. Into each container sprinkle 1 teaspoon each of the Whole Allspice Berries, Whole Cloves and
  22. Whole Star Anise Pods.
  23. Top off the containers with more dried fruit and repeat the addition of another 1 teaspoon each of the 3 spices.
  24. Place the cover on each container, tie it up with ribbon and add a pretty gift tag with mulling instructions.
  25. MULLING INSTRUCTIONS
  26. Add contents to 2 quarts Apple Cider or a bottle of fruity red wine such as a Zinfandel.
  27. Bring to simmer and cook, covered for 2 minutes.
  28. Remove from heat and steep, covered, for 15 minutes.
  29. Strain the cider/wine through a fine sieve.
  30. Ladle the cider into mugs and enjoy piping hot.
Notes
If you’re in need of a party favor, hostess gift, a teacher gift or small gift for the folks in the office or the neighborhood, Christmas Mulling Spice is the perfect thing to give. These packages can be stored in a cool, dry place for 6 months.

So there you have it: CHRISTMAS MULLING SPICE PARTY FAVORS

Here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday season.

Thanks so much for dropping in! 

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. All photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This post contains affiliate links which help to make this blog possible.

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