I love to give people edible, homemade gifts for the holidays, so I was excited to see that the December issue of Bon Appetit included a whole article on the subject ("A Very DIY Holiday"). I was particularly intrigued by their Walnut-Thyme Honey with olive oil, lemon zest, and dried chilies.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can whip it together in 20 minutes, and you probably have almost all of the ingredients already on hand. The only thing I had to run to the store for was the dried chilies de árbol, which are small, fiery Mexican chilies that can be found in most supermarkets. If you can't find them you can substitute a pinch of red pepper flakes, but your walnut honey won't look as pretty. Chilies de árbol are bright red and look festive in the jar against the green thyme leaves.
Next time, I might try swapping some of the walnuts for almonds, and adding a big strip of lemon or orange zest to each jar.
This honey would be absolutely delicious paired with any cheese, but especially hard, salty varieties like aged Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyere, both of which have a fair amount of nuttiness. Or drizzle it over a cornmeal pound cake.
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About the Author: Lucy Baker is a food writer and the author of The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets. She is currently at work on a second book about homemade food gifts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and dachshund.