Homemade Chili Powder

If you want a fresh, custom chili powder, make you own! This is adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe. For medium heat, use ancho peppers. For more spice, use arbol or cayenne. Use a combination for a more complex flavor. Wear gloves when handling hot peppers.

5-6 Dried chilies, stemmed, seeded and sliced, use any combo
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon smoked paprika


  • Place the chilies and the cumin into a medium sauté pan. Cook on medium-high for about 3-4 minutes. You want the chilies and cumin to get slightly toasted, this releases more flavor. Set aside and cool.
  • Place all ingredients in a blender or spice grinder. Process until a fine powder is formed. Wait for the powder to settle before you remove the lid. Chili powder isn’t anything you want to breathe in. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

This post is part of Monday Mania. and Pennywise Platter

Crystallized Ginger & Syrup

Here’s another idea for a homemade gift. You can knock out two gifts with one recipe—crystallized ginger and ginger syrup.

Peel one to two medium sized fresh ginger roots.

Slice into pieces about 1/8 inch thick. You should have about a cup of ginger.

Bring three cups of water and two cups of sugar to boil. Stir until sugar has dissolved.

Add the ginger and turn the heat down. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, until the ginger is tender and translucent. Be sure to watch it. If the heat is too high, the syrup can burn quickly.

Drain all but about a tablespoon of the syrup (be sure to keep the syrup!). Return ginger to pan and heat while constantly stirring until all the water evaporates.

Remove from heat and toss with a cup of sugar.

Place ginger on wax paper and let cool. Be sure to separate the pieces or you’ll have a giant ginger blob.

Store in an airtight container and keep at room temperature.

Crystallized ginger is tasty in most baked goods. Epicurious has a slew of recipes.

Keep the syrup refrigerated. Add a splash of it to tea or any beverage you want to spice up.

Ginger martinis anyone?