Holiday gifts from the kitchen can be made in less time than you might expect. Look to the appliance where you heat your coffee. This is the best time of year to create gifts in the microwave.

These recipes don’t demand to be made on the weekend or require standing for hours in front of the stove. You can make a batch after you get home from work tonight, and a second batch tomorrow, and be in bed by 10 p.m. each evening.

Champagne Mustard, elegant and simple, takes holiday ham (and leftover ham sandwiches) to the next level. (Plus, it upcycles Champagne or prosecco if there’s any left in the bottle after a party.) After Thanksgiving, I made an excellent turkey salad with a good couple of tablespoons of Champagne Mustard instead of the usual Dijon. It’s fantastic.

For more than 20 years in two citrus-loving states, my recipe for Lemon Curd made in the microwave has helped me make dozens of gifts. Like the mustard, the eggs in the curd are controlled by stirring them at frequent intervals.

Exact preparation times depend on the wattage of your microwave. Both recipes with eggs are cooked on high power briefly, then stirred and cooked for another brief interval. My mustard took only two intervals, but yours may take three or four. Whatever it is, it’s less time than it takes to stand over an improvised double boiler whisking eggs continuously for 20 minutes.

And since it’s the holidays, we must have a sweet. Our beloved praline can be made in the microwave, as can much other candy. The recipe I use has been improved over the years with a little corn syrup. They’re perfect for last-minute gifts, as the texture is best if they are eaten within a day or two of being made.

Pralines or any microwave candy means boiling sugar, which should be done with care. Rowdy pets or children are best banned from the kitchen for safety reasons for the 20 minutes or so it takes to make a batch. That said, I love to make these and see the surprise on the giftee’s face when I share that they were made by electromagnetic waves.

See the recipes here.


Send “the best” recipes and correspondence to Judy Walker at JudyWalkerCooks@gmail.com with “Roux Believer” in the subject line. Please include a phone number.

Send "the best" recipes and correspondence to Judy Walker at JudyWalkerCooks@gmail.com with “Roux Believer” in the subject line. Please include a phone number.