My contributions to all the holiday parties I've been attending this holiday season have been some of my homemade jellies, along with crackers and goat cheese, and they seem to have been a big hit. They're absurdly simple to make, too! I tried my hand at a merlot jelly first, and a pomegranate jalapeno variety as well. They both work off the same basic recipe:
4 cups liquid
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin
That's it for the wine! Whisk the pectin into the sugar, bring the liquid to a gentle roil, whisk in the sugar/pectin mixture, bring back to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes, can and boil in a water bath for 5-10 minutes. For the pepper jelly, just a couple extra steps. Split and seed 10 jalapenos (and 2-4 habaneros if you want extra kick) and simmer in the juice for 10 minutes, strain out the peppers, and then again, whisk in the sugar, simmer, can, boil, yadda yadda. I ended up doing a second batch after I blew through the first (each yielded about six 1/2 pint jars), so instead of merlot wine the second time around I used mead.
A cracker, smeared with goat cheese, and a dollop of gourmet jelly on top? Heaven!