Heavenly Homemade Food Gifts
Cakes, snack mixes, food gifts in a jar, cinnamon pretzels, fudge, candy and more—the season's best recipes are the ones that double as gifts, especially when you pair them with clever packaging ideas.
Chocolate Gift Cakes
These 6-inch chocolate cakes are topped with a swoop of silky frosting. The recipe (which makes three cakes) comes from Minneapolis blogger Sarah Kieffer's cookbook, Baking for the Holidays.
Salty meets sweet as cereal, pretzels and peanuts get a coating of melted white baking pieces. Package this gift from the kitchen in boxes that resemble takeout containers.
Soft, chewy homemade caramels are the bee's knees. For a twist on the classic, try Sarah Kieffer's orange, espresso and salted variations. Extra credit if you package them in our darling crepe paper treat bags!
Vanilla Bean Sables
Simple. Elegant. Buttery. These vanilla bean cookies are the perfect slice-and-bake treat, and you can make them four ways.
Related: Christmas Cookie Recipes to Treasure
Triple Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Trust us: This festive and easy peppermint bark recipe is so much better than store-bought versions. Break it into bite-size pieces or cut it into six larger "candy bars" and wrap them up for gifting.
Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche
Dulce de leche is lusciously thick Latin American caramel that's traditionally made by boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk. Our slow-cooker method allows you to monitor the caramel's color, plus the end result is an instant gift.
Gift in a Jar: Chocolate-Nut Cookies
Layers of flour, brown sugar, coconut, chocolate pieces and peanuts appeal to the baker who receives this gift in a jar. Include a cookie scoop for an added touch. See recipe below and also get printable recipe labels and instructions
Modern Fruit Cakes
Even if you're not a fan of fruit cake, Sarah Kieffer's modern take may convert you. These super-moist cakes are encassed in chocolate and star elegant flavors like tarte cherries, orange zest, candied citruis peel, colorful chopped and dried fruit. Package them up in our DIY modern fruit cake boxes before gifting.
Toffee Blondies in a Jar
This easy-to-assemble holiday gift tastes so good that you'll want to keep some extra for yourself. Layer dry ingredients in a glass or clear plastic container, tie on a holiday ribbon, and give along with a pretty kitchen towel.
Candied Citrus Peels
Here's a clever use for peels from the fruit you've juiced: make candied citrus peels. Sarah Kieffer's trick is to boil and re-boil the peels several times in fresh water to remove their bitterness.
Related: How to Make a Modern Fruit Cake Box
Candy Cane Snack Mix
What's better than sweet and salty? Sweet, salty and pepperminty! This easy-as-could-be snack mix is fantastic for holiday gifts.
Sugary cinnamon meets salty pretzels in this super-easy, gift-worthy snack mix. Package them in a pretty, airtight container.
Short on time? Make chocolate bark for gifts—or for your family. After melting and spreading the chocolate, it's just top, top and away!
When you want to give more than a card, but less than a gift, slip a cookie or two in a plastic treat bag (available at crafts stores) with a solid-color piece of scrapbooking paper. Fold contrasting paper over the opening, punch two holes, then tie with ribbon.
These adorable treats will be an especially popular gift for families with kids. Give in a small box nestled in holiday-colored chocolate candies. See recipe at link or tap to see our how-to Christmas mice video.
A coating of spicy and sweet turns toasted pecans into a holiday food that makes a great food gift or party snack. Make these ahead of time to give out at the holidays-just store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 1 month.
Make a Scandinavian brownie with a Scandinavian straw ornament for an easy food gift or cookie exchange treat!
Purchase inexpensive straw ornaments from sources such as Minneapolis-based Ingebretsen's. Bake brownies in an 8-inch pan and cut into 9 squares. Wrap each square like a present in cellophane wrapping paper (we bought ours at Walmart). Attach strips of red ribbon using glue dots, then add ornaments using glue dots.
Gift in a Jar: Spicy Three-Bean Soup
Our Spicy Three-Bean Soup makes dinner in a jar, the perfect present for busy people. Give along with a bag of corn chips or tortilla chips.
Get our recipe above and download a PDF of printable recipe labels and instructions here.
Fruit and Nut Granola
Abilene's Victorian Inn in Kansas created this granola for guests. Eat it with milk or layered in a parfait with yogurt and fruit. This makes a great food gift at the holidays; it can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or placed in freezer bags and frozen for up to 2 months.
White Chocolate Christmas Fudge
Fudge in any flavor makes a classic holiday gift, but our white fudge dotted with dried cranberries and pistachios looks especially festive.
Related: 10 Fabulous Fudge Recipes
Winter Orange Pomegranate Iced Tea
Make a gift-giving splash with this quick and easy tea, which takes just 10 minutes to prepare. Tie a ribbon around a keepsake bottle with the recipe attached.
Gift in a Jar: Fudgy Snack Cake
This easy cake-in-a-jar is both quick to assemble and easy to bake. Candy pieces and chopped nuts add a tasty topping to this moist, easy cake-no frosting necessary! Get the recipe at our link above and download a PDF of printable recipe labels and instructions.
Roasted Nut Snack
Give party nuts a holiday twist by roasting them with one of four flavors: Cocoa-Sugared Mix, Curry-Spiced Mix, Barbecue-Seasoned Mix and Asian Five-Spiced Mix. Find frosted-plastic boxes at crafts or scrapbooking stores to make the nuts easy to give away in single servings.
Gift in a Jar: Cranberry-Bran Muffins
This gift in a jar has stripes of flour, whole bran cereal, apple pie spice, almonds, brown sugar and cranberries. Seal the streusel topping in a small sturdy plastic bag and enclose at the top of the jar. The jars/gifts keep at room temperature for up to a month. Get the recipe above and download a free PDF of printable recipe labels and instructions.
Santa's Delight Peppermint Bark
This super-easy Christmas treat uses just two ingredients: candy coating and either crushed candy canes or crushed round peppermint candies.
Sweet Bread Loaves
Gifts of homemade holiday treats, including fresh-baked quickbreads, look striking in pretty packaging. Fold colorful cardstock to create easy containers. Accent with ribbons and tie on a meaningful message. To make mini-loaf bread packaging as shown, download a free package template.
Related: 20 Sweet Quick Bread Loaves
Gift in a Jar: Fruit and Nuts Oatmeal
Toasting the oatmeal before layering is worth the effort for added nutty flavor. Give with a small jar of honey.
Click the link above for the recipe and find a PDF here of printable recipe labels and instructions.
Gift in a Jar: Blueberry-Ginger Hotcakes
Add a bottle of real maple syrup when you give this layered pancake mix in a jar. The hotcakes are more flavor-packed than traditional pancakes.
Click above for the recipe and click or tap here to download a free PDF of printable recipe labels and instructions.