‘Tis the season for giving (not that there’s any wrong season for giving) and I don’t know about you, but I just love receiving thoughtful, special gifts made by hands that belong to those who are near and dear to me. I also love sharing goodies from my kitchen and I do feel there are few things as satisfying as bringing someone joy in the belly. So whether you’re looking for ideas for gift baskets, hostess gifts, or even just little giveaways to your guests, here’s a roundup of some great ideas to spread that joy.
You can always, of course, make your favorite batch of cookies. You can’t go wrong with cookies. If you’re worried about keeping them fresh and moist, one trick is to store your cookies in an airtight container with a slice of bread. The bread helps keep the cookies nice and fresh longer. Or you can opt for biscotti, wrapped up in pretty little bags or boxes.
We’ve also had quite a few Tasty Kitchen blog posts with step-by-step photos for recipes that would make wonderful gift items. Goodies like that decadent Almond Roca by missamy (recipe from mdatwell) and Burnt Sugar Almonds from Natalie (Perrys’ Plate) (recipe from Birgit Kerr). You can also make mini loaves of Steusel-Topped Pumpkin Bread from savorysweetlife (recipe from Food for My Family), or pack up cellophane bags of “Poppy” Chow from twopeasandtheirpod (recipe from ZoeDawn).
Another classic choice for gifts: your canning specialty. Looking for new ideas? Here are a few that caught my eye:
Top row, from left to right: Spiced Pear Preserves from sarahhope, Grape Harvest Jam from italianfoodforever, and Fig Cinnamon Jam from A Cozy Kitchen. Middle row, from left to right: Apple Pie Jam – Jelly from Mommy’s Kitchen, Apple Butter from barefootbelle, and Candied Jalapenos (Cowboy Candy) from Rebecca. Bottom row, from left to right: Blueberry Lemonade Jam from Karenpie, Rum Soaked Preserved Cherries from Rebecca, and Sweet and Spicy Habanero Jam from Jessica [at] Kohler Created.
You can also use pretty mason jars or cute bottles to hold homemade sauces and syrups. Give them something they won’t find in any store and it’ll be even that much more special to them.
Clockwise from top left: Spreadable Red Wine Cranberry Sauce from Beau, Vanilla Syrup 2.0 from soufflebombay, Lemon Curd from bell’alimento, Pomegranate Syrup from ButterYum, I’ve Been Called Evil Caramel Sauce from Sally Darling, and Essential Buttermilk Syrup from lizaskitchen.
You can also give your friends homemade mixes of different kinds, like your favorite hot cocoa mix or other drink mixes like Chai or Green Tea. You can even give them your favorite homemade pancake mix, leaving out the wet ingredients and printing pretty little instruction cards for them. If you want great ideas on packaging, check out Bakerella’s blog post on the almost-too-cute-for-words Cowgirl Cookies seen below. You can do the same with your favorite quick bread or muffin recipe. Think of all the possibilities!
If you have the opportunity to present your gift the same day you make it, a tray of freshly-baked Brownies and Bars will definitely bring a smile to someone’s face.
Of course, a popular and always well-received gift is candy. Candy always looks festive and sometimes can almost look too pretty to eat. Almost.
Top row, from left to right: Christmas Petit Fours from manda2177, Creamy Pecan Pralines from Amy (Minimally Invasive), and Chocolate Nutella & Sea Salt Fudge from cookincanuck. Middle row, from left to right: PB Fudge from Celeste, Rum-Glazed Roasted Pecans from Food for My Family, and Pistachio & Cranberry White Chocolate Bark from Michelle (Brown Eyed Baker). Bottom row, from left to right: Almond Joy Chocolate Bark from elanaspantry, Winter White Chocolate Mix from whatsgabycooking, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark from nancypants.
These are just some of the great gift ideas I found in Tasty Kitchen. Do you have a favorite gift you love giving to your friends? Let’s hear it from the other end too—what was the most memorable treat you’ve ever received? Leave us a comment and let us know! (Or even better, post it in Tasty Kitchen as a recipe so everyone can try it!) Let’s swap ideas to spread that joy in the belly to the ones we love.