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The Gift of Food

Posted by in Holidays, The Theme Is...

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Food Gifts

‘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:

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Food Gifts (Canning)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.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Food Gifts (Homemade Sauces and Syrups)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!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Food Gifts (Mixes)Clockwise from left: Homemade Chai Mix from sallypv, Cowgirl Cookies from Bakerella, and Genmaicha (“Popcorn” Tea) from paxye.

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.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Food Gifts (Candy)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.



Comments are closed for this recipe.

Michelle Crist on 12.23.2010

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Since Saturday I’ve made, Winter White Chocolate Mix, Almond Roca, Burnt Sugar Almonds, Poppy Chow and Rum Pecans.

~whew~ I’m exhaused,but darn if everything wasn’t/isn’t scrumptious!!

Thank you all again!

Carissa on 12.22.2010

This year, I gave away white chocolate popcorn crunch in pretty little jars. (It has dried cherries, pistachios, and cinnamon toasted pumpkin seeds in it too… YUM.)

Here’s the recipe!

Heather Bonner on 12.20.2010

I made the Apple Pie In a Jar (apple pie filling) this year for teachers and bus drivers. We made some for ourselves too. It makes an amazing pie. We always pick too many apples in the fall and we usually end up throwing them out. This got us to use them and my Christmas presents were mostly done in October! I also made the Burnt Sugar almonds from this site and put them in pretty clear bags. Such yummy gifts!

Katie on 12.20.2010

I made the apple pie jam, the blueberry lemonade jam (both featured in this post), and a cabernet sauvignon jelly, dolled the jars up with Christmas fabric, ribbon, and cute little labels I made, put one of each in a gift basket, added some homemade fudge and candy to Christmas mugs, and sent a basket to each of my boyfriend’s family members! :-) I know they’re going to love them!

Peggy O. on 12.20.2010

I just made Ree’s cinnamon rolls for the first-time ever to give to families in our church this Christmas. They turned out great! They are delicious! I did a double recipe, so we had 14 pans to give (& hoped we’d have a few left for ourselves). I’ll make this recipe again & again. YUM!

Camie on 12.20.2010

These are great ideas! They look amazing! I love making treats to share with my family, can’t wait to try some of these.

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KitchenTravels on 12.20.2010

Great ideas – in the post and in the comments! I won’t really have time to do many – if any – homemade gifts this year, but I still like reading about all the fun ideas. :)

Dawn (

Leslie B @ One Day Before Yesterday on 12.19.2010

This post has really got me thinking! Although its very close to Christmas this year, next year I will be canning even more vegetables than I have in the past summers and so I plan to can up some vegetables, salsas, jams, etc, to give away to folks, especially my neighbors! What a great post!

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The Newlywed Chefs on 12.19.2010

We are giving everyone homemade vanilla extract this year! Recipe coming soon!

Erin on 12.19.2010

With so many sweets being given I decided to do salsa. I bought 2 cup plastic containers with screw top lids. Filled them with homemade salsa (Ree’s Restaurant Style Salsa, btw), tied some ribbon around with gift tags and voila!! Can’t wait to pass them out tomorrow!

karen in seattle on 12.18.2010

I canned telve half-pints of the Candied Jalapenos this afternoon. Beautiful! So easy and smells so good. Will do twelve more tomorrow. Everyone who comes on Christmas Eve is getting jars.

Colleen @ DrMomOnline on 12.18.2010

OK, mine’s weird. There’s a wonderful gentleman who lives a couple doors down from us who IS Santa Claus. Really. (OK, maybe not… but he’s identical!) Each year, he is hired by several organizations, hospitals and schools to make his appearance. AND… around 9 pm on Christmas Eve, he stops by OUR home and spends some time with our kids!!! It’s the bestest EVER!
Oh, yeah… FOOD was the topic here!
I make him and his wife a big ‘ol dish of lasagna and give it to hime on Christmas Eve each year. I dunno’ why… I just do… and they love it. Gotta’ stay on Santa’s “nice” list!! He tells our kids he’s going to share it with the reindeer on his way to China! ; )

Karen T. on 12.18.2010

This year I’m making fudge and chocolate covered cherries for my parents and my in-laws. Yum!

Chrissy on 12.17.2010

I made 2 big quart jars full of Spiced Pecans and sent them to family in New Mexico. My mom even dolled them up with fabric under the lid and tied a bow on it! I’ll probably make more Spiced Pecans next week and put them in pint jars.

I’ve already handed out gingerbread and sugar cutout cookies to friends, coworkers and family. They were a hit all around.

Ashley Moshell on 12.17.2010

We tried hot cocoa mix in mason jars with mallows…yummy! It is way better than the packaged hot chocolate mix!

MT Gal on 12.17.2010

Gotta try the evil caramel sauce for my Christmas Day dinner dessert table. It looks so delicious.

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Erika (TK) on 12.17.2010

Ahsley,, those are the Creamy Pecan Pralines from Amy (Minimally Invasive), also pictured in the last collage. Don’t they look delicious?

Ashley on 12.17.2010

What is the recipe in the top right picture of the first picture group in this blog? It looks almost like peanut brittle with pecans? Anybody have an idea??

Charlotte Lammers on 12.17.2010

My grandson, Evan, and I always make his teacher (and choirmaster, Scout leaders) gifts. We make a snack mix called Wormy Apple mix that his mother and aunt and I used to make for their teachers. I saw it in a magazine when the girls were young. You take dried apples, Gummi worms, red and green M & Ms, mini-marshmallows, raisins, craisins, peanuts and cashews, then mix in a big bowl. Pack in holiday jars or tins.

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Clabbergirl on 12.17.2010

This year, I’ve been making Ina Garten’s recipe for orange pound cake (my orange trees went crazy this year). I bought a bunch of ceramic loaf pans to hold the cellophane-wrapped cakes. I tuck in her recipe under the tissue paper bed and tie it up in a big bow. Very pretty! Very delicious!

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Fabs on 12.17.2010

I make cinnamon sugar almonds for teachers, school bus drivers, and relative out of town, so easy and so good! I also do cookies and mini loaves of bread of friends and relatives in town.

Melody on 12.17.2010

I like to combine whole allspice, cinnamon chips, some nutmeg I’ve taken a hammer to, sometimes some dried lemon peel or orange peel, whole cloves. I mix it and put it into canning jars with decorated tops as boiling spices. I love baking forthe holidays but I can make a lot of gifts for everyone with this stuff.

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ArndtYouErin on 12.17.2010

Emily – The cereal mix in the top picture, top left is the same thing as the bottom picture bottom, middle Winter White Chocolate Mix

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yankee4life on 12.17.2010

I took your Honey Bun Cake to the party today. In attendance were some people that you know and love! Boy did they love the cake! Thanks for havung great recipes on your site!

carolyn on 12.17.2010

LOVE this blog post!!! :)

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Carol on 12.17.2010

I love baking and candy making for friends during the holidays!

Four of my favorites…

Scotch Kisses….friends and people my husband work for look forward to these

I always love making this Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti too-the red cranberries and green pistachios say Merry Christmas…

I love making homemade bread and this “twist” on a cinnamon roll is welcomed by friends-they love having them at the ready on Christmas morning…

And it isn’t a cookie tray without some of these quick, easy AND pretty (oh and don’t forget yummy!) Italian cookies…

I also do a variety of mini quick breads to tuck into holiday baskets.

Happy Holidays everyone! :)

Sue D. on 12.17.2010

I just got a cute bag of homemade caramel corn last night during a gift exchange…..appreciated just as much as the bought gifts!!

Emily on 12.17.2010

I’d like the recipe for that cereal mix on the top left. Looks good!

Helen on 12.17.2010

As I’m working my way through my Reader this morning, in the back of my mind is this nagging voice that I should really start making my cookies! This just adds to the nag, thanks! Off to bake.

Heather (Heather's Dish) on 12.17.2010

food gifts are by far my favorite…even if it’s just something in a package that someone gets for me, it always reminds me of them every time i see or eat it!

TanyaHollas on 12.17.2010

Funny that you did this post today… I gave out goodie bags of cookies & candy to all my coworkers this morning! Grandma R cookies (similar to Ree’s oatmeal cookies), Cinnamon Snaps, Egg nog cookies, fudge and Cherry/Almond bites. I’m exhausted from making all of it but everyone was greatful and it made it worth it!

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territorymom on 12.17.2010

All these items would be a great giveaway!!!!

MOV on 12.17.2010

Love the idea of home-made goodies.
Most memorable? One year my sister Oakley made lovely handmade soap and also delicious white chocolates. Well–at least I thought they were delicious. The Husband accidentally ate the soap. (He still drags this story out when my sister is visiting.)

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ArndtYouErin on 12.17.2010

I don’t have a gift idea, I just wanted to say that I LOVE this blog post. I can’t wait to hear all the great ideas! I’ll definitely be giving away some Cowgirl Cookies in the future :)

Bonnie from Louisiana on 12.17.2010

Years ago, when I was in High School (in the 70’s, ‘nuf said on that subject) my mom and I made cookies every Christmas. (a little history here… My mom and her sister both only had 1 child, my cousin Pam and me, but their brother and his wife had 7 kids. We never did a christmas present exchange).. However, my mom still wanted to give something. And what do you give a family of 9 people, 7 of which are growing hungry kids? Food, of course! So, my mom and I baked cookies… for weeks before Christmas. Dozens and dozens of cookies.. decorated sugar cookies, Russian tea cakes, lebkucken, 7 layer cookies, molasses cookies, candy cane cookies, shortbreads, thumbprints ( many more than Iv listed)… we would bake batches of them just about every evening and freezing them weeks before christmas. Then she would pick up a coat box from the mall (a coat box is an absolutely HUGE version of a shirt box, prob almost 3 ft long, 6 or 8 in deep, and 18 in wide.) A BIG BOX…. It would be filled, and I mean FILLED with cookies. The cookies that were the most fun to make were the cutout sugar cookies. She had these old red plastic cutters that had scenes. There was the entire cresch scene, Santa clause, reindeer, wrapped packages, a snowman, anything christmasy… and oh dear, the decoration that we would do. She had little bowls of colored frosting, all kinds and colors of sprinkles, piped icing.. just all kinds of stuff.. we painted, sprinkled, piped, etc and made the most beautiful cookies.. The sights and smells of making those cookies will forever be etched on my memory. I dont know if my cousins remember those coat boxes of cookies, but I sure do. My mom is gone now, but the memory of making all those cookies will be with me till I am with her again.

Tabitha (FromSingletoMarried) on 12.17.2010

What great ideas! I found a cute container shaped like a Santa Clause that I’m going to use to fill with cookies. Best part – it was only a $1.00! :)

Constance Hymas on 12.17.2010

I love doing goodies boxes. As my kitchen currently demonstrates. My counters are coverd with cookies, banana bread, caramels, truffles,peppermint merengues, and homemade marshmallows waiting to be dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in toasted coconut. And I still need to do the candied pecans.

Celesta on 12.17.2010

This year I’m giving away pumpkin bread in a jar!

Jodie ( on 12.17.2010

Love giving homemade goodies. I believe it’s all in the packaging. On my blog I have (all homemade)peppermint patties, bon bons and granola as a few of my packaged gift ideas.

Cookin' Canuck on 12.17.2010

What a round-up! It’s only 6:30 in the morning & already I’m craving Christmas treats.

Hilary on 12.17.2010

Because everyone usually ends up with a small truckload of cookies at Christmas time, I decided to do something a little different and made my homemade cranberry granola to give out this year. I packaged the granola up in jars, made a tag, and voila! Healthy Christmas gifts that won’t get thrown away because of New Years resolutions!