Thursday, December 23, 2010

Handmade Culinary Holiday Gifts

Handmade items make some of the best holiday gifts ever. If you're watching your budget but still want to give great gifts for the holidays, consider handmade treats from your kitchen!

There are many inexpensive, high volume items you can make like cookies, brownies and other bar treats, candies, sauces, spices, etc. People usually really appreciate yummy, handmade treats as gifts (be careful to give a little thought to your recipients--Auntie Ema may not appreciate peanut butter cookies if she's allergic to peanuts!).

Even when money wasn't an issue for me I loved to give handmade gifts in addition to store-bought items. For me, nothing says lovin' like something from the kitchen! This year I made gourmet popcorn in three flavors: garlic & herb, matcha/chai tea and chocolate/white chocolate drizzle w/pecans.

Garlic & Herb and Matcha & Chai Tea Gourmet Popcorn

Below is a picture of the chocolate/white chocolate drizzle popcorn w/pecans before I bagged it up. I gave this as gifts to the ladies of my book club last Saturday during our holiday party and they LOVED it. I purchased cute plastic white boxes with the word "Popcorn" written in red from the dollar store, placed a decorative plastic bag in the boxes, filled them with with popcorn and finished them with a colorful bow.

At the party I mentioned going to Harry & David while I was at the mall the day before and one of the ladies thought I bought the popcorn there. When I told her that I had made it, she got really excited and animated. Needless to say, I was thrilled that they liked the popcorn and thrilled that at least one person thought it was good enough to grace the shelves at Harry & David. {giggle}  Sorry, I don't have a picture of the finished boxes because just as I went to snap the pic, my camera battery died... 

Semi-sweet & white chocolate drizzle popcorn w/toasted pecans

...but not before I took this picture (below)--here I used decorative holiday tins to present the popcorn gift to some of my clients and friends:

Gourmet flavored popcorn presented in simple decorative tin

I made a red velvet cake (using box cake mix)  w/homemade orange buttercream frosting that I will give as a hostess gift on Christmas day. I hope she (the party hostess) cuts the cake while I'm there because I would REALLY love a piece but if she doesn't I'll just make another one--just for me. 

I am also making cookies: chocolate chunk and four variations of my favorite cookie, shortbread. I made plain, lemon, orange and had planned to make a lavender iced version but ended up making a matcha/chai tea mixture w/toasted pistachio nuts instead. The cookies are still in the fridge chilling so maybe I'll post a picture of them once they've been baked. I'll package the cookies in a variety of ways--some in decorative plastic bags, some in tins and a couple of people will receive very special holiday-themed cookie jars filled with cookies.

Update 12/29/10 - Below is the pic of the cookies. The shortbread cookies I made using an old recipe of mine and as usual, they were amazing! The chocolate chunk was a new recipe and I did not like it at all. The recipe was supposed to be for "chewy cookies" and although I followed the recipe exactly, they turned out to be deceptively beautiful little hockey pucks--painfully Won't be using that recipe again!

Shortbread cookies (matcha/chai spice, lemon, orange iced) and chocolate chunk

I've been having a blast creating tempting little sweet treats to give my family and friends for Christmas. I can present everyone with a little something and not have to get stressed about spending lots of money.  Next year I'll try something different...maybe I'll make some infused oils, some soup mixes or some of my "secret" spice blends.

So, whether your thing is cooking or baking, there is always something you can create that will make great, thoughtful holiday gifts. Just keep an open mind and stay creative. If you'd like recipes or packaging resources for any of the items listed above, post a comment here to let me know. Merry Christmas!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts on this post!