Store-bought gifts are great, but homemade ones are just as nice, especially when they come from the heart of your home – the kitchen. It shows the recipient that you took a little extra time and energy to create something that you know (hope!) they’ll love. These ideas are meant to be simple enough for even the most novice of cooks to create.
And in order to not exclude those who don’t crave spending long hours in the kitchen standing over the stove, we’ve also suggested a few foodie items that can be bought in a store, or even better, purchased while you’re cozy on the couch with a glass of wine and your favourite holiday flick.
Homemade Edible Gift Ideas
Chocolate-Dipped Potato Chips
This easy homemade treat is the perfect marriage of salty and sweet, and while super simple to make, it never fails to impress those on the receiving end. Gather the kids and take turns coating sturdy potato chips with melted chocolate. You can cover the entire chip, dip just one end, or drizzle the chip with chocolate instead. If you choose to dip, feel free to add sprinkles, coarse salt or candy bits (caramel ones are a solid choice here) to the dipped end. Let the chips dry on a piece of parchment paper, then package them in clear cello bags and tie with ribbon.
Decant regular or buckwheat honey into small jars. Add a cinnamon stick, star anise, clove and/or cardamom pod, as well as a strip of orange peel and stir well. Cover and gift to your favourite tea-drinking friend, teacher, neighbour or foodie.
This is an easy and inexpensive way to make a lot of little edible gifts. One batch of caramel popcorn, regardless of the recipe, generally yields about 10 cups. Place 1 to 2 cups in a mason jar or clear cello bag and tie with ribbon. There are many recipes available online that add extra flavour to regular caramel corn. This cinnamon roll variation is a popular pick, as is this sriracha caramel corn.
Jams, Jellies, Sauces, and Salsas
If you are a cook yourself, you’ve probably made a few batches of jams, jellies, sauces, and salsas over the year. Pull a few jars from your pantry, add a swatch of fabric or gift wrap to the top of the jar and tie it tightly over the lid with some ribbon.
Store-Bought Edible Gift Ideas
If you are a Costco shopper, you’ve probably fallen prey to a popular temptation known as “Ghirardelli Brownie Mix.” Personally, I refer to these as “my dirty little secret” and keep a box stored in the pantry for chocolate-craving emergencies. The box contains 5 packages of mix for less than $13 dollars, and can easily be turned into the most delicious edible Christmas gift. To do so, decant the mix into a clean jar (you may want to use a jar you already own or you can purchase one with a pretty lid that can act as part of the gift), and affix a label with the baking instructions.
Alternatively, you can also bake a batch of the brownies in a brand new baking pan and give them to your favourite friend, including the new bakeware as part of the present.
Top Quality Maple Syrup
For my 40th birthday, my friend gifted me with a bottle of Noble maple syrup, an artisan bourbon barrel-matured maple syrup that’s so good you’ll be tempted to drink it straight from the bottle. I highly recommend it for both the experienced and novice home cook.
I’m a big fan of Lillet, but I’m not sure if everyone else is aware of its charms. A French aperitif, from the Bordeaux region of France, it’s light, citrusy and full of floral notes, and I often enjoy it served over some ice with a piece of orange or lemon in the summer, but it’s also lovely to offer to someone during the winter when you want to thank them for something. It has a longer shelf life than wine and can be stored in the fridge for a month or two, meaning it can be enjoyed all season long. It’s truly the perfect hostess gift.
If you want to save this idea for a holiday gift idea, here are a few suggestions for using it in the winter months (you could also write these ideas on a recipe card to accompany the bottle):
- Combine 2 Tbsp. Lillet, 2 Tbsp. pomegranate juice and 1 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds in a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine or champagne.
- Pour 2 oz. Lillet into an ice-filled highball and top with Schweppes cranberry ginger ale. Garnish with a slice of orange and a few cranberries.
Food of the Month Club
There’s a subscription box for almost everyone these days, and food-based boxes are certainly no exception. You can purchase an all-purpose food box, or something more specific like a tea box. It’s also possible to have monthly meat deliveries made to your favourite carnivore, or veggies, too.
Pasta and Parm
Everyone needs to eat, so giving the gift of gourmet pasta isn’t just for foodies. I like to pick up a fun looking pasta that can be found at stores like Winners or HomeSense and pair it with a bottle of sauce (store-bought or homemade) and a wedge of Parmesan cheese tied with ribbon. Place in a gift bag or add to a small basket lined with a new tea-towel to include with the gift. You can do the same thing with a bottle of wine, Artisan loaf of bread and fancy French cheese.