Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen
Few gifts show thoughtfulness, a willingness to put effort and time into the present, or good taste as much as gifts you make in the kitchen. The giver can be almost positive the gift will be used. And home made kitchen gifts can be frugal, too.
And – perhaps best of all – you don’t have to wait until Christmas or Hanukkah is almost upon you to begin making these gifts.
Many can be made now, at your leisure, then frozen until late December.
Treats for Freezing
Most baked goods can be frozen for several months. Good choices include shortbread, unfrosted cake, quick breads, muffins, cheesecake, pie, and cookies made with real vanilla and that don’t have soft frostings, meringues, or cream fillings.
Allow all baked goods to thoroughly cool before freezing, and firm cheesecakes in the freezer before wrapping them up and freezing thoroughly. Wrap cooled baked goods in a double layer of extra heavy foil, then pop into an airtight freezer bag.
If you want to cut up baked goods before giving them away, allow the baked goods to thaw on the counter a little, then cut and repackage.
Gifts in a Jar
Here’s a great gift for people who like to cook. It gives them some fun and saves you a ton of time. Gifts in a jar usually refer to all the ingredients (at least the dry ones) for a recipe placed in a large Mason jar, along with a recipe card and perhaps some tools needed to make the food (like cookie cutters).
Think outside the box for some easy and unique gifts. For example, if the recipient loves coffee, purchase some candy canes or sticks and dip them in molten chocolate. Allow them to cool and harden, then wrap in plastic wrap or cellophane. They make superb coffee stirrers.
Homemade gourmet liqueurs and vinegars are also easy to make.
Home made vanilla extract is also easy to make. Simply submerge 2 whole vanilla beans 750 milliliters of vodka in an air tight container. Place in a dark, cool location and shake now and then. If you do this now, the vanilla extract will be ready to use by Christmas or Hanukkah.
Ordinary foil makes an attractive and functional wrapping for treats if you spruce it up a little. Try printing and placing one gold foil label on each package, telling gift recipients what the item is. Wrap curling ribbon around each package; it will stay attractive longer than ordinary bows.
You can also purchase special packages for holiday treats. Or use the special holiday-decorated Ziplock bags and airtight containers often sold at this time of year. Mason jars also make an excellent package for many items.
If you’re giving a gift to someone who also likes to cook, it’s nice to include an attractively printed recipe card, too.