Handmade gifts are among the best kinds -- especially when they’re edible.
If you’re in need of a little inspiration, browse these 11 DIY gift categories to find the perfect idea for the food lover in your life. Most of these recipes are easy to make, affordable, and can be packaged and personalized beautifully. (Don’t forget to include storage instructions on the label.)
This year, why not skip the mall and head into the kitchen?
"In old New York at Christmastime, bakeries sold stacks of paper-wrapped and beribboned stollen, the beloved German holiday bread," says Sarabeth Levine.
"Get multiple colors out of a single batch and mix and match as you please," say Liz Gutman and Jen King. "Just remember to squirrel away a couple for yourself as a little after-dinner-at-home treat."
Also try: Turkish Delight, Nougat, Lynne's Homemade Marshmallows, Chocolate-Coconut Almond Bites, The Dorie Bar, Buckeyes, Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles Maison or Seriously Good Improvisational Chocolates.
"This after-dinner drink is like a little ray of boozy citrus sunshine at the end of a heavy meal," says Annie Rigg. "If you’re lucky enough to find some lemons with stems and leaves attached, these would make a very beautiful label or gift tag."
Recipe: Candied Lemon Peel
"Who knew making candied peel was so easy, and frankly satisfying! They are quite beautiful when finished and a great gift to bring to a favorite hostess, so make extra," says Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
Recipe: Pear Jam with Rosemary and Pine
"Pear goes naturally with herbs, and the combination of pear and rosemary is particularly delicious," says Rachel Saunders. "Pinecone bud syrup has a dark chestnut color and wintry pine flavor."
Recipe: Maple Granola
(Photo: The Hippie Triathlete / Flickr)
Tim Herd's recipe is perfect for breakfast lovers and snackers.
Also try: Cornflake Crunch.
Recipe: Tapas Bar Roasted Almonds
(Photo: Sally Schneider / improvisedlife.com)
"In addition to bundling them with bottles of bone-dry Manzanilla sherry as gifts, I often serve the combination when friends drop by for cocktails," says Sally Schneider.
"You will love what happens to radishes and carrots in this pickle -- one turns a sheer sunset pink while the other practically pulsates orange," say Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift.
Recipe: Lemon Scented Olive Oil
Sally Schneider says: "This oil makes a much-appreciated gift packed into clean bottles. (You can recycle pretty oil or vinegar bottles, soaking off the labels…or buy bottles.)"
Recipe: Homemade Nutella
"For some people, Nutella -- a smooth chocolate-hazelnut spread found in the peanut butter aisle in most supermarkets -- is a nostalgic childhood treat," says Christie Matheson.
Recipe: Fragrant Tuscan Herb Salt
"The herb salt makes a great gift," says Sally Schneider. "If you want to make a lot of herb salt, I suggest doing it in batches, rather than all at once, to retain the right texture."
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Jennifer Russell is a founding producer at The Splendid Table. Before coming to radio, she made historical and arts and cultural programming for public television. She claims to have come out of the womb a food lover -- when other girls played house, she played restaurateur. Follow her comings and goings on Twitter: @jenejentweets.