Gifts from the kitchen – and from the heart – are always welcome around the holidays. You don’t have to worry about sizes, sales, fighting traffic or return policies. They’re usually budget-friendly and end up seeming very personal because you put in the effort to make them yourself.
If you’re shipping your treats, remember to choose things that will travel well. Biscotti, for instance, will keep for a couple of weeks and still taste as good as new. Candies are a great option, too. Not only do they ship and store well, but their sweetness makes them seem a little extra decadent – not a bad thing around the holidays. Homemade marshmallows, homemade peanut butter cups and chocolate bark are all good choices. Chocolate bark in particular is very versatile because it can be topped off with any kind of dried fruit or nut. You can even add broken candy canes to make peppermint bark. Spiced Walnuts or other nuts ship very well and are also easy to make.
Rum balls are especially good for shipping because they improve with age and you don’t need to rush to get them in the mail. Hot cocoa mix is another option that is very easy to mix up and keeps for a long time. Package some with some cute holiday mugs and you’re all set as far as shipped gifts go.
If you’re delivering your gifts in person, you have a lot more options. If you can carry it over, you can gift it. All of the above options are still good ideas, but cookies, cupcakes, cakes and even breads are now fair game, as well. When selecting something, just make sure you can transport it easily. Flan might not be the best choice if you don’t have access to refrigeration. Cupcakes might not be ideal if you know you have a bumpy car ride and the cakes are going to be thrown around inside their carrier.
This year, Gingersnap Cupcakes are my favorite holiday treat. If you leave off the frosting, they can double as easier-to-transport muffins. Eggnog cupcakes, which are vegan, have a nice holiday flair to them, as well. Candy Cane Christmas Cupcakes are extremely festive and might be a good options for a party or potluck. White Chocolate Cherry Cookies are nice and chewy, as are Spicy Chewy Molasses Cookies. Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Rugelach are easier to make than they appear to be, and are both elegant and delicious.
Quick breads make fantastic gifts, too, and are very easy to package. My standard is Cranberry Orange Bread, Pumpkin Cranberry Bread, Baklava Loaf and Banana Gingerbread. Finally, if you want something chocolaty and seasonal, you can’t beat a batch of Peppermint Cookies and Cream Brownies.