Food brings people together during the holiday season, so it’s no surprise that making, exchanging and receiving edible gifts is part of the fun. Whether they're for a foodie friend or the loved one who has everything, homemade treats are the perfect way to let them know you care. With our simple planning guide and helpful tips, exchanging edible gifts may soon become an annual tradition.
The holidays are a busy time, so preparation is key to success with homemade edible gifts.
Start looking for recipe inspiration a month or two in advance of the holidays to avoid last-minute stress.
Go big. Choose recipes that are easily made in batches to save time. Also, consider storage and transit—not all foods pack or travel well.
Pace yourself. Avoid making gifts around the clock as the holidays approach. Instead, choose recipes that can be made ahead of time and stored until ready to exchange.
Think about the packaging! After you’ve settled on a recipe, scout around for ways to wrap the finished product. Cellophane bags can show off more durable treats like snack mix, while boxes lined with parchment paper or doilies may be more appropriate for more delicate cookies or squares.
Share the love. For a personal touch, include a copy of the recipe so loved ones can recreate the treats themselves.
Make your list and check it twice!
Create a master list of everyone you’ll be making edible goodies for. This will give you a clear idea of how much you will need to make.
Check for allergies and dietary restrictions to ensure loved ones can indulge in their gifts.
Decide when you’ll start preparing gifts. Can the recipe be made in advance and stored, or does it require same-day preparation? This will affect your timeline.
Consider when you’ll need to put edibles into final packaging. Cookies are easy to pack in advance and will stay fresh in sealed metal tins. However, softer treats—think fudge or truffles—might turn decorative boxes or packets soggy if stored too long.
Write labels, notes and recipe cards in advance.
Naughty or nice, there’s nothing better than a sugary gift during the holidays. And a treat you’ve crafted yourself lets receivers know it was made with love.
Butter, sugar and sea salt meld together perfectly with whisky in these addicting, melt-in-the-mouth candies.
Pack them up: Using corn syrup means these treats can become sticky when warm. Layer candies on waxed paper before boxing to prevent them from sticking together. Once made, store in a cool place to prevent melting and pack a day or two before gifting them.
Chocolate & Goat Cheese Truffles
Food-loving friends and family will appreciate the elevated flavour that goat cheese gives to these truffles. Rolled in crushed pistachios, they’re nutty, creamy and have a hint of bittersweet chocolate.
Pack them up: Wrap truffles individually by placing them in the centre of a 3 inch by 3 inch square of waxed paper and twisting; secure paper with a ribbon for a festive touch and place in a shallow box. Store in an airtight container for up to five days in the fridge.
Salted Caramel Nut Brittle
Nutty, crunchy, salty and sweet, this easy-to-make candy is the best of all worlds. The hard part will be giving it away!
Pack it up: Small cellophane bags are perfect for transporting sugary treats like this. Secure the brittle with a customizable fold-over tag. Packages of brittle can be stored in an airtight container until it’s time to gift them.
Candied Orange Slices
Sweet and juicy with a trace of bitter rind, these candied clementines crowned with chocolate can be enjoyed on their own or used to garnish cocktails, desserts or cheeseboards.
Pack them up: Because of their texture, these slices are best packed between layers of parchment paper in small boxes or tins. If making these ahead of time, store orange slices in airtight containers and transfer them to boxes when a gift is needed.
Mocha Linzer Cookies with Wild Jumbleberry Jam
This chocolate spin on the classic Austrian sandwich cookie makes a beautiful, unique gift.
Pack them up: Because you don’t want the sandwiches to slide apart, fill a festive cookie tin with cupcake liners and place a cookie in each. These delicate cookies should be made and given away within a day or two.
As the holiday season teems with sugar-laden goodies, a small gift of savoury edibles makes a nice surprise.
Crunchy Pita Chips
Garlic and onion punch up the flavour of these tempting crackers, while a variety of seeds add an additional layer of texture.
Pack them up: Waxed paper bags provide a fun, chip-appropriate wrapping solution; just be sure to tightly seal the opening to preserve the chips’ freshness. To avoid giving stale gifts, share these chips within two days.
This peppery spice blend shines with wintry cinnamon, dried apricots, ginger and cloves. It magically transforms any cider or wine into a cup of holiday cheer.
Pack it up: Place a few spice sachets in a ceramic mug, then cover with cellophane and tie a ribbon to secure at the top. Store wrapped mugs in the fridge for up to five days.
Savoury Parmesan, Poppy & Sesame Crackers
These toasty seed crackers are delectable on their own, but will bring cheese platters to next-level deliciousness.
Pack them up: Let recipients see all the seeds and pretty thyme garnishes by stacking five to ten crackers, securing the stack with ribbon or twine and wrapping it all up in clear cellophane. Packages can be stashed in the freezer for up to two weeks.
Cajun Snack Mix
This classic snack is great for the workplace because recipients can enjoy it immediately!
Pack it up: Flip-top jars are airtight, keeping this loose mix both fresh and securely contained. Tie ornamental gift tags to the jars to complete the look. Once made and packaged, the mix keeps well for up to two weeks.
More of a chutney than a jam, this is a flavourful condiment that pairs well with cheeses, roasted meats and fish.
Pack it up: Pouring jam into small, sterilized Mason jars makes packaging easy. Be sure to label each jar so people know what’s inside, and top lids with festive fabric for a homemade feel. Until they’re ready to be gifted, store jars in the fridge or freezer.