Homemade Edible Christmas Gift Ideas
Christmas is a time for getting together with your family and friends to enjoy good company, thoughtful gifts and excellent food. If you’re finding yourself a little stuck for gift ideas, why not flex your culinary skills and get busy in the kitchen? Preparing food for those dear to you is considered a labour of love, which makes edible gifts all the more thoughtful.
From stocking fillers to luxury hampers filled to festive treats, here are some great homemade edible gift suggestions.
Perfect for snacking on whilst watching a festive film - adding sugar and spice is a great way to zhuzh up a plain bag of mixed nuts, including cashews, almonds and walnuts. Simply add beaten egg white to your nuts, along with any flavourings you please and bake for around 45 minutes. Consider cinnamon sugar for your sweet-toothed recipients or fiery cayenne and smoked paprika for those who prefer a little heat.
Homemade toffee sprinkled with sea salt is exceptionally simple to make and is the perfect homemade alternative to store-bought Christmas treats. The combination of cream, sugar, golden syrup and vanilla extract makes for a truly luxurious experience. The trick to making toffee is all about temperature, so keep your sugar thermometer handy. You could even make salted caramel syrup using just sugar, water, salt and vanilla for adding to coffee and baked goods.
A good, balanced spice rub is the key to fantastic barbecues and roasts - the ideal gift for the foodie in your family. Experiment with different combinations of spices to achieve the perfect flavourful coating for meat, poultry, fish and even veggies. You could make several small batches inspired by different cuisines; for example, fiery Cajun, smokey Texan BBQ and sweet, fragrant Korean with plenty of gochugaru flakes.
Homemade truffles are sweet treats you can whip in no time at all. The beauty of a plain truffle is you can go wild with decorations. Roll your truffles in bitter 80% cocoa powder to balance their chocolatey sweetness, or sprinkle over freeze-dried raspberries for a tangy twist. Get creative with piped chocolate ganache, or simply leave them plain to speak for themselves. Just be sure to keep your truffles refrigerated until the big day to avoid any melting.
Cheese & Rosemary Biscuits
Biscuits aren’t solely sugary treats to be dipped in tea. As great as a digestive or ginger nut is, savoury biscuits are best enjoyed during the festive period, alongside an array of fine cheeses and Xmas wine. Cheese and rosemary biscuits are rustic, flavorful and perfect as part of a charcuterie board. The sharp saltiness of cheddar and parmesan pairs fantastically with the fragrant, woodsy hum of rosemary, making for a wonderfully moreish biscuit.
Gin may be an acquired taste, but the sweet plum-like taste of sloes makes it decidedly palatable for even the most stringent gin cynic. Sloes can be found growing wild on roadsides, slopes or in hedgerows, but be warned - sloe bushes are thorny! Once you have around 500g of ripe sloes, add them to a sterilised jar or bottle and leave for two or three months, shaking one daily for the first week before straining and bottling for gifts.
Some people enjoy putting their taste buds through the wringer with the true test of endurance - capsaicin, the active component in chilli peppers. The more capsaicin a pepper has, the hotter it is. Hot sauce is a wonderfully versatile condiment and relatively straightforward to make at home. Depending on your recipient, you could make a mild variety with jalapeños and serrano peppers or go all out with habaneros, scotch bonnets and Thai chillies.
Chutney is an excellent component of a cheese board or festive buffet table. Delicious as a condiment for cold meats or a dip for poppadoms and flatbreads, chutney is an age-old balance of fruit, vegetables, vinegar, sugar and spices. With such an extensive range of recipes available, it’s impossible not to find a chutney variety to love. You could make a classic Indian sweet and smooth tamarind chutney or use up a surplus of green tomatoes with a tangy tomato chutney.