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This holiday season delight your loved ones and friends with something homemade and delicious. A gift of food is not only fashionable, but it is also a gift from the heart because it is cooked and prepared with love. Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat for a dear aunt or a traditional dish for the friendly neighbor, these old-time holiday food gift ideas are the perfect picks to cheer any palate during the most wonderful time of the year.
1. HoneyComb Toffee
Known to have great health benefits, honeycomb toffee makes the perfect gift for someone you hold dearly and wish to have restored willpower, reduced stress and improved mental health. Just slowly boil sugar, syrup and water until crack stage.
Stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Before it gets too hard, mark the toffee into squares with an oiled knife. Wait for the toffee to become crisp, and then put in an airtight tin. Wrap with cellophane and tie with a colorful ribbon. Grab an amazing recipe from Sugar Spun Run.
2. Jellied Sweets
Both kids and adults will scramble for more of this extra special food gift. To make fruit pastilles, boil your choice of diced fruits with lemon juice and water. Sieve the mixture to collect the fruit puree. Add sugar and bring to a boil until the mixture becomes thick. Pour into a tray lined with grease-proof paper. Allow to cool before cutting into pastille cubes and coating them with sugar. Leave to dry before packing into pretty glass candy jars tied with a ribbon.
One of the most versatile and tastiest side dishes to serve with so many meals is chutney. This caramelized red onion chutney is a delicious dollop for roast pork, pizza, sausages or just with a cheese platter. To prepare a chutney that can be kept for up to a year, cook the onions and thinly-sliced chili gently for about 20 minutes.
Add sugar, vinegar and mustard seeds, and simmer for another 30 minutes until the chutney becomes thick and dark. Use sterilized jars to store the chutney. Let cool before sealing the jars. try this mango chutney recipe at Simple Recipes.
4. Mince Pies
An old-fashioned mince pie can be assembled in a festive bag can be given away as a perfect a holiday food gift. Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over low heat for two hours. Add the brandy and let cool. Fill each cup with about 1/3 cup mincemeat then cover with a thin layer of dough. Cut a tiny slip in the center of each before brushing with egg white. Bake until filling is bubbling and dough is golden brown. Cool on wire rack before packing in plastic bags or boxes.
Nothing beats the taste of good homemade jam on newly-baked bread. This holiday, make your loved ones some delightfully sweet lemon-cranberry jam without breaking the bank. Slightly crush two cups of cranberries in a large saucepan. Mix in more berries and sugar to taste, then boil. Stir constantly. Turn off heat and add in gelatin. Pour into jars and cover. Check out this Holiday jam recipe with free gift tags!
Put a big smile on that special someone’s face by giving a box of fancy little macaroons. Combine icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites and mix to a paste. Melt caster sugar with water, then turn up the heat until the mixture becomes syrupy and thick. Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl until medium-stiff peaks are formed. Pour the sugar syrup while continuously whisking until the mixture turns stiff and shiny.
Combine the mixture with the almond paste and gently stir until stiff and shiny. Pour the mixture into the piping bag and pipe flat circles onto the lined tray. Sprinkle each circle with desiccated coconut. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes with the oven door slightly open. Remove from the oven and let the macaroons cool before making a sandwich with whipped cream in between. Try adding some crushed peppermint candies for yummy peppermint macaroons. These are perfect Christmas Cookie Ideas for gifting to friends, family, teachers and more.
There’s no cooking involved in making a special cranberry relish for your dear ones. You can use either an old fashioned grinder or food processor to squeeze the juice out. You can also chop the cranberries very finely by hand. Be careful not to over grind to produce the relish and not mush. Add orange sections and apple slices. Stir in sugar according to your desired sweetness level. Let the sugar dissolve. Use a crystal jar as the container of relish that goes great with turkey and other meat dishes.
Wrap up some classic Italian no-frills biscotti as a gift for someone who loves to drink coffee. Biscotti is made by beating eggs together with sugar, anise flavoring and oil. Stir in the mixture into the combination of flour and baking powder to form heavy dough.
Form the dough into two equal rolls. Press down to 1cm thickness. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack before slicing crosswise. Bake for another 6 to 10 minutes on each side to lightly toast the slices.
9. Fruit Cake
Complete the holiday table with a gift of fruit cake you put some time and effort to make. This is not that dried fruit cake you get gifted year over year from those neighbor you don’t like so much!. This is a delicious, moist fruit cake that your friends and family will keep asking for. Combine the dried fruits with butter, sugar and water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Add the beaten egg, and then gradually add in flour and cocoa. Put into a lined tin and bake for an hour and 15 minutes. Get our favorite fruit cake recipe from the Joy of Baking.
You only need navel oranges to make this sweet, citrusy marmalade as a classic food gift this holiday. Cut the orange in about eight wedges. Use a knife or food processor to chop them finely. Put the fruit and juice in a pan with water and sugar and bring to a gentle boil for 15 minutes. Let cool before pouring in a jar and tying the cover with a colorful bow.
Give an adult twist to your gift hamper with a bottle or two of special homemade sloe gin to warm up the cold season. It needs at least two months in advance to berry up this alcohol drink. Use whatever purple berry is available and the best gin to make it special. Sterilize the bottle well and push the frozen sloe into it. Add enough caster sugar to cover the sloe. Fill up with gin, seal, and then gently shake the bottle before turning it upside down. Fermentation takes about 4 to 6 weeks.
The perfect food gift that lasts is sweet and chewy nougat. Roast almonds until crisp and brown. Heat water in a heavy-based pan to dissolve sugar and add the glucose. Continue boiling up to 138 degrees C/280 degrees F. Add in honey and boil to 143 degrees C or 290 degrees F. Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.
Pour the hot syrup into the egg whites, then place the bowl in a pan with hot water while whisking continuously until the mixture turns firm and glossy. Fold in the almonds into the mixture. Transfer into a lined tin and leave overnight to set. Cut into strips or small bite sizes before placing in attractive boxes.
13. Chili Oil
The holiday season is the perfect time to give chili oil as homemade edible present. With plenty of food to share, a bottle or jar of this dressing comes handy for salads, stir-fries and sandwiches. Just add whole chili and flakes into the heated olive oil in a saucepan. Let cool before straining into a sterilized, sealable container. Add more dried chilies for a more appetizing touch. Grab a yummy recipe from Evergreen Kitchens.
14. Candy Peels
Bring back old, good memories with your childhood friend while nibbling on candied grapefruit peels. To make, cut the rind into strips. Boil in water for a minute, repeating four times with fresh water. Simmer a cup of sugar with ½ cup water. Cook the peel until the liquid is completely absorbed. Transfer to dry on a rack for 8 hours, then coat with sugar.
15. Sugar Plums
There’s no right age to stop indulging in sweet treats. Let your loved ones feel young by giving them sugar plums. The sweet tidbits are made of finely chopped toasted almonds combined with prunes, dried apricots, honey, orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. After mixing them together into balls, the candies are rolled in coarse sugar.
The season’s best gifts are the ones that double as gastronomic delights. The holiday food gift ideas here are the ultimate when it comes to enchanting the special people in your life, especially when they are presented in clever packaging that conveys your best wishes.