Food & Recipes


Cool Stuff

Home » Food & Recipes, Seasonal/Holidays

Homemade Gifts: Holiday Treats

Submitted by on December 12, 2013 – 7:26 amOne Comment

Homemade Gift Ideas

5 Ideas for Homemade Gifts for the Holidays



by Minette Riordan

I don’t know about you but the Holidays always inspire me to bake and I love giving homemade gifts from my kitchen. I especially love gifts that my kids can help make. Along with the homemade gifts I enjoy using whatever I’ve got in the craft closet to make creative gift tags or containers. Here are 5 recipes for easy, affordable gifts that you and your kids can make to share this holiday season.

Spicy Herb Roasted Nuts

This is probably the recipe I make every year that my family loves the most. This is an old recipe from Sunset Magazine. I love the sweet and savory combination of flavors. This makes a lovely gift when put into a beautiful holiday tin or clear glass jar. This makes about 5 cups and I usually double the recipe. I also used dried herbs instead of the fresh herbs, I like the milder flavor and texture better. I use about 1/2 tsp. of each herb when dried.


1 1/2 cups almonds
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1 cup hazelnuts
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh savory leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
About 1 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Mix almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, maple syrup, cayenne, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, savory, marjoram, and oil in a 10- by 15-inch rimmed pan. Sprinkle nuts with 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Bake in a 300° oven, stirring occasionally, until all liquid evaporates and nuts are golden under the skin (break open to test), about 45 minutes.

3. Let cool. Taste and add more salt if desired.


Chocolate Haystacks

This must be one of the easiest and tastiest recipes I have ever seen. The kids will have fun helping to spoon these out onto waxed paper. We added sprinkles to ours for a little festive holiday cheer.


12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
Either 1 cup of chopped salted peanuts or 3 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups of crispy Chow Mein noodles


Melt chocolate in a microwave safe glass bowl. I would melt for about 1 minute, stir and repeat until melted. If using peanut butter, melt peanut butter and chocolate together. If using chopped peanuts, stir into melted chocolate. Gently stir in Chow Mein Noodles. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheets covered in wax paper. Add sprinkles or other decorations. Place in refrigerator until hardened.


Chex Mix with a Twist

This one is from Melanie Hill, owner of Exceptional Events

It is based on the original Chex Party Mix recipe, with some of my own personal changes.


1 stick butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (don’t skimp on this one)
1 ½ teaspoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 ½ teaspoons (heaping) of Tony Chachere’s Original Cajun Seasoning
3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
2 cups Wheat Chex
2 cups roasted/salted peanuts
1 ½-2 cups pretzels (twists or sticks, your preference)


Put stick of butter/margarine, Worcestershire sauce & seasonings in microwave safe dish & melt.

Put cereal, nuts & pretzels in large pot (like a soup or chili pan) or roasting pan and stir.

Stir butter, sauce, seasoning mixture well & pour half over cereal mix, then stir; stir butter mix again and pour remaining over cereal mix, then stir again.

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then pour onto paper towels to cool.  I recommend using thin foil cake pans, lined w/paper towels, to cool….it’s easier to scoop the chex mix out once it’s cool.

I buy plastic holiday decorated containers to put the chex mix in (already decorated) and then put a “To/From” sticker on it and your gift is ready to go!  Plus they have a container they can reuse once their chex mix is gone.


Pumpkin Bread

I have several different recipes that I use but I liked this one because it makes three large loaves or would make at least 6 mini loaves. I like to make pumpkin bread or other quick breads in disposable tinfoil pans, wrap in cellophane or clear plastic wrap, top with a bow, curling ribbons, a hand made card and the recipe. This one is from


3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9×5 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.


Hot Chocolate Mix in a Jar

Maggie and I had fun mixing up the dry ingrediens and more fun tasting the Hot Chocolate! The secret ingredient in this mix is the mini chocolate chips, which melt when combined with the boiling water and give the cocoa an extra-rich flavor. The recipe makes enough for four gift-size portions, each of which can be measured into a small plastic bag and tucked into a cup or mug filled with mini marshmallows, candy stick stirrers, and a spoon. Wrap each filled gift cup in cellophane and don’t forget to include a tag with the following instructions: “Spoon 3 or 4 generous tablespoons of cocoa mix into your cup (depending on the size), add boiling water, and stir well.”


2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
1/8 teaspoon salt


Measure all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk them until they are evenly blended.
Store the mix in a tightly covered container at room temperature until you’re ready to package it. Makes about 4 cups of mix.

I found this recipe at:

We noticed that you definitely have to use 3 to 4 tbsps of mix to get a nice, rich cup of hot chocolae. You also have to stir well, or the chips will sit in a melted lump on the bottom of the cup. I think I would use the Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa next time. I loved how simple this was. You could put it into a mug that your child decorated or you had printed with his photo on it.


One Comment »

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.