This Christmas my husband and I are on a budget. We’re saving for a house (woo hoo!), so we’re trying to keep a tight ship. We were trying to think of budget friendly Christmas gifts and of course, the first thing that pops into my head is food!
Who doesn’t love some yummy homemade goodies around the holidays? Maybe the Grinch, but I think I can turn even him to the sugar filled dark side. So without further ado, here’s some tips and ideas for making homemade food gifts for your loved ones for Christmas this year.
Planning and Tips
Here’s some questions and things you should keep in mind if you plan on making food as gifts.
- How many people am I baking for?
This will determine how much food you make. I ended up making different goodies for just about everybody this year. You can make a few different foods and package up little servings of different goodies for each person. Do the math to make sure you have enough!
- How far in advance can I bake it and how should I store it?
I plan on making the food I’m giving out as gifts the day of only a day or so before so they’re super fresh. My husband and I are going to have a baking frenzy the day before Christmas Eve.
Pick recipes that don’t need to be refrigerated and that will store well in air tight containers or tins. If pick recipes that store well, you could potentially make your gifts a week in advance. If your doing let’s say homemade canned jams, those can even be made months in advance.
Listen to your recipe instructions for storage. If it says to keep it in an airtight container, definitely do that so your food gifts don’t get stale or hard.
- Do I have wrapping materials?
If you want to wrap your gifts to make them look fancy and cute, think about what you’ll be wrapping it with in advance! I ended up going to Michael’s and buying simple cellophane gift bags to put the food in and decorate. Then I decorated the bags with craft supplies I have on hand which I’ll get into more later.
- Do I have all my ingredients for the recipes?
Obviously you need all the ingredients if you plan on making food. So after you figure out the amount of people you are baking for, you can make a list of your ingredients to go out and buy.
I Need Food Ideas!
Here’s a nice big list of food gift ideas that are easy, but look elegant after they’re wrapped. I was trying to think of all the foods that come in those fancy food gift baskets people get during holiday time. I also picked these because I know how to make all of them and my family prefers some of these foods over say fruitcake or something.
This is just to get your brain thinking, you could always make whatever you want! Here’s some inspiration for you:
- Molded Chocolates
- Chocolate Covered Oreos
- Copy Cat Moose Munch
- Peppermint Bark
- Chocolate Covered Pretzels
- Candied Nuts
The only recipe on this list that isn’t “easy” is the macarons, but whenever I make them everyone loves them so I included them in this list. The rest though are all super simple, as simple as just dipping something in chocolate and covering in sprinkles.
Molded chocolates are very easy to make too. You just have to buy a couple of molds off of Amazon, and fill with melted chocolate and fillings.
So take a few of these ideas and run with them to make your very own homemade Christmas food gifts this year.
Baking Time! My Bakes are Biscotti and Copy Cat Moose Munch
For my friends this year, I made homemade biscotti and moose munch! Don’t they look so fancy after they’re all packaged up? The finished product looks like they came right out of a Harry & David catalog.
Pro secret here… Biscotti is SO easy! They are labeled as such a fancy cookie, I never thought to try to make them, but they are one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made and pretty foolproof at that.
I plan on trying out some vegan biscotti recipes in the future, but for the meantime, I made some regular egg filled ones. I made these for the first time a few weeks ago in this baking class I’ve been taking.
All you have to do is combine the ingredients into a dough, bake the flat slab all together, cut it into cookies and then bake it again, and decorate. That. Is. It. I included the printable recipe below!
For my flavors I decided on Chocolate Orange and Almond Biscotti. YUM. The dough I started off with is a basic flavorless biscotti dough, so you have to pick your flavors. You can just add almond extract and throw in some sliced almonds for almond cookies or throw in some cranberries and flavor it with orange zest. The options are endless.
My base biscotti cookie recipe came from All Recipes and is just 5 ingredients.
Tell me I’m not the only one who grew up eating Harry & David’s Moose Munch around the holidays. My parents usually got a bag or two every year and we devoured it. It was like a delicacy in my house.
If you don’t know what Moose Munch is, it’s basically just caramel covered popcorn with some mixed nuts thrown in. There’s different flavors, so added chocolate or candies.
It’s so tasty, but so expensive! So I found a copycat recipe online and I made a big batch to give as presents. It takes a bit of time because after you coat the popcorn in caramel, it has to sort of dry out in the oven for an hour, but I promise it’s not too labor intensive.
I used the recipe from Baking a Moment for my Moose Munch.
Wrapping Up All Your Goodies
I totally love wrapping up Christmas presents. I went for a real vintage feel with my presents and I tried to translate it into these food gifts too with homemade gift tags and some cute candy stripe colored string.
If you’ve been around this blog a while, you know I’m major into paper crafting, so that’s how I had all the cute supplies for the gift tags. I kept it simple with the cellophane bags and tags, but you can look at other gift wrapping options too, I found this great list of ideas for wrapping up food gifts on Taste of Home.
I made my Gift Tags out of a kraft cardstock paper which you can get at your local craft store or you can just buy the gift tags themselves at the store or online and then all you have to do is decorate them.
I decorated mine wth a variety of christmas scrapbook papers and stickers, stamps, and melted wax drips. I think they came out just adorable. The christmas stickers and papers all came from hobby lobby if you want to find the same ones.
Moose Munch Toppers
For my moose munch baggies, I made cute little tags to staple on top so it kind of looks like a bag you would buy in stores. First I stapled the top of my bag closed and then stapled on the topper.
To make the topper, I just measured the width of the bag which was about 4 inches and then cut out rectangles from regular white printer paper 4″x2″, so I could fold the label in half over the top and staple it on.
I decorated the labels with thin Christmas washi tape bought from either Michael’s or Hobby Lobby ( I can’t remember for the life of me) and I wrote on “Moose Munch” with my Tombow Brush Pens.
- 1 10oz Bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 2-4 Tbsp Dairy Free Butter or Shortening
- ½ Cup Avocado Oil
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 3¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
For Almond Biscotti:*
- 2 Tsp Almond Extract
- ⅓+½ Cups Sliced Almonds, Separated
For Orange Biscotti:**⅓
- 1 Tsp Orange Extract
- 2+1 Tsps Orange Zest, Separated
- Preheat oven to 375°F. For the dough, with a hand beater, or stand mixer, combine the eggs and oil. Add in the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Add in flavorings either for almond or orange biscotti. The dough should be slightly sticky and thick. Split the dough into two balls.
- On a 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, place each slab of dough. Using your hands and a rubber spatula, form the slabs into a large rectangle with the thickness of the dough being around ½ Inch. The width of the dough will be how long your cookies are so make as long or short as you want. Bake for 25-30 minutes until it looks golden.
- Let the giant cookies cool for a few minutes until it's easier to handle. With a sharp knife, cut into 1/2-1 Inch slices. You should get at least a dozen out of each big cookie.
- Place the cookies back onto the baking sheet and bake for another 6 minutes on each side to lightly toast them.
- After cookies are cooled, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, mixing after each session until the chocolate is fully melted. Mix in the butter or shortening to thin it. Once it drizzles off the spoon, it's the right consistency.
- Depending on how you want to decorate, you could either lay the cookies out on parchment and run your spoon over them to drizzle the chocolate on top or dip one side of the cookie into the chocolate.
- Add your choice of toppings, whether it's orange zest or sliced almonds. Let the chocolate harden. Store in a tin to maintain it's crispiness.
Copy Cat Moose Munch
- ½ Cup Dairy Free Butter
- 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
- ⅓ Cup Light Corn Syrup
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ Tsp Baking Soda
- 2 3oz Bags Popped Microwave Popcorn (no butter or salt)
- 1 Cup Almonds
- 1 Cup Cashews
- 1 10oz Bag Semi Sweet Chocolate, melted
- Place popped popcorn in a large bowl, set aside. Preheat oven to 250°F.
- In a large nonstick pan on the medium heat, place butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and mix in vanilla and baking soda. The caramel will foam up, but just continue to mix it until it's all gone.
- Slowly drizzle caramel onto the popcorn as you mix it. It's definitely easier with two people if you have someone who can mix while you pour or vice versa. Once the popcorn is well coated, place on a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper and bake for 1 hour. You can attempt to mix it a couple times during that hour so the caramel doesn't sink to the bottom too much.
- Allow the popcorn to cool completely, then drizzle melted chocolate on top of popcorn. You can dip several pieces in with toothpicks as well if you want to be more moose munch authentic. Let the chocolate set, then add in your favorite chocolate candies or eat as is.