10 Foods You Can Make as a Gift Instead of Actually Buying Anything

Everyone knows homemade is so much better than pre-made.

  • White Chocolate Snowflakes. Rich white chocolate combines with salty pretzels and peanuts to make a rice krispy treat for grown-ups that’s perfect to pack in a tin and give to those you love.
  • Alice Medrich’s New Classic Coconut Macaroons. Chewy, gooey, crispy, crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth cookies that for anyone on your gift list.
  • Orange Blossom Candied Cranberries. The perfect, festive party snack, not only do these candied cranberry orbs look beautiful piled into a bowl, but they taste great, too. If you can’t find orange blossom water, try rose water, or feel free to leave it out.
  • Chewy Chocolate Meringues. Deliciously simple, these cookies stay soft in the center under a crisp shell. Bonus: they’re gluten free, with only three ingredients.
  • Holiday Cut-Out Cookies. These cookies improve with age, so it’s a smart idea to make them at least two weeks before you’ll want to eat them. This is also a healthy challenge—be strong!
  • Pumpkin Christmas Bread. An eggless (!), dairyless (!) loaf cake for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert. It's soft, it's tender, it's sweet, it's spicy, it's got height, it's got everything we want in a loaf cake, plus it is both portable and scalable for gifts.
  • Crispy Spice-Brined Pecans. These spiced pecans—unlikes their sugar-shellacked counterparts—are perfectly salted and spiced from within and dried to a crisp. Put them in a mason jar and tie them with some ribbon for a simple, easy gift.
  • Pine Nut Brittle with Rosemary. The idea of combining pine nuts and rosemary outside of a Tuscan pasta and into a brittle? Groundbreaking. Pine nuts are cloaked in a buttery caramel, and rosemary infuses the brittle with its savory fragrance. A shower of crunchy sea salt is the finishing touch to this sweet, salty, crunchy candy.
  • Don’t Hold the Anything Breakfast Bread Pudding. Don’t throw away that leftover bread! Repurpose it into a delicious, easy-to-make breakfast. This bread pudding is a balance of sweet and savory wrapped into one delicious, rich package. Remember to pack it in ice!
  • Nekisia Davis Olive Oil and Maple Granola. Olive oil, maple, brown sugar and coarse salt form a rich, shaggy crust on wholesome innards like oats, pecans, and coconut shards. Bag it with a bow and give it to guests for a wholesome, healthy snack or breakfast.

Contrary to what you might think, making gifts instead of buying them doesn’t make you a cheapskate, it actually shows more effort. Anyone can buy some tchotchke, but not everyone knows your best friend’s favorite chocolate cookie recipe. You don’t know either? Here are some guaranteed winners.

Click through the gallery above to see all of the recipes.

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RELATED: The 30 Coolest Food and Booze Gifts of 2013


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