So, we’re onto our third tip from –
12 Tips for a gorgeous, no fuss, foodie Christmas
Tip #1 was all about the cake.
Tip #2 was about making a few meals to stash in the freezer for over Christmas, and now here’s the next one –
Tip #3 – Handmade food gifts are the ultimate gorgeous, no fuss presents this festive season …
In my dream life, I’ve finished the Christmas shopping when December has barely started… There’s been no frantic rushing round the shops and I’ve been inspired and able to come up with perfect gifts for all my nearest and dearest. The wrapping paper hasn’t run out when I’ve only got one more present to deal with and I’m not still wrapping into the wee small hours of Christmas morning.
But, needless to say, in the most part it is just that – a dream. The fact is, we are a week away from December and I’ve been full of good intentions but this hasn’t translated into any serious action yet.
Things have moved on though over the last few years. That Christmas morning when my lovely husband and I sat on the floor on either side of our bed (because then you can’t see what each other is wrapping!) until 3am wrapping each other’s gifts, we swore it would never come to this again. Travelling certainly gets the mind focussed. If I know that we are flying on 20 December, then miraculously I can get everything bought, wrapped and packed in plenty of time – but leaving home for Christmas just so I’m more organised? Extreme.
And even if I’ve got my head around the mechanics of buying, wrapping and stashing away in secret hiding places, sometimes it’s the ‘working out what to buy’ part that’s the problem and nothing’s going to get started until I’ve got that one sorted.
With some targeted questions, a good rummage around the shops and an attempt to put myself into the heads of an 8 Year old, and a 12 year old, and a 14 year old … presents for children are almost always do-able and enjoyable to buy too. But presents for adults are another challenge altogether. Teachers, work colleagues, neighbours, friends, swim coaches … the gift is a token – it’s saying thank you, it’s saying enjoy the holidays, it’s saying your’e special to me. These are important gifts but sometimes they are the hardest to find.
I’m a huge fan of foodie gifts – especially homemade food for gifts. But let’s get this straight – it’s not my fall back; it’s more like my go-to. Handmaking a gift with love feels like the ultimate in thoughtful gifting, but if you like the concept and are struggling for inspiration for gorgeous, no fuss foodie gifts, here’s a few to whet your appetite …
1 Chocolate Fudge Cookies – find a nice gift box and roughly line with a couple of squares of baking parchment before filling it with these cookies.
2 Chocolate Tiffin – wrap a few pieces in cellophane and tie with a festive bow.
3 Pickled Onions – perfect for those difficult men … but be sure to keep a jar for yourself too. They’re a cracker with turkey leftovers.
4 Gingerbread Christmas Trees – follow the recipe here for Gingerbread Hearts but use a tree shaped cutter and decorate with as much colour and sparkle as you can. Spot on as a gift for families with children.
And here’s another idea … a cookie mix in a jar. The prettiest of gifts and the easiest too. You’ll need a 1 litre Kilner jar and then layer it up with the dry ingredients one at a time. It’s a bit like those coloured sand ornaments that you see at the seaside but classier and tastier … and less gritty. Hopefully.
You’ll also need to attach the instructions for how to transform the mix into gorgeous, no fuss cookies. Recently I’ve been using labels like these –
You could also print them out and attach them to the jar in an envelope. And if it’s a gift from a child (perhaps for a teacher) getting the child to write the instructions in their own handwriting is cute … unless it will cause un-festive parent-child rows and tearing out of hair. And the Triple Chocolate Cookies that are made from the mix are simply yummy…
So, on my Christmas shopping list I will be filling plenty of gaps with handmade food gifts. TICK. Now I just need to get on with the rest of the list …
- For the cookie mix -
- 220g SR Flour
- Pinch of salt
- 120g dark brown soft sugar
- 130g caster sugar
- 45g cocoa powder
- 70g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 70g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
- 70g white chocolate, roughly chopped
- To add to the cookie mix -
- 120g soft butter
- 1 egg
- 1 litre Kilner jar
- 2 lightly greased baking sheets
- Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the salt.
- In another bowl, mix the dark brown sugar and the caster sugar together. Make sure it is well mixed and that you have got rid of any lumps.
- Carefully layer half of the flour mixture at the bottom of the jar, followed by half of the cocoa powder and then half of the sugar mixture. Repeat.
- Add the chopped chocolate to the top of the jar and seal. Store your jar of cookie mix in a cool place. NOTE - If you are giving this mix as a gift, you can use steps 5 to 8 for your instructions, being sure to also list the ingredients as 1 jar cookie mix, 120g soft butter, 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC, 350ºF (gas mark 4).
- Cream the butter in a large bowl and beat in the eggs. Now tip the contents of the jar into the bowl and mix well until the ingredients are blended. You will need to use your hands towards the end.
- Roll the dough into walnut sized pieces and space them evenly on 2 lightly greased baking sheets.
- Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and let the cookies cool for a few minutes before moving them to a wire tray to cool completely. Having said that - they are especially yummy when they are warm and straight from the oven!