Fancy store-bought presents are great-don't get us wrong-but if you want to make loved ones feel really cared-for, nothing's better than a tasty homemade treat, carefully prepared and packaged in pretty wrapping. The recipes below run the gamut from an elaborate loaf of panettone-an all-day labor of love-to a simple limoncillo, which is just vodka, lemons, sugar, and time. Check out the slideshow to see packing ideas for each dish, and see below for tips on making and transporting edible gifts.
- Supersize Your Selections
Always make twice as many items as you think are necessary. This way, if you need a last-minute hostess gift or you discover you've left someone important off your list (this happens even to Oscar winners), you'll be covered.
- Be Prepared for Jams
Traffic and unexpected holdups are more the rule than the exception at this time of year. Just in case Santa's sleigh stalls in front of your car, it's a good idea to transport frozen or chilled items in a cooler.
- Cook with the Kids
If you have children, this is a perfect project in which to involve them. Older kids can help lessen the workload for you, and even little ones will be thrilled to be part of the "feel-goods" at gift-giving time.
- Set Up a Schedule
It might be tough, but try to set aside enough time to relax and enjoy your cooking, rather than packing everything into one day. Shop for ingredients ahead and, when planning, check recipes to see whether they have to age for a period of time before being eaten. (For instance, three of our recipes-the limoncillo, the mustard, and the apricot pear cordials-need some aging. If you must give them right away, simply attach a tag stating the date when they can be opened.)
- Treat Yourself
Last but not least: Give a gift you like to eat! It's possible the recipient may crack it open while you're there.Recipes
- Spicy Horseradish Mustard
- Easy-Does-It Granola
- Vanilla Hot Chocolate Mix
- Southwest Pita Crisps
- Tipsy Turtle Bark
- Apricot Pear Cordials
Recipes by Gale Gand and Tracey Seaman
Food Styling by Elizabeth Duffy
MORE FROM EPICURIOUS.COM
Food News and Views From All Over
The Chef Demonstrates Recipes for a Traditional Italian Christmas Eve Dinner
Delicious, Top-Rated Holiday Cookies That Are Perfect to Give-And Get
Gourmet Baskets, Boxes, and Buckets for Under $100
Bartender Eben Freeman Explains the Fundamentals of Progressive Cocktails in Five Videos