Ten Great Homemade Food Gifts, and No Cooking Required for Some!

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It's that time again when you need to get your kitchen into full production line mode if you're planning to turn out loads of holiday goodies to give away. Most people know someone who loves to make elaborate holiday sweets for family, friends, and co-workers. If that sounds like you, I've got a few recipes for cookies, candy, and fruitcake that might make make you smile.

But what if you're not really into holiday sweets that much, or perhaps a bit baking-impaired (like me!) Not to worry because my list of ten holiday food gifts has a few other interesting ideas such as gifts that don't need cooking or holiday treats for pets. Read on and see if there's something that sounds right for a few of the folks on your list, and if you have your own ideas for gifts from the kitchen, let us know in the comments.

pioneer woman christmas cookies

Photo of Christmas Cookies from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1. Cookies must be the most universal holiday treat, so no wonder there are recipes galore for tasty variations. Here are a few places to find some cookie recipes which are really special.

Eat Christmas Cookies (Season One) at Food Blogga
Eat Christmas Cookies (Season Two) at Food Blogga
Eat Christmas Cookies (Season Three) at Food Blogga
30 Favorite Christmas Cookies and Recipes from Brown-Eyed Baker
My Favorite Christmas Cookies from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Stained Glass Cookies from Simply Recipes
Holiday Baking Ideas from Laura Rebecca's Kitchen
Vaniliekranse (family recipe) from Food and Thoughts
Matcha Cookies from Nami Nami
Lemon Glazed Christmas Wreath Cookies from Barbara Bakes
Brown Sugar Buckwheat Thumbprint Cookies from Gluten Free Goddess
Italian Christmas Cookies and Recipes from Talk of Tomatoes
Five Delicious Sugar-Free and Flourless Christmas Cookies from Kalyn's Kitchen
Gluten-Free Christmas Cookie Recipe Roundup from Ginger Lemon Girl

2. Fruitcake is the holiday tradition people love to hate, but when you see some of these recipes (and photos!) you'll may be inspired to try making some, even if you think you're not a fan.

My Family's Traditional Fruit Cake at What's for Lunch Honey
Patricia's Holiday Fruitcake from Simply Recipes
Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake from David Lebovitz
Mum's Fruit Loaf from Tinned Tomatoes
Figgy Christmas Fruit Roll from Under the Highchair
Drunken Fruitcake from Eclectic Recipes
Butter Fruitcake from Carol Egbert
Fabulous Fruitcake from Cookie Baker Lynn

tootsie roll fudge

Photo of Tootsie Roll Fudge from Food Blogga

3. Candy is always popular for holiday gifts. Here are some classics, and a few new ideas.

Tootsie Roll Fudge from Food Blogga
Almond Roca Recipe from Simply Recipes
Chunky Turtle Monkey Love Bars from Not Eating Out in New York
Espresso Caramels from 101 Cookbooks
Honey Nut Caramels from Dessert Candy
Fabulous Five Minute Fudge from Technicolor Kitchen
Pistachio Black Currant Truffles from A Mingling of Tastes
Coffee Toffee from Smitten Kitchen
Grandma's Fudge from White on Rice Couple

4. Bread. Biscotti, or Crackers are a good option if you'd like something more unusual than cookies or candy.

Homemade Beer Bread Mix with Baking Pan from Farmgirl Fare
Chocolate Chestnut Biscotti with Candied Clementine from Vegan Visitor
Cherry Garcia Biscotti from Baking Bites
Gluten Free Milti-Grain Crackers from Gluten Free Goddess
Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread (no oven needed) from Just Hungry
Gluten-Free Chickpea Crackers from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Gluten Free and Vegan Herb Crackers from Elana's Pantry
Greek Christmas Bread from Andrea Meyers

5. Chutney or Relish is something that can be made year round and it makes a great gift. Many of these can be frozen so you can make them in advance.

Dried Cranberry and Pear Chutney from The Perfect Pantry
Hot Mango Chutney from Tinned Tomatoes
Green Raisin Chutney from Food and Thoughts
Beetroot Chutney from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once
Cranberry Apricot Ginger Chutney from Christine Cooks
Cranberry Apple Ginger Relish from Jugalbandi
Onion, Cilantro, and Lime Juice Relish from For the Love of Cooking
Pickled Mustard Green Relish from Food Mayhem
Pear, Date, and Cinnamon Chutney from Jane Spice Recipes

rosemany and herb garlic rub

Photo of Rosemary and Garlic Herb Rub from Kalyn's Kitchen

6. Herb and Spice Blends or Pastes will be a big hit with serious foodies on your list. These range from simple-to-make to a bit more complicated.

Rosemary and Garlic Herb Rub from Kalyn's Kitchen
Handmade Spice Blends from Food in Jars
Vegetarian Thai Chili Paste in Soybean Oil from Jugalbandi
Berbere (Ethiopian Spice Paste) from Brownie Points
Herbs de Provence from French Kitchen in America
Carrabbas Italian Grill Bread Dip Mix from Sidewalk Shoes
Panch Phoron (Bengali spice mix) from The Well Seasoned Cook
Dukkah (Egyptian Spice blend) from Jaden's Steamy Kitchen
Ethnic Spice Blends from The Leftover Queen
Ras-Al-Hanout from Trini Gourmet

7. Meal-in-a-Jar Gifts are fun and easy to assemble even for people who don't know how to cook.

Three Bean Chili Gift Jar from Dianne's Dishes
Hot Chocolate Gift Jar from Dianne's Dishes
Bean and Pea soup Gift Jar from Dianne's Dishes.
Veggie Soup Gift Jar from Dianne's Dishes
Chocolate Chip Brownie Gift Jar from Dianne's Dishes
Homemade Pancake Mix from Food in Jars
Quick Bread in a Bottle from The Kitchn
Maple Vanilla Granola in a Jar from All Kinds of Yum

flavored salts

Photo of Flavored Sea Salt from Steamy Kitchen

8. Sea Salt or Pepper with Herbs and/or Spices makes a great gift, and it's incredibly easy to make. Last year I gave rosemary salt to everyone on my list!

Make Your Own Flavored Salts from Steamy Kitchen
Asian Flavored Sea Salts from Steamy Kitchen
Cracked Pepper Seasoning Blend for Fish from 28 Cooks
Rosemary Salt from Kalyn's Kitchen
Herb Salt from Lucullian Delights

9. Liqueurs or Extracts are fantastic for gifts, and many of them are remarkably simple to make. If you can find a fancy bottle, this gift becomes even more special.

Vanilla Extract from Andrea's Recipes
Chocolate Liqueur from 18th Century Cuisine
Limoncello from Lucullian Delights
Coffee Liquer from Yogurt Land
Homemade Vanilla Extract from Use Real Butter
How to Make Hazelnut Extract from The Purple Foodie

10. Gifts for Pets will be a big hit if you have animal lovers on your list. You can also make these treats for your own faithful companions!
Peanut Butter Dog Treats from Use Real Butter
Holiday Doggie Bagels from Culinary in the Country
Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits from White on Rice Couple
Flax Seed Dog Biscuits from White on Rice Couple
All Natural Dog Treats from Kitchen Parade
Holiday Cookies for Pets from The Leftover Queen

Blogher Food Editor Kalyn Denny also blogs at Kalyn's Kitchen.  She loves to give away Sweet Potato Fries Seasoning Mix to friends for Christmas gifts.

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