edible gifts for this holiday season

DIY gifts: grab your apron and get creative

By: Anna Decker / 12/16/2015

Granola We’re fans of the Early Bird recipe with coconut flakes, olive oil and maple syrup. It’s a bit on the sweeter side, but perfect for a special treat. Here’s how we like to eat it: take a big dollop of Greek yogurt, thin with a tablespoon of water and top with granola and some fresh fruit. To wrap as a gift, all you need is a mason jar with a lid and a small handwritten tag with a list of ingredients. If you’re less of a sweet tooth, you might want to try this addictivesavory granola.

Herb salt Flavored salts come together in almost no time and can be packed in small jars. Start with a good flaky salt like Maldon, though kosher salt would work well. Then stir in dried or fresh herbs and/or spices and set aside to infuse. One of our favorites is fennel salt, particularly good on pork tenderloin. If you want a spicier hit, try a mix of freshly ground pepper, red chile flake and paprika.

Flavored sugars Not so different from herb salts, these are great for boosting the flavor of baked goods. One of the easiest and yet most fragrant sugars is vanilla. Simply add a vanilla bean to a jar of sugar and allow to infuse. Next time you’re making cake use a tablespoon or two of your vanilla sugar.

Salted caramel sauce Surprisingly no-fuss, salted caramel is made with salt, butter, sugar and cream. It’s the perfect accompaniment to ice cream, chocolate cake and apple pies, but often I like to lather it on hot toast. It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, just make sure to warm it up before use for an easier drizzle. Otherwise, spread as you would butter.

Apple or Pear Sauce One of the best edible gifts I ever received was a jar of freshly-made (still warm) pear sauce. I spooned it right into a bowl of yogurt. It came with a handwritten label, taped to the jar. Try covering the lid with a small square of fabric tied with a ribbon.

Grain mixes In the Marley Spoon test kitchen, we love to combine grains to make a simple grain bowl all the more nutritious and colorful. In the past we’ve put together red quinoa, pearl barley and steel cut oats for a risotto. Just make sure your grains have fairly similar cooking times.

Spice rubs Similar to herb salts and flavored sugars, these can be packaged in tiny jars or cellophane bags. We recommend an espresso rub, using freshly ground espresso beans from your favorite neighborhood roaster or coffeeshop. Then combine with ground coriander and chipotle powder. See here for how to use.

Spiced nuts The great thing about spiced nuts is that you can eat them a million different ways: as an hors d’oeuvre, tossed in a salad or as a topping for ice cream if they’re sweet. They keep well in an airtight jar, but I doubt they’ll last longer than a few days.

Limoncello If you prefer a boozy gift, try Limoncello, an Italian liqueur flavored with lemon zest and simple syrup. It’ll warm you up on cool nights, plus you can serve it as a post-holiday meal digestivo.

Chocolate Bark Clean out your pantry by making chocolate bark: top with chopped pretzels, crumbled cookies, toasted nuts or leftover sweets from Halloween. You could even scatter crushed chips over the chocolate for a sweet and salty treat. Then break into irregular bite-sized pieces.

But if there’s really only one thing you can make this holiday season, we recommend thesetoffee graham bars. They’re the perfect combination of salty, crunchy, sweet. We couldn’t stop eating them in our test kitchen when Chef Dawn Perry was developing the recipe. In fact, I think I’ll go make a batch right now for an edible gift.

No time to cook? It’s OK, we’ve got you covered.

Brooklyn Dehli Achaar A small-batch Indian relish made with pickles. They come in three flavors: Tomato, Garlic and Gooseberry flavors. These achaars are a little less spicy and salty than the traditional ones, allowing the flavors of vegetables and fruits to really shine. We liked them so much we developed a coconut curry around this condiment.

Kimchi Kooks We so love Kimchi Kook’s selection of refreshing and crunchy fermented vegetables. There’s a particularly delicious “white kimchi” that is milder than your bright red kind. We’re fans of the beautiful purple kimchi’d cabbage & beets. It’ll effortlessly dress up any rice bowl. The cherry on top? The jars are decorated with a handmade paper from Korea. Just make sure to keep these jars refrigerated.

Spicy Honey We can’t stop drizzling this chili pepper infused honey onto everything, from warm biscuits and fried chicken to pancakes. Plus, we think the bottle is beautiful (check out the bar code in the shape of a chili pepper!).

Frog Hollow Farm Located in California, Frog Hollow Farm offers stunning gift boxes with seasonal fruits, sweet treats, cheeses and olive oil. Peach preserves, granola, fresh cookies and cakes, pears. Who wouldn’t want to receive a box of goodies to help with the post-holiday blues?

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