Category Archives: Holiday Gifts Recipes

Cranberry Nut bars

Cranberry Nut bars

This is a yummy alternative to all the rich deserts of the season. It is a little healthier than the others too. The fruit and healthy fat from the nuts makes this a nutritious treat. These are a great make ahead gift that store just as easily as other cookies.

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1/3 cup melted butter

1 ¼ cups fresh cranberries

½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch baking pan. Beat eggs until thick; gradually add sugar until thoroughly blended. Stir in flour and melted butter, mix well. Add cranberries and walnuts mix until just combined. Pour in pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into bars. Recipe from Ocean Spray.

Zesty Pretzels

Zesty Pretzels

This recipe goes perfectly with yesterday’s recipe for spicy nuts. Use your favorite pretzel varieties, any shape. Give in a gift basket with the spicy nuts and their favorite beverage and your set. Tasty alternative to the giant tins of popcorn you can get at the grocery store. Also this is a great item to bring to a holiday party, were there will be lots of sweets this salty snack will sand out.

4 10 oz packages of pretzels

1 cup vegetable oil

1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix (I suggest Hidden Valley)

1 tablespoon stake seasoning (McCormick’s Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning is good)

2 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon dill weed

Empty pretzels into a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the oil, and seasonings. Pour over pretzels and toss to coat. Transfer coated pretzels to two 9×13 baking pans and bake for 50-60 minutes stirring after every 15 in a 250 degree oven. Once cool store in an air tight container. Give in a tin or decorated container alone or as part of a gift basket.

Spicy Nuts

Spicy Nuts

Use your favorite raw nuts in this yummy recipe. Give in a gift basket with tomorrow’s recipe and their favorite beverage. This would be a great gift basket for the football fan in your life. If you don’t like the nuts quite so hot you can always reduce the amount of cayenne pepper.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cup raw nuts (almonds or cashews are good)

½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon salt

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of ground cloves

In a heavy skillet (I would suggest cast iron), heat oil over medium heat, add nuts. Cook and sir often for 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add seasonings; sir to coat. Remove from pan and cool completely.Serve warm or cold. To sever warm place in baking dish and heat for 5 minutes at 300.

Reindeer Noses

Reindeer noses

This is a super cute gift idea. Be sure and make a lot of them because they will get eaten before they get where you plan to take them. For a gift just fill a tin or mason jar and make a cute label.

1 bag mini twist pretzels

2 bags Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses

1 bagHolidayred and green M&M’s

First unwrap all kisses and place in a bowl, then open M&M’s and pour into separate bowl. On an ungreased cookie sheet line up pretzels in a single layer and place one kiss on each pretzel. Place in preheated oven at 300 degrees until the kisses are just starting to melt about 3 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven and place one M&M in the center of the melted Kiss. Let cool until the chocolate is hard before removing from cookie sheet. Putting them in the freezer will speed up the process; I suggest that you have multiple cookie sheets.

Snack mix

Snack mix

This snack mix makes a yummy homemade gift. Just fill a quart size mason jar and when its time to serve, pour in a bowl and stir to combine. Supper easy and the kids can help because there is no cooking involved. This would also make a great quick treat to take to a holiday party.

2 cups Honey Nut Cheerios

2 cups chow mein noodles

1 cup honey roasted peanuts

½ cup raisins

½ cupHolidayM&M’s

½ cup peanut butter chips

½ cup vanilla or white chocolate chips

Layer all ingredients in 2 wide mouth quart mason jars, make a label and tie a pretty bow. When it is time to serve, pour into a bowl and sir. Its that easy so have fun.

Brownies in a Jar

Brownies in a Jar

This makes a great quick make ahead gift. You can change up the recipe by adding  different goodies such as crushed candy canes, m&m’s nuts ext. Print off the other ingredient list and directions on pretty paper or decorate by hand and tie them on with a ribbon or tape or glue them to the jar. It will look like you spent lots of time on this gift but really it is simply. You might also want to add a piece of fabric over lid for added color, you can find some cheep holiday fabric and one yard would go along way. Good luck and let me know how it turned out.

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup sugar

½ cup dried cranberries, nuts, other dried fruit, candy cane pieces,ext.

½ cup white chocolate chips or Vanilla chips

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a quart size mason jar layer the ingredients in order they are listed, cover and store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

Make a label that says:

Add 3 eggs

½ cup oil or melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To prepare brownies: mix together eggs, oil and vanilla add brownie mix stir until all ingredients are wet and incorporated. Spread into a greased 9 inch square pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolates

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolates

Great gift for those Reese’s cup loves in your life, and so very easy. Once these have set and are hard pop them out of the muffin liners and put them in a pretty tin, fill a coffee cup or a pretty candy dish with them. This is great to have the kids help with because there is no stove involved. If you like these recipes feel free to share them.

1 10-12 oz. package vanilla or white chocolate chips

6 oz. or 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons butter flavored shortening (real butter would work too)

Microwave all ingredients on high for 1 and ½ minutes, stir, return to microwave for 30 more seconds or until all ingredients are melted and smooth. Pour into miniature muffin tins with paper liners, refrigerate until set.

For best results do not use reduced fat or generic peanut butter I personally favor Smucker’s all natural creamy peanut butter.

Seasoning Mix

Seasoning Mix

Another quick gift idea, mix this up and fill salt shakers with it attach your hand made label and it looks like you spent a lot of time making this gift only you will know it took mere minutes. Make this part of a gift basket with other homemade food gifts like jams and jellies, soup mixes ext.

1/3 cup garlic powder

¼ cup celery salt

¼ cup Italian seasoning

¼ cup lemon-pepper seasoning

¼ cup dried crushed rosemary

¼ cup paprika

3 tablespoons garlic salt

4 teaspoons pepper

Combine all ingredients store in salt shakers with directions to use on salads, soups, potatoes, or as a meat rub.

This is a great make ahead gift idea, stores well. If you are creative make your own label stickers.

Sweet and salty party mix

Sweet and salty party mix

Make it a movie night gift basket, add this party mix, a movie, some candies, maybe nuts and cute napkins you could also add their favorite beverage. This gift takes a little more time to bake up but it is worth it. Throw the gift basket together and mark another name off your list. I would suggest making a couple of batches because it is really hard to stay out of. Need gluten free, use rice or corn Chex in place of wheat.

2 quarts popped popcorn

3 cups wheat or rice Chex

1 11 oz can salted mixed nuts

½ cup butter, cubed

½ cup honey

In a large bowl mix the popcorn, Chex, and nuts. Heat butter and honey until butter is melted, pour over the other ingredients. Spread out the mixture on 2 ungreased cookie sheets, careful to have ingredients in a single layer, bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven  or until the popcorn is golden brown, stir mixture every five minutes of baking time. While everything is cooling stir occasionally to keep large clumps from forming.  This makes a great gift, just place in a tin, or other sealable container.