recipe: looking: for recipes for food xmas gifts.

robynpaNovember 9, 2008


I want to make some food gift baskets this year. We are on a budget and I have time to cook so I would like some great recipes that y'all might have used and liked.

Make ahead to freeze is great but any recipe that makes a nice gift is appreciated.

Thanks so much!

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I just made cakes in a jar this weekend. One of my friends who was baking with me is using them in gift baskets. The cost of a case of canning jars (12) was $9.00. These will be given out around the 3rd week of Xmas. She does this every year. It was fun & easy. I would be glad to share my recipe if you are interested.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 7:50PM
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Yes, please share!


    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 8:53PM
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One year I made up mixes for brownies and cornbread and gave them as gifts. I put all of the dry ingredients into a gallon size ziploc bag, then put the bag into a paper lunch bag, folded the top over and punched holes in it, tied with a Christmas ribbon. I used a pretty font and color and printed the directions and glued it to the outside of the bags. People liked them, and that way they could make them with their kids during the holidays or save them for a later date when there wasn't so much food that they probably didn't need one more thing to eat.

Last year I gave gingersnaps (already baked) packaged the same way.

At times I've made toffee and fudge, and if you can there's always jam and chutneys. Quick breads are nice with the jam.

This year I'm going to bake cinnamon rolls and/or dinner rolls in the disposable foil pans with lids and give those as gifts.

A few recipes follow - I'm sure you probably have your own favorites too.


* Exported from MasterCook *

Double Fudge Brownie Mix

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
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Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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2 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for dark pans), and grease 9 x 13 baking pan.
2. Empty mix into large mixing bowl and add 3/4 cup melted butter or margarine and 4 beaten eggs.
3. Mix just until blended and bake for 30 minutes.

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* Exported from MasterCook *

Mom's Ginger Snaps

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
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Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup white sugar for decoration

1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2 In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil,
molasses, and egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves,
cinnamon, and ginger; stir into the molasses mixture. Roll dough
into 1 1/4 inch balls. Roll each ball in white sugar before
placing 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3 Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven, or until
center is firm. Cool on wire racks.

"3 dozen"

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* Exported from MasterCook *


Recipe By :
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
6 milk chocolate Hershey bars -- broken into pieces
1 cup finely chopped nuts (I like pecans)

1. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F on a candy thermometer, stirring occasionally.
2. While the toffee is cooking, butter a large baking sheet.
3. As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Lay the chocolate pieces over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess.
4. Break into pieces when cool and set, and store in an airtight container.
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NOTES : If it's raining when you make the candy, cook to about 290F instead.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 10:14AM
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robynpa - Go to & look for the link that says gifts in a jar recipes. That way you will have many to choose from. Plus it's a great site for all kinds of ideas. Have fun.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 1:25PM
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Becky ca, I just made the Ginger Snaps that you posted and they turned out great! Next batch I will add more ground ginger because I like them a bit snappier (spicy).

Any hints for freezing them for Christmas?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 2:11PM
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If you like spicy gingersnaps, try adding about 1/4 tsp ground black pepper.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 2:37PM
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Robyn - the gingersnaps freeze great! I've frozen them in ziplock freezer bags and in tupperware containers, and when they're defrosted they're still crisp. My MIL also loves the gingersnaps, and I guess I should give proper credit to for the recipe :-)


    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 3:58PM
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i noticed on the site under Jar Making Tips it says, "Persistent tapping with a towel will help the ingredients to pack firmly." does she mean to actually press the ingredients down into the jar using a towel?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 2:47AM
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When my friends and I made the cakes in a jar she would tap the lid of the jar after it was sealed to make sure it was sealed. She did this with a towel since the lids are hot from being boiled. Tapping it pushed the cake further down into the jar when sealed.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 3:08PM
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This year I am giving Five Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug as gifts for my co-workers. I bought Christmas Mugs at a dollar store and small gift bags....I am going to put the dry ingredients in the bags and then inside the mugs and attach the recipe with decorative ribbons to the mugs. I typed them up on caligraphy paper using a recipe card template. Then printed them out, pasted them to scrapbooking paper, and then laminated them. Sounds like a lot of work.....but it isn't. Here is the recipe:

Five Minute Chocolate Mug Cake


Add dry ingredients to the mug and mix well with a fork. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk, oil, and vanilla and mix well, being sure to scrape the edges of the cup to incorporate all the dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and mix again.

Place the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1,000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug and then sink down when the microwave is turned off. Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate. Run a knife around the edge if it doesn't slide out easily. Serves 2. Great with ice cream!!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 10:01PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

This is for a gift basket with ingredients for home made sour dough pancakes. In the basket, you will put some maple syrup, a zip lock of dried starter, some flour, and a recipe for the world's best pancakes!

You can make your own sour dough starter easily. You have time now before Christmas to do this.

All you do is buy some bread flour, put 2 TBSP flour and 2 TBSP warm water in a glass or ceramic bowl. Use only wooden or plastic spoons to mix it. Metal spoons will kill your yeast. I use a plastic scraper to stir and move everything to the main part in the bowl. It works fine.

Mix it, and let it sit covered with a wet cloth at room temperature for a few hours till you see some bubbles. These are yeast bubbles. Add more water, and more flour. Feed it like this every 12 hours or so for a couple of weeks. It should smell sort of sour and be very bubbly! Pretend it's a little pet that you must feed. You will eventually have to change to a bigger bowl because it will grow as you feed it. Most of us use the excess for pancakes or bread, BUT below is a method to dry it for gifting.

Now, take a piece of parchment and paint some of it in a thin layer over the paper. It will take an hour or two to completely dry. Crinkle the paper, and it will all flake off. Simply put it in a zip lock. You have now made your own sour dough yeast starter. It is easy to reconstitute with some warm water, and a little feeding. You can use that parchment paper over and over to make your dried yeast flakes.

At this point, you bag up 1 C or so of dried flakes for each gift in a zip lock. You can put your leftover starter in the fridge, and feed it once a week, or you can keep it out, and continue feeding and making pancakes or bread.

Below is my favorite recipe: The older the starter the better this gets. I use the part I pour off weekly for my pancakes.

Reconstitute your starter by mixing it with 1 C warm (not hot) water. Loosely cover it, then follow the below recipe.

1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (or splenda)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 C of chopped pecans
1. Place the sourdough starter in a nonreactive mixing bowl, add the flour and water. Stir and leave, loosely covered, overnight in a warm place.
2. The following morning, stir the mixture and remove 1 cup. Put this in a sterile jar and keep covered in the refrigerator for next week's pancakes.
3. To the warm sourdough mixture, add remaining ingredients, stirring well.
4. For each pancake, pour scant 1/4 cup batter onto a hot griddle. Cook pancakes until dry around edges. Turn and cook other sides until lightly golden brown.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 11:39AM
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I find that things I recieve as a gift that I have to "make" I never do....and my daughter is a teacher and I sometimes would go in Feburary and see all these jars of brownie mix and cookie mix in jara un eaten.
If I have time to make the mix you put into a jar, I have time to make it from scratch using Ghiardelli chocolate and butter etc.
I much perfer gifts of real food....and my favorite is home made preserves or pickles...or bags of spiced or sugared nuts, something that will keep for a while and pull out when I need it.
That said the gift that I give that is most well recieved is a tin or apothecary jar of biscotti, and next is a pan of rolls hot from the oven! I had a call from a friend thanking me for the rolls she guessed...she said they must have been good because by the time she got back from thes tore her 2 boys and husband had polished them off!
I also give a CD that I compile myself from music from other Christmas CD's I have, sometimes chorale, sometimes wierd songs like All I Want for Christmas....sometimes a mix of all genres. And another that is well recieved if I know the family has kids in the 8 to 18 range is a jar of hot chocolate mix, and one friend gave a small jar of her own blended spiced tea...real tea leaves, she grated and dried the orange peel, blended the spices etc....very good and I don't have the recipe!
Sorry, but that cake in a mug would not be popular with a lot of people I know....the cake is not very good....and then you have the mug. I would fill the mug with Chex mix or another cereal based mix.
Remember, presentation when giving a gift is something, but after you look at that cute little jar with the layers, you either have to toss it or eat it.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 11:45AM
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For over 35 years now-I have made two homemade salad dressings that I been 'known for' in 3 counties of PA when I had eateries there.
They can be made 2-3 weeks ahead & stored in 2 big jugs or tubs in the fridge. I buy cases of the jelly jars at the grocery store, write out labels & attach them (before filling them with the cold dressings) and then when it's time to give-simply ladle them from the big jugs into the jars, & top with a pretty bow. I give 1 of each kind as the gift. What's so funny is that 75% of them return the jars-so they're assured of getting more the following Xmas! LOL!
My recipes are geared to make about a gallon of each, so I don't know if you'd be interested in my posting them here or not. The two kinds are Sharon's homemade Bacon Dressing & my Zesty French (NOT creamy). If you would like the recipes..I'll keep an eye out for this post & will submit them.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 11:36PM
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Recipe Please!
LOL! About the returned jars! I often get a biscotti jar back....with a note inside that says "Thanks for the delicious biscotti" or something similar!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 12:03AM
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Sharon, please post your recipes!


    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 7:14AM
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Here you go:


8 small cans tomato soup -Campbells
6 cups sugar
6 cups cider vinegar
3 cups of salad oil
3 cups Lemon juice
Finely grated lemon peel of 3 lemons
2 bottles (5 oz each) worchestershire sauce
2 Tbs. each..salt and pepper
2-3Tbs. fresh chopped garlic
1 lg sweet onion-left whole or halved
** Put in deep pot to mix, using a whisk or mixer (on low) to blend well, after adding
each ingredient. Pour into a jug(s)-filling 3/4 full and ADD...1 whole
onion. Refridgerate for at least 2-3 days before using. Of course-the
onion is just to flavor the dressing in the big jug!
Ahead of can go to any restaurant & ask for their empty gallon
jugs (like their mayonaise comes in). Use these to store dressings in,
until time to portion in jelly jars.
Keeps 2 months under refridgeration

NOTE: You may want to adjust the salt & ppper once it's made-also adding more worchestershire sauce for even zestier flavor. I make this one a week ahead to enhance flavor before gifting!

(makes 1+ gallons)
2lbs. bacon, fried crisp-SAVE grease!
12 eggs (beaten with spoon)
11 cups sugar
1 TBS salt
In a DEEP, HEAVY pot..put eggs & beat with a spoon, until broken up
well. Add about 2/3 of the grease from the bacon, to the pot. Mix the
sugar & salt into the eggs, until well blended. THEN ADD:
2 cups flour
3Tbs and 1 tsp. dry mustard
* Mix until well blended
5 cups cider vinegar
10 cups warm water
*MIX WELL, using whisk!
Heat on medium, and still frequently, but NOT constantly, since constant
stirring loses heat & takes mixture longer to thicken! This will take
around 20-30 minutes to thicken. You DON'T want it real thick-more like
a medium thick gravy, as mixture will thicken more as it cools. (Scrape sides of pot often). If it
does get away from you & gets too thick? Add HOT water- a little at a
time-immediately-not after it cools!
*When done-add 3Tbs of margarine or butter to the hot dressing & blend
**This is best served warm (nuke for 30 seconds). ***Great
on Spinach Salads, lettuce salad, Baked Potatoes or green beans.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 7:33AM
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Thanks!! You guys are awesome!!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 7:22PM
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This year I'm giving really nice coffee mugs...bought them last year at 75% off after Christmas. I'm filling them with hot cocoa mix and homemade marshmallows.

Hot Cocoa Mix:

2 C, powdered sugar (I use Splenda)
1 C Dutch processed cocoa or Hersheys Special Dark (cannot use just regular cocoa)
2 1/2 C powdered milk
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp cornstarch
pinch cayenne pepper

I use generous 1/4 C mix to 1 Cup hot water. Can use more according to taste.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 10:04PM
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1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar (MUST be sifted)
1/3 cup firmly backed brown sugar
4 Tbs. honey
2/3 cup dark rum
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

Combine butter and sugars and cream until well blended. Mix in remaining ingredients and beat until creamy. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Give mix with the recipe for Hot Buttered Rum.

To make Hot Buttered Rum: In a 9-ounce mug, combine 1 jigger ( 1 1/2 oz.) of rum with 1 heaping tablespoon of mix. Fill mug with boiling apple cider or water. Stir.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 8:51AM
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This is a tried and true recipe for biscotti, the recipe I make most often. It has no added fat other than the eggs and is not too sweet or crunchy hard in texture.

Biscotti With Nuts - makes about 45 cookies

3 eggs or 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites
1 t. vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 cup nuts, toasted, coarse chopped - hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds

Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray a baking sheet with Pam or line with parchment paper.

In a mixer bowl, mix eggs (whites), vanilla. Add in sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix to form a dough. Stir in nuts.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface. Knead dough a few times to make it hold together. Divide dough in half. Form two flat logs 15-inches long and 2-inches wide. Put on prepared baking sheet 3-inches apart.

Bake for 40 minutes. Remove and cool for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 F. On a cutting board, cut diagonal slices about 3/4-inch wide. Put upright on the baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes more at 275 F. Cool biscotti on a rack.

biscotti = twice baked cookies, very good with coffee, espresso, cappucino, tea; also good for breakfast!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 3:34PM
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We had an almost identical discussion of this over on the Cooking Forum a little while ago. The thread can be found here.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 3:51PM
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Ruthanna, The Hot Buttered Rum is fantastic!!! I made a batch for myself and DH and we both love it. I used spiced rum. I am going to be giving some of these out for gifts this year.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 4:42PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

A small tin or box of baklava is always appreciated. It freezes beautifully and most people think it's difficult to make -not really.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 5:52PM
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I never use Splenda...when you say powdered sugar, do you mean confectioners sugar?

Thanks, jude

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 4:05PM
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Yes to confectioners sugar. The recipe actually calls for 1/2 Cup of mix to 1 cup of hot water. I think 1/3 C. mix is plenty but it's up to your personal taste buds. I use to use Nestles Hot cocoa mix but once you try this, you will be hooked on making your own. I get the powdered milk at Sams and generally double the recipe and keep it in jars. It's particularly wonderful with homemade marshmallows because they melt and make the cocoa nice and creamy whereas regular store bought marshmallows just seem to float on top. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 6:30PM
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For food gifts I do all of the following, my bread and butter pickles, kosher dills, peppernuts, (baking those now) sand hill plum jam, and peanut butter fudge. The pickles and jam are done in the summer, and peppernuts and fudge now. Sometimes if I'm lucky and have time I make homemade noodles and package them in 12 oz packages. I always get the jars back.
Peanut Butter Fudge--easy and foolproof.
2 c sugar
1/2 c milk Boil for 3 minutes in heavy pan, I use pressure cooker pan.
Add to above 1 1/3 c peanut butter and 1 7 oz jar marshmallow creme. Beat together and pour into buttered pan

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 1:37PM
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I found this one today.

mixture of apple varieties, rather than just one type, will produce apple butter with rich, complex flavor in this slow cooker recipe. Good choices include Esopus Spitzenburg, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Northern Spy, Rome, Stayman, Winesap, and York. Enjoy the apple butter over toast or English muffins, or serve it with pork chops or chicken.

4 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup)

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
10 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Combine all ingredients in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 10 hours or until apples are very tender.

Place a large fine-mesh sieve over a bowl; spoon one-third of apple mixture into sieve. Press mixture through sieve using the back of a spoon or ladle. Discard pulp. Repeat procedure with remaining apple mixture. Return apple mixture to slow cooker. Cook, uncovered, on high 1 1/2 hours or until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. Spoon into a bowl; cover and chill up to a week.

Stovetop variation: Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 1 hour or until apples are very tender, stirring occasionally. Strain through a sieve as recipe instructs in Step 2. Return mixture to pan. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 2:42PM
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Well, Dottieq.....guess I'll have to have the recipe for homemade marshmallows now. Would you share that as well?


    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 8:32PM
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joann fla,
Have you canned this apple butter? Do you think I could process this in BWB for 10 min? I would like to store it on a shelf.

Thanks, jude

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 8:47PM
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jude, I'd be happy to's pretty long, but it's not difficult. You can find it on the Food Network's Alton Brown's recipe...if you cannot find it I'll type it out for's sooooo god!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 8:37PM
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I haven't made the apple butter yet so I don't know much about it. I don't see why you couldn't can it.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 6:58PM
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Thank you, dottieq. I did find the recipe for the homemade marshmallows and I hope to try it soon.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 8:50AM
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jude...when you are spreading the mixture make sure your spatula is well sprayed with Pam....I even spray my hands and use them quickly because it sets up fast...good luck...I have a miserable cold and was too lazy to get up and get the recipe...glad you found it.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 10:57AM
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Hey joann fla,
I made the overnight apple butter yesterday...had to cut it off to go the dentist. When I turned it back on..on high it never seemed to really get that hot. I had used 2 different kinds of cooked up, the other didn't. I wound up putting it in the oven, cooked it a while...used a stick blender to make it smoother and got 10 half pints out of it and it's good. I just turned the jars upside down for a bit after I put the lids on and they all sealed. Thanks, jude.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 8:39PM
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