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Sunday 11 November 2018

Homemade Christmas Gifts To Impress

I'm ashamed to admit it, but many of the homemade cakes, bakes and boozes I make don't make it out of the house. Especially the food. I swear, from the moment it goes in the tin, it dwindles by the minute.

So, Christmas really is my opportunity to share some of the products of my labour. Recipes for jams and chutneys in particular result in such a large number that there's plenty to go around and you can't beat the feeling of pride you get, handing over something you labelled yourself.

Here are a few ideas for edible homemade gifts you can make for your friends and family this Christmas.

1. Spiced Cranberry and Fig Chutney

Spiced cranberry and fig. This has 'Christmas' written all over it. I found this delightful chutney recipe on the Woman & Home website and it really feels the epitome of a Christmas foodie gift.

Chutneys are nowhere near as difficult to make as you would be inclined to think. It's pretty much a case of putting everything in a pan and cooking it, which doesn't sound too intimidating, right? And neither is the process of sterilising jars. There are plenty of videos online which explain it well. The jars themselves you can buy online or from stores such as Wilko or Hobbycraft.

2. Red Berry Rum

This tasty tipple is beautifully easy to make and a real treat to sup on a cold winter's evening. Interestingly, the taste varies depending on the blend of red berries you use. Previous year's have been heavy with cherries but this year I used a higher mix of strawberries which I think brings an extra touch of sweetness to the drink. 

I bottled small amounts in little glass bottles I bought online and added handwritten brown paper labels saying 'Drink Me', a la Alice in Wonderland. You could also buy patterned ribbon from places like Hobbycraft or local haberdashery shops to wrap around the bottle necks as a lovely home-crafted touch.

You will need to make this 2-4 weeks ahead to allow for infusion time so if it takes your fancy, head over to my post to discover how to get started. 

3. Turkish Delight

When you find out what's in turkish delight, you may well want to give it all away, because it's basically just sugar, sugar and more sugar. But it's Christmas time. And isn't Christmas all about indulgence? 

Don't be afraid to be generous or brave with flavouring. I have made this twice now using Valencian orange extract, but you could also try traditional rose, zesty lemon, fruity pomegranate, or nutty flavours like hazelnut, walnut or pistachio. And use plenty of the cornflour/icing sugar mixture to cover your sweets as otherwise they will stick together. For this reason, it's also a good idea to store them in either glass jars or plastic bags. Don't be too quick to turn your nose up at the latter - you can hide the practical plastic nicely in a homemade paper box decorated with some string and a garnish of holly berries.

Check out my recipe here!

4. Whisky Cream Liqueur

My mum makes what I affectionately refer to as 'fake Bailey's' every winter, and there's always a glass on the table at Christmas dinner. In a stark contrast to her usual homemade tipples, it's not actually overly alcoholic, but it does leave a satisfactory warmth in your tummy when the glass is eventually drained. 

This recipe can be whipped up in no time and keeps for a couple of weeks, so it's perfect for dropping around to family on Christmas Day, or even on boxing Day as a post-turkey buffet treat.

5. Stained Glass Star Biscuits

I absolutely love the idea of melting boiled sweets to create the stained glass effect in this Good Housekeeping recipe. It's such a simple concept but incredibly effective and they're certainly set to impress anyone who receives them. And they could even double as tree decorations!

There are only 5 ingredients in this simple recipe but again, feel free to experiment. You could add some mixed spice to the biscuit mix for an extra punch of flavour. Or even mix and match. How about cinnamon biscuits with a red centre? Or orange zest and an orange centre? The possibilities are endless.

6. African Amarula Gilded Chocolate Truffles

The name may be a bit of a mouthful but I suspect grateful family members will have no trouble gobbling down these luxurious, chocolatey treats. Don't be intimidated by the gold leaf, which is by far the most intricate part of an incredibly easy recipe that actually uses, no word of a lie, a MICROWAVE. So there's no excuses.

I truly hope that even just one of these recipes persuades you to have a go at making a homemade edible gift this Christmas. It seems all too often that the amount of money spent on gifts outweighs any emotion or meaning behind them, and I find that so heartbreaking. But the sense of pride you'll feel as you present a homemade gift to a loved one and the surprise on their faces as they realise the thought you've put in, those feelings are priceless.

My last word is just to say - don't worry if it goes wrong. Just try again or try something new. There are no rules to this game and nobody will know how many practice attempts it took unless you tell them. Good luck!


  1. We used to make "Fake Baileys" every year, might have to get back to its this Christmas.

  2. There's some great suggestions here!! I've been wanting to make Turkish delight for a while.. It would definitely be impressive as a gift!