Christmas food gifts to show you care
We all know that a handmade card is better than a shop-bought one. So it follows that some Christmas crafting will earn plenty of brownie points and nothing says Christmas more than food and goodies. Our festive round-up has some ideas for DIY Christmas food gifts which are possible to create with the kids without too much bother!
It’s fairly easy to find pretty bags or boxes to use to present your gifts, finishing off with ribbons and pretty stickers will work wonders.
We kick off with three recipes from our very own Jo Pratt who has some fantastic Christmas food gift ideas.
Gingerbread Snowflake Biscuits by Jo Pratt
375g (13oz) plain flour, plus extra for rolling
2tbsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp baking powder
1tbsp cocoa powder
125g (4 1/2oz) butter, softened
125g (4 1/2oz) light muscovado sugar
1tbsp black treacle
1tbsp golden syrup
1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric hand whisk until it is slightly creamy. Add the treacle, golden syrup and egg. Beat until smooth.
- Using a wooden spoon, gradually add the flour mixture, a little at a time, and then finish off with your hands, to form a smooth dough, kneading lightly on the worktop. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to around the thickness of a £1 coin. Using a pastry cutter, cut out as many small or large biscuit shapes as you like, and place on greased baking sheets. There is no need to space them well apart as the dough won’t spread while cooking.
- Place in the preheated oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, until they are starting to firm up. If you want to hang them on your Christmas tree, make a hole with a skewer while they are still hot. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Once cold, the biscuits can be decorated like snowflakes (or with whatever pattern you like). Use coloured writing icing tubes – mine were done with Barbie glitter ones.
Cocoa Granola by Jo Pratt
Time taken: 1 hour 15 minutes including cooking
Makes: 8-10 portions
- 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 ripe bananas, peeled
- 50g/1 ¾ oz dates, stoned (ideally the plump sticky Medjool dates)
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder, sieved
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 250g/9oz porridge oats (gluten-free if required)
- 100g/3 ½ oz pecan nuts, roughly chopped
- 75g/2 ½ oz dried cherries, raisins, sultanas or cranberries
- 50g/1 ¾ oz coconut flakes
- 50g/1 ¾ oz sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp linseed/flaxseed
- Pre-heat the oven to 140C/120C fan/275F/gas 1. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
- Put the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, bananas and dates, into a food processor and blend to a smooth puree. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix well, making everything is coated in the banana puree mixture.
- Tip onto the baking tray and loosely spread into a single layer. Place into the oven and cook for 1 hour, mixing the granola around every 15 minutes, breaking up any particularly large chunks.
- After 1 hour the granola will still remain soft but will have a delicious toasted aroma and appear more golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. As it cools, it will become crisp and crunchy.
- Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks – though it’s highly unlikely you won’t have any left by then anyway!
If gifting, find some compostable ‘cellophane’ gift bags and pretty labels which you can use to divide amongst your friends and family.
Nut-Free: simply omit the pecan nuts and replace with some additional dried fruit such as banana chips, chopped figs, apricots or mango.
Extra chocolatey: stir 100g/3 ½ oz dark chocolate chips or chunks into the granola when it comes out of the oven.
Sticky Toffee Popcorn
Makes 4-8 portions
Preparation Time 5 minutes, plus 15 minutes cooling
Cooking Time 5 minutes
1 tbsp sunflower oil
50g / 1 3/4oz popping corn
40g / 1 1/2oz salted butter
40g / 1 1/2oz / 1/4 cup light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1. Line a baking sheet with baking powder
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the corn and swirl the pan around to coat the corn in the oil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat to low and leave the pan for a few minutes until the popping has stopped, then remove it from the heat.
3. Meanwhile, put the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a separate pan over a low heat until the butter has melted. Increase the heat to medium and let the mixture bubble for 2 minutes. Pour over the popcorn and stir well to coat.
4. Spread the popcorn over the prepared baking sheet and leave to cool for about 15 minutes in a cool place (not the fridge).
Pop the popcorn in a bag, seal well and then put the bag inside a popcorn box for the best gift for movie fans.
Taken from Madhouse Cookbook
White Chocolate Truffles
These White Chocolate Truffles seen in Country Living were far too good to miss.
1/2 cup plus 9 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
310g plus 3 cups white chocolate chips, divided
50g cream cheese, at room temperature
32 Biscoff biscuits finely crushed. Aim for 2 1/2 cups crumbs
Holly sprinkles, for decorating.
- Heat 1/2 cup cream in a medium saucepan over low heat until bubbles form around edges, 1 to 2 minutes; remove from heat. Add 310g of chocolate chips and let sit 2 minutes; whisk until smooth. Whisk in cream cheese then fold in cookie crumbs until combined. Transfer to a bowl and chill until firm, 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll mixture into tablespoon-sized balls; transfer to baking sheet. Freeze until firm, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Microwave remaining 9 tablespoons cream and 3 cups chips in a microwave-safe bowl on high 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Dip truffles in melted chocolate, tapping off excess, and place on a prepared baking sheet. Immediately place a holly sprinkle on top; let set.
Stained Glass Window Cookies from Jamie Oliver
100 g unsalted butter , (cold)
180 g plain flour
50 g caster sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk
12 coloured fruity boiled sweets
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4, and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
- Finely grate the clementine zest. Cube up the butter and place in a mixing bowl with the flour, sugar, clementine zest and cinnamon. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the mix till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the milk and bring together to make a soft dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place it in the fridge to firm up for about 30 minutes.
- Separate the sweets into colours and place in separate sandwich bags. Press the air out and seal the bags, then carefully crush into small pieces with a rolling pin.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and roll out to 1cm thick. Use a selection of large cutters to cut out shapes and place on the lined baking sheets, then use the smaller cutters to cut a ‘window’ in the centre of each biscuit.
- Sprinkle enough crushed sweets to fill the centre hole (don’t overfill or the sweets will melt over the biscuit), then use a cocktail stick to make a hole in the top of each biscuit, so you can thread a ribbon through them later. (You can re-roll any dough trimmings to make more biscuits, but you’ll need more sweets. You could also bake the cut-out centres and eat as a treat when decorating the tree.)
- Bake for 12 minutes, or till the biscuits are golden and the sweets melted. Leave to firm up, then transfer to a wire rack. Thread with ribbon and hang them on the tree or package up for gifting.
Recipe by Phillippa Spence at jamieoliver.com
Snowflake cookies and Popcorn image Gareth Morgans
Chocolate Granola image Susan Bell
White Chocolate Truffles image Brian Woodcock