09 Dec 5 Easy to Make Christmas Gifts
A few years ago my family and I decided to forego shop bought Christmas presents in favour of home made. Not for the kids of course, they may not have been so enamored with knitted socks and chutney but we were and for me it truly brought back the magic of Christmas and made us all really think about the gifts we were giving.
Having a homemade gift made from the heart is so much more enjoyable than anything shop bought so why not give it a go this year, there’s still plenty of time.
Here are some of my easy but perfect suggestions. Just present them in beautiful bags or jars with handwritten labels and you will be delivering a gift of love (see my online shop for bags and labels etc)
This is the simplest of all the ideas but is such a beautiful gift. My sister in law made some for me and I still use it now by topping it up with fresh ingredients when I run low.
My favourites are vanilla, and cinnamon sugar but you can add, coffee, ginger, citrus zest, lavender etc to make your very own version.
It couldn’t be simpler, grab a nice looking jar with a screw top lid or a kilner jar and fill it half full with sugar. Add the scraped seeds and the stem of a vanilla pod or a tbsp. of cinnamon powder and a couple of cinnamon sticks, give it a good shake with the lid on then fill to the top with remaining sugar. Tie a ribbon round the jar and add a label. One present done!
Fresh Lemon Curd
This is delicious on freshly toasted whole meal bread and is super easy to make too.
Grate the rind and juice of 4 lemons, add to a large heatproof bowl with 450g unrefined sugar, 4 eggs and 110g butter. Place the bowl on top of a pan of boiling water and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until it starts to thicken and coats the back of the wooden spoon, approx. 15-20 mins. Pour into warm, sterile jars, seal and label. Must be kept refrigerated but will keep for up to 3 months unopened, once opened consume within 2 weeks.
You can mix this up a bit if you want by making seasonal clementine or lime curd, all equally delicious.
Fruity Christmas Biscotti
I love this biscotti recipe and so do the kids! I make a batch every year, some for us, some to give away. There are simpler versions if you prefer, you can change the nuts and dried fruits to whatever you want, the basic recipe will stay the same.
Heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. In the meantime measure out 150g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 250g caster sugar, place in a bowl and mix well before adding 3 eggs and the grated rind of 1 orange. Mix in to a manageable dough before incorporating, 85g raisins, 85g dried cherries 30g almonds and 50g pistachios (or whatever you decide you fancy!)
Once everything is mixed together, divide the mix into 4 equal portions and make each portion into a sausage shape, approx. 30cm long. Place on the baking tray and cook for 25-30 mins. Once cooked, cool for a little bit then with a breadknife, cut it on the diagonal into biscotti sized pieces, lay each piece flat on the baking tray (probably in batches) and cook again at 140°C for 15 minutes each side. Allow to cool and then store in an airtight container or place in pretty gift bags. They will keep fresh for up to a month but I doubt they will last anywhere near that long!
Easy Chocolate Fudge
This is far better than any box standard chocs and even though I would not class them as ‘healthy’ at least you know what is in them!
In a large heatproof bowl combine 450g good quality dark chocolate, chopped (at least 50% cocoa solids,) 60g unsalted butter and a 400ml can condensed milk. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water and heat gently for 5-10 mins, stir gently only to bind ingredients together.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in 40g desiccated coconut. Pour the mix into a 23cm square tin lined with greaseproof paper and sprinkle over more coconut. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before cutting into chunks with a sharp knife. Bag up in pretty polythene bags with ribbon and a label, see my online shop for these items!) It will keep for up to 4 weeks in the fridge.
And last but not least…..
Chocolate Brownie Mix in a Jar
Layer the following ingredients in a 1 litre jar, For best effect press each layer down and do it in this order. ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp baking powder, 95g plain flour, 35g unsweetened cocoa powder, 75g plain flour, 135g brown sugar, 150g unrefined caster sugar, 100g milk chocolate chips, 100g white chocolate chips, 50g walnuts (optional.)
On the label put these instructions. Combine the contents of this jar with 150g melted butter and 3 eggs. Mix well and pour into a lined 9 by 9 inch baking tray. Bake for 25-30 mins at 180°C.
I have 101 more great ideas from chutney to candied fruit peel, biscuit tree decorations to chilli jam. but these are some of my favourites and also the easiest ones to make! It is such a busy time of year.
If I get chance I will do another blog with a few more ideas. If you’re interested in seeing more please let me know. Also feel free to share this although maybe not to those people you will be making gifts for!!
Stay Healthy, well as much as you can over the festive period.