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December 18, 2013

Giving baked goods use to be an economical gift option
during the holidays.  Now, with the high cost of ingredients,
homemade baked presents can be quite costly.

A holiday tip:  giving less costly treats is all about

A dozen cookies look completely different when
stacked like an edible tree than when given in a tin:
A tower of gingerbread or star sugar cookies is
easy to stack when you 'glue' the tiers with icing.

Get Creative
Click here for a pictorial tutorial on building a cookie tree.

A simple cupcake takes on an entirely
different appearance when presented in a jar:
 Lil' Luna
Tip:  Include a battery-powered votive candle so that the
jar can be used as a luminary after the cupcake is eaten.

A mug with family members' painted thumbprints
is perfect for filling with mints and nuts:
DIY Decor Place

Pack cookie making ingredients in a
Mason jar - don't forget the recipe!
Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Plastic-wrapped mugs with holiday straws
are perfect for gifting hot cocoa mix:
Half Baked Harvest

Caramel corn looks especially yummy when
 presented in an upcycled (and washed!) pickle jar:
Plaid Online

Instead of using ordinary wire twist ties, decorate
bread bag clips with colored Sharpies:

Frost Me

The Dollar Tree and The Dollar Store
offer a variety of small glass jars:
Bake. Love. Give.

Instant Chai Tea Mix
Yields:  36 servings

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup non-dairy powdered coffee creamer
1 cup French vanilla-flavored non-dairy powdered coffee creamer
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground All-Spice
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

In a large mixing bowl whisk together milk powder, coffee creamers and sugar until evenly distributed.  Set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl whisk together tea and spices.

Using a spice grinder or food processor, pulse tea mixture in approximately one cup batches until a fine powder is formed.  Add tea powder to dairy mixture and whisk until fully combined.

Pulse the entire mixture in the spice grinder or food processor in one cup batches until well incorporated and a fluffy powder consistency is reached.  Transfer to an airtight container to store or divide into smaller containers to give as gifts.

To serve
Mix two heaping teaspoons per 8 ounces of boiling water and enjoy!

Candied Citrus Peel is an unusual and rather
exotic treat that's actually quite easy to make:

Candied Orange Peel

1 cup orange peel strips
1/4 cup water
1/2 sugar

Place peel strips in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes longer.  Drain.  Repeat this process two more times.

In a medium saucepan heat sugar and 1/4 cup water over high heat until boiling.  Place peel in sugar mixture, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes until sugar is dissolved.  Remove peel with slotted spoon and dry on wire rack overnight.  Store in an airtight container.

Cranberry Winter Cookies in a Jar sounds delicious!
Visit Becca at Cul-de-Sac Cool for the
recipe and the easy-to-download label.

You can also print the recipe for Becca's
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread in a Jar:

At about 75¢ per bag, Cranberry Almond Bark is an
economical and delicious gift that's very easy to make.

1 cup almonds, pecans or walnuts
1 pound sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup dried fruit cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread nuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes.  Coarsely chop nuts and set aside.

Line same baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.  Place half of the chocolate in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until melted.  Remove from heat, add remaining chocolate and stir occasionally until smooth.

Stir nuts and fruit into chocolate and then pour mixture onto paper on baking sheet, spreading 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Let cool at room temperature until set, about 2 hours.  (You can refrigerate chocolate to speed the process but chocolate may discolor.)

Break bark into large, jagged pieces and wrap in cellophane or pack in decorative gift boxes.

Cherry Winks bring back delicious memories.  The recipe
for these crunchy treats can be found at

Get crafty with plain brown paper bags for wrapping cookies.

Mini Bunt cakes are precious wrapped in cheesecloth
and accented with a sprig of holly or mistletoe.

What an incredibly cute idea - gifting
cookies in a vintage muffin tin:

A crafty touch makes disposable cups extra special:

Boring brown lunch bags?  Hardly!

Yes, the simplest treats from your kitchen are even more
enticing when wrapped with a little imagination.


  1. These are all so lovely! I really like the idea of giving items of food, lovingly prepared (or even bought!) and wrapped beautifully. We all have so much, it is nice to share something tangible instead of material. Happy Christmas! x

  2. I love them all, especially that cookie tree. It is too cute to eat.
    By the way, stop by my blog this week. I'm giving away a gorgeous scarf courtesy of Fresh Produce!

  3. To received a home created gift is always a wonderful treat. I love all the packaging....for me? It is always about the presentation!

  4. These would have been great when I was working. Fabulous and crafty ideas!