Top picks for homemade holiday food gifts

My favorite part of this time of year is thinking about and making homemade treats for my friends and family. A gift that a friend makes with great care and thought says “hey, you are special,” as I can attest to, having just received these beautiful handknit cashmere socks.

Since you can’t touch them, I will tell you that they are as sumptuous as petting the world’s softest cat and are made from Ellie’s reclaimed cashmere. After having met Ellie and seeing a huge display of her yarns spun from recycled sweaters into gorgeous and subtle color combinations, and having spent many hours knitting a lone sock, I appreciate these socks even more.

But since there isn’t enough time to make socks for all your loved ones, here are my picks for thoughtful gifts you can make at home. You don’t need to be a culinary superstar, spend much on ingredients, or sweat hours in the kitchen to make these homemade food gifts.

Dinner with friends’ picks for homemade holiday food gifts:

Chocolate balsamic vinegar: a tall bottle of this and a small container of vanilla ice cream for the dessert lover
Crispy spice-brined pecans: a great gift for health conscious and vegan folks
Flavored salts: easy and inexpensive recipes for curry salt, citrus salt, and many others, along with suggestions on how to use the salts
Homemade vanilla extract: for the dessert maker; includes a recipe and lovely ideas for packaging
Limoncello: better than storebought, but start soon because it’s best if you make it 2 weeks before sharing with friends
Olive biscuit cookies: a nicely packaged bag of these and a jar of olives for the savory, salty person in your life
Pickled red chili peppers: a sassy gift for friends who like it hot
Salted butter caramels: yes, you can buy a cheap box of salted caramels at Trade Joes, but these are the real deal and worth every minute you spend gently stirring and watching the thermometer
Tequilla sunrise holiday bark: a fresh take on a holiday classic, and pretty, too

So, if you are dreading trudging through the mall looking for a shiny something that someone didn’t know they wanted, suggest to your friends and family that you exchange small gifts, preferably homemade. I bet that most of the time, your friends and family will appreciate buying less stuff and getting creative instead.

Cooper, the world's softest cat, and my new cashmere socks

What are some of your favorite holiday homemade food gifts?

Coming soon, one of my favorite granola recipes.


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