If you're strapped for time as the holidays approach, there's no need to visit the mall to get your last-minute gifts. Baked goods make a wonderful present for just about everyone on your list. Use these four tips to make your famous apple pie or white chocolate brownies into the perfect holiday gift.
1. Plan your timing
The trickiest part about gifting food is that your present has an expiration date. If you're planning to give away cookies or bread, you'll want to make it just a few days before you hand out presents. Other food items like candy or preserves will last longer, but it's always a good idea to label each product with the date you made it.
2. Think outside the box
Don't limit yourself to traditional holiday goodies when you're planning gifts. There are lots of edible options that people will love, even if they're not directly related to the season. Today's Parent recommended gifting homemade chocolate sauce, crackers or even special popcorn. Peruse your favorite cookbook for a little bit of inspiration, and don't be afraid to take a risk.
3. Label any allergens
For safety's sake, it's best to label your baked good clearly and note any allergens. You can print fun templates off the Internet, then write personal messages to your recipients. Be sure to mention if the food contains nuts or soy, just in case.
4. Get creative with packaging
You can give your gift a little extra flair by using festive packaging. Don't be afraid to think outside the box. A stack of cookies will often fit perfectly inside a spaghetti container or mason jar. You can wrap the container in your favorite paper or simply adorn it with a bow. Freshly baked bread can easily be wrapped in parchment paper and tied with festive ribbons.
Easy peppermint fudge
If you're strapped for time and need a quick gift for your friends at the retirement community, this recipe ought to do the trick. These delicious pieces of fudge require just four ingredients and take only five minutes to prepare.
- 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
- 10 red and white peppermint candies
- Cooking spray
Line an 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, then coat with a layer of cooking spray. Place the peppermint candies into a sealed plastic bag, then cover with a cloth. Use a rolling pin or other heavy object to crush the candies into small pieces. Set them aside. In a medium sauce pan over low heat, combine the chocolate chips and condensed milk. Stir the mixture until it's melted and smooth. Remove from heat and immediately spread the chocolate mixture into prepared dish. Smooth the surface of your fudge, then sprinkle the crushed candies on top. Press the peppermint pieces into the surface, then cover the dish with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for two hours. When you're ready to cut the fudge, pull the foil from the dish and cut the chocolate into squares.