Enjoy the warmth and friendliness of your own home while your prepare presents you know will please.
Package these crunchy, 5-ingredient cookies in a gift box with a pound of your favorite coffee beans. Look for almond paste
on your supermarket's baking aisle, and for best results, don't substitute marzipan, which is sweeter and more finely texture,
in place of the paste.
View Recipe: Amaretti
For a whimsical presentation, arrange these cookies in a lunch box lined with colorful packing paper. Use a variety of cookie
cutter sizes to create “families.” If you don’t want to cut the dough into shapes, roll it into two logs, cover, chill, and
slice into 18-inch rounds. Refrigerate the dough up to three days, or freeze up to one month.
View Recipe: Gingerbread People
Spoon this sweet-savory jam into a pretty glass jar, and tie with a ribbon. You can also attach a rosemary sprig and a card
with serving suggestions―as an appetizer spread on baguette slices with goat cheese; as a chutney over chicken, beef, or pork;
or as the sauce for a pizza with shredded chicken, goat cheese, and chives.
View Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Jam
Rich shortbread is easy to prepare and keeps for several days in an airtight container. Softened butter should be pliable
but not easily spreadable. Because this mixture is already dark, it’s hard to tell when the shortbread browns. Check your
oven temperature using an oven thermometer, and bake just until the shortbread is set.
View Recipe: Chocolate Shortbread
To give as a gift, pour rice in a jar and top with dried mushrooms. Bundle the thyme and bay leaf in a cheese cloth sachet,
and place in a jar. Along with a copy of this recipe, you could also give a bottle of red wine like Barbera or pinot noir
or a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
View Recipe: Porcini Mushroom Risotto
You can also prepare these cakes in two (8 x 4–inch) loaf pans. Bake at 350 for one hour or until done.
View Recipe: Vanilla Buttermilk Pound Cakes
This Italian liqueur is good ice cold on its own, in a lemon drop martini, mixed with sparkling wine, or splashed over a bowl
of fresh fruit. Since it takes two weeks to infuse the bracing citrusy flavor into the vodka, start this gift early and decant
it into pretty sterilized glass bottles.
View Recipe: Limoncello
Drain yogurt of most of its liquid to create a soft spread similar to cream cheese. One cup of yogurt yields approximately
12 cup cheese. Serve with crackers, croutons, or baguette slices. If you’re planning to give this torte as a gift, layer the
cheese and herb mixture in a small glass container that can double as a serving dish.
View Recipe: Yogurt Cheese Torte
These are good as a snack or dropped into a mug of hot chocolate. The mixture for the marshmallows becomes quite thick and
requires substantial beating time, so you’ll want to use a heavy-duty stand mixer instead of a handheld mixer. Using a stand
mixer also makes it safer (and easier) to gradually add the hot gelatin mixture to the beaten egg whites. Use a dough scraper
to cut the marshmallows into squares with a quick vertical motion (avoid dragging it as you cut the marshmallows). If the
dough scraper sticks to the marshmallows, dust it with powdered sugar.
View Recipe: Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
As the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea, friends will savor this cranberry-studded quick bread. It’s made with antioxidant-rich
sweet potatoes and contains less fat than most tea breads. When served with a glass of milk, a slice also makes for a healthy
start to a busy day of holiday preparations. Wrap the loaf in holiday plastic wrap or brown paper; tie with raffia or a colorful
ribbon when presenting as a gift.
View Recipe: Cranberry-Sweet Potato Quick Bread
Made with whole-wheat flour, whole-grain oats, antioxidant-rich dried cherries, and dark chocolate, the healthful ingredients
in these cookies combine to make delicious treats for a lucky recipient. Place them in a see-through holiday gift bag and
then secure with a ribbon to keep airtight. Attach a recipe card so your friends can make the cookies as a snack to start
off a healthful new year.
View Recipe: Chocolate-Cherry Heart Smart Cookies
Restaurant bagels can weigh in at a hefty 350 to 400 calories; but these home-baked bagels, infused with the rich yeasty flavor
of beer, are a welcome breakfast treat at just 211 calories. To achieve the signature chewy texture, the bagels are boiled
and then baked in a simple process that will warm up your kitchen on a chilly afternoon. Package in a brown paper bag.
View Recipe: Bagels
The featured nuts in this recipe, almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts are packed with nutrients like protein, fiber, calcium,
vitamin E, riboflavin, and niacin. Antioxidant-rich warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves are sprinkled on the
nuts along with just a touch of honey. Pack them in airtight jars decorated with ribbons.
View Recipe: Indian-Spiced Roasted Nuts
When shopping for ingredients for this zippy snack mix, choose crunchy crackers and cereals made with whole grains. Make the
mix especially festive by adding dried cranberries. Allow your kids to help mix up the snack for friends and teachers by scooping
into holiday plastic bags and tying with string.
View Recipe: Crisp and Spicy Snack Mix
Stirring fruit into jam is simple and, when packaged in pretty jars, is a welcome holiday gift. Place the ribbon-decorated
jars in a basket and include a note that the jam should be refrigerated. Also include some healthy serving suggestions such
as stirring into Greek yogurt, spreading on whole-wheat pancakes, or melt and pour over a fruit tart.
View Recipe: Raspberry-Almond Jam
Better than the colossal tins of sodium-heavy popcorn, this sweet and spicy treat from your kitchen is packed with the goodness
of whole grains. Scoop this snack into individual airtight tins and top with a festive bow.
View Recipe: Maple Chile Popcorn
Amongst all the sweets and treats of the holidays, these spicy pickled green beans, pearl onions, jalapeño peppers, and carrots
will be an appreciated refresher. The crunchy pickles are delicious with nachos, so place jars in a basket with baked tortilla
chips and a jar of salsa (and a note that the pickles should be refrigerated).
View Recipe: Spicy Pickled Vegetables
A pretty jar of colored beans (and barley) is the gift of time in a bottle. After all, what’s more welcome than helping your
friends out with a healthy dinner in a hurry during the busy holiday time? Beans, such as kidney beans, pinto beans, navy
beans, and black beans, are naturally low in fat, provide protein, calcium, iron, folic acid, potassium, and contain even
more fiber than many whole-grain foods. Write the simple soup preparation instructions on card stock and attach with a ribbon;
you could also include a few of the soup spices in zip-top plastic bags.
View Recipe: Bean and Barley Soup
Cooking up a batch of this gorgeous, creamy curd will definitely bring some brightness into the life of anyone who receives
it. It's thick and smooth like a cream, but tart and low in fat. It begs to be spooned over rustic whole-grain bread and is
delectable swirled into Greek yogurt or oatmeal.
View Recipe: Cranberry Curd
Follow these tips to ensure your goodies arrive intact:
• Cool off. Allow any baked goods to cool completely before packaging to prevent moisture from condensing inside the package.
• Wrap for freshness. Wrap quick breads or cakes in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, and seal inside a zip-top plastic bag. Keep quick breads, brownies, or bar cookies in the pan they baked in, and wrap with plastic wrap and foil; if you can, seal the pan inside a zip-top plastic bag. Place cookies or spiced nuts directly into a zip-top plastic bag.
• Cushion the food. Place food into one container (a zip-top plastic bag or metal tin lined with tissue paper, for example), and place inside a larger box lined on all sides with crumpled tissue paper, bubble wrap, or other packaging material.