16 unique ideas for homemade holiday and hostess gifts, from spiced nuts to pickles to flavored liqueurs.
Great on anything from breakfast biscuits to turkey sandwiches, this fruity, tart spread makes the most of the season’s fresh cranberries.
Bite-size and buttery, cumin and cayenne-spiced pecans glazed in dark brown sugar are the perfect smoky, spicy-sweet snack. Get the recipe for Spiced Pecans »
Kira's Coffee Liqueur
This recipe for homemade coffee liqueur was developed by longtime Cafe Grumpy employee Kira Birney, who makes the drink each year around the holidays to share with friends and family. The liqueur infusion is ready after one month, but age tempers the sweetness and improves flavor. Use freshly roasted espresso for best results. See the recipe for Kira’s Coffee Liqueur »
Herbes de Provence
Packaged in tiny French canning jars, hand-mixed herbes de Provence make a wonderful gift for friends who love to cook. This recipe will fill one 4-oz container; multiply it by as many jars as you wish to give out. See the recipe for Herbes de Provence »
Sour Cherry Compote
This syrupy compote is perfect as a topping for ice cream, yogurt, and pound cake, or you can use the cherries as a garnish for a fancy whiskey sour. The recipe is written for a small batch, but quadrupled will yield enough compote to fill 6 half-pint jars. Unprocessed, the compote will keep refrigerated for two weeks, or you can opt to process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. See the recipe for Sour Cherry Compote »
For a cocktail lover, nothing beats fresh, homemade sour mix. A refrigerated bottle will keep for about two weeks—but we doubt it will last that long.
Even More Handmade Food Gifts
See 8 more recipes for edible gifts, developed by Marisa McClellan of [Food in Jars, including hand-chopped garlic salt, homemade vanilla extract, pickled cranberries, and boiled cider syrup. Get the recipes »
Candied Orange Peels
Candied orange peels add an element of surprise to a nicely-wrapped tin filled with the more typically-gifted homemade truffles, toffee, or fudge. See the recipe for Candied Orange Peels »
Spiced Red Wine Vinegar
If you plan to make this red wine vinegar from scratch, you’ll need to start this recipe at least a month in advance. For the short-cut version, decant your favorite vinegar into decorative bottles filled with the star anise, cinnamon sticks, orange zest, cloves, and allspice, and allow to sit for at least one week. See the recipe for Spiced Red Wine Vinegar
This gem of a recipe comes for Patty LaNoue Stern’s Cherry Home Companian, and couldn’t be easierall you need is time. Stern recommends letting the cherries macerate in brandy and sugar in your refrigerator for six weeks, but we’ve found they still taste delicious after only a few weeks or a month (just let your giftees know that flavor improves with age). The brandy-syrup can be enjoyed in tiny cordial glasses, as a garnish or layered in other cocktails, or as a topping for desserts. See the recipe for Brandied Cherries »
Lemon confit brightens a variety of dishes, from broiled fish to chicken with olives to any simple salad. This recipe makes enough to fill a pint-sized jar so multiply by as many jars as you wish to gift. Refrigerated, will keep for three weeks. See the recipe for Lemon Confit »
This cabbage kimchi, packed out in pint-size mason jars, makes a unique gift. Tie a tag around the jar lid with hand-written suggestions such as Kimchi Stew or Kimchi Pancakes, as well as a reminder to keep the kimchi refrigerated. See the recipe for Cabbage Kimchi»
Berbere Spice Blend
Berbere is a complex, tangy-hot chile blend central to Ethiopian cooking, used on everything from Kifto (Beef Tartare) to Misr Wot (Lentil Stew). If the recipients of your gift are familiar with Ethiopian food they will surely appreciate the trouble you went to to make it by hand, and if berbere is new to them they’ll appreciate being introduced to the delicious spice blend. Kept in airtight tins, will keep for six months. See the recipe for Berbere »
This jammy chutney gets a boost from chopped celery and tart apples. Double the recipe to yield six 8-oz jars, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Delicious with roasted meats or vegetables. See the recipe for Cranberry-Ginger Chutney »
Libby's Bread and Butter Pickles
Former SAVEUR kitchen intern Libby Redmond makes these pickles with her mother, Celia, at their home in Napier, New Zealand. Divide the pickles and brine among 8 oz jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. See the recipe for Libby’s Bread and Butter Pickles »