Edible Holiday Gifts To Make

Looking for ideas for presents that show you care? Edible Christmas gifts to make in advance are the perfect solution this holiday season.

If all you want for Christmas is to never hear that song again, you’ll be wanting to avoid the mall this holiday season. But what about gifts, we hear you cry. Turn to your kitchen for inspo this year, and craft a present to give your loved ones. We’re talking edible Christmas gifts.  Like rum balls. Chutney. Cheesy shortbread. Candied peel. Who isn’t into a present that’s taken time, talent and thought to create? 

And look. If you’re already planning to give bigger ticket items than a batch of chocolate bark, you’ll still want to be across our recipes for sensational homemade treats. Because you can niftily combine them with something store-bought and still get the kudos for making supreme effort to personalise your gifts. Everyone will think you’re The Best. Which you are. So get busy cooking, and get gifting.

1. Parmesan-Fennel Shortbread

Makes about 10 pieces

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line the base of a 20cm (8 inch) non-stick springform pan with baking paper. Combine 160g (5¾ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour and 115g (4 oz) chilled, chopped butter in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in 90g (3¼ oz) finely grated parmesan, 1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar, 2 tsp chopped rosemary, 1½ tsp each fennel seeds and coarsely ground black pepper and 1 tsp salt. Firmly press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Brush the top with beaten egg yolk, then sprinkle with some extra rosemary leaves and sea salt flakes. Bake for 30 minutes or until light golden. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then use a sharp knife to mark 10 strips or wedges, without cutting all the way through. Cool. To serve, use a sharp serrated knife to cut. 

How far ahead can I make these?
Up to 1 day.

Any nifty presentation ideas?
Why not throw a new chopping board into the gift-y deal and put your shortbread on that? This is quite a crumbly bake so loading it onto a sturdy board will take care of transportation issues. To wrap everything, just enclose loosely in plenty of clear cellophane, securing it at the top with ribbon or string.

Who would love these
Who wouldn’t? Honestly. 

2. Cherry Rum Truffles

Makes about 40

Soak ½ cup finely chopped raisins in 50ml (1¾ fl oz) rum for 20 minutes. Line a large tray with baking paper. Finely crush 266g (9½ oz) dark chocolate biscuits in a food processor. Combine in a large bowl with 60g (2¼ oz) Dutch cocoa, 80g (2¾ oz) almond meal and 100g (3½ oz) desiccated coconut, then stir in the undrained raisins and 1 x 395g (13¾ oz) can sweetened condensed milk. Mix well; you might need to use your hands. Take a scant tablespoon of the mixture, press a glacé cherry into the centre, then roll into a ball about the size of a small walnut. Place on the lined tray. Refrigerate for an hour or so to firm. 

Either dust the balls with extra Dutch cocoa, or melt 275g (9¾ oz) dark chocolate, cool to room temperature and dip each ball in. Allow excess to drain off, place on the lined tray and refrigerate until firm. 

How far ahead can I make these?
2-3 days. Keep the rum balls refrigerated in a single layer in an airtight container. And keep your hands off them. You’re gifting, remember?

Any nifty presentation ideas?
Yes. Defo. Gift them on a fabulous platter; they’ll look sensational. Otherwise, these look super cute in small paper confectionary cups, arranged in a lovely box in a single layer. 

Who would love these?
Everyone with a pulse. Also anyone who needs to keep kids happy. On that score, you can use orange juice instead of rum to make them alcohol-free. 

3. Candied Grapefruit Peel

Makes about 60 pieces

Cut 3 grapefruits in half widthways, then squeeze the juice and use for another purpose (like drinking!). Scoop out all the flesh and membrane using a teaspoon. Cut the shells into wedges or strips about 1cm (½ inch) wide. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the peel, then boil for 5 minutes. Drain. Repeat this process two more times, using fresh boiling water each time. Combine the peel in the pan with 2½ cups each caster (superfine) sugar and water. Bring to a simmer, then cook over medium-low heat for 1½ hours or until the liquid is syrupy and the peels are tender and a little translucent. Drain well, reserving the syrup for another use (like in cocktails!). Place the peels in a single layer on a wire rack to dry for 8 hours or overnight. Dredge the peels in caster (superfine) sugar to coat well, then return to the rack to dry for 6-8 hours. Transfer to an airtight container. These will keep for up to one week. 

How far ahead can I make this?
Up to 3-4 days. You might have to toss them in sugar again before gifting if it softens. Keep in an airtight container, scattered with a little extra sugar, for storing.

Any nifty presentation ideas?
Pile these into beautiful glassware or into a fabulous bowl as part of a larger present scenario. Then, enclose everything in cellophane.

Who would love this?
Anyone except kids, most likely. The candied peels have a lovely bitter edge which we don’t reckon they’ll love. But hey. Prove us wrong. 

4. Salted Seed Chocolate Bark

Makes about 30 pieces

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Spread ½ cup seed mix (sunflower seeds, pepitas and pine nuts), ¼ cup hemp or chia seeds and 1 tbsp sesame seeds over a baking tray, then toast for 5-6 minutes or until light golden. Cool. Meanwhile, melt 360g (12¾ oz) dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave. Cool. Line a large oven tray with baking paper, pour on the chocolate, then use a spatula to spread it to a rectangle about 35 x 26cm (14 x 10½ inches). Scatter over the seed mixture and 1-2 tsp sea salt flakes, then refrigerate until firm. Use your hands to break it into pieces. Store the bark in an airtight container in the refrigerate to keep it cool.

How far ahead can I make this?
The day before. Make sure your bark is nice and chilled for transportation. 

Any nifty presentation ideas?
Standing upright in a tissue-lined box would work as an overall strategy but you could also gift them piled into coffee mugs or small dip bowls you’re giving. To wrap? You know the drill. Cellophane bunched around, secured with ribbon.

Who would love this?
Chocoholics, clearly. So use great chocolate and don’t skimp – a dark 70% one will do the trick nicely.

5. Cherry and Plum Chutney

Makes about 4 cups

Stone 500g (1lb 2oz) cherries. Stone and roughly chop 1kg (2lb 4oz) purple-fleshed plums. Combine the fruit in a large saucepan with 1 finely chopped onion, 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar, ⅔ cup red wine vinegar, ½ cup dried cherries or raisins, the finely grated zest of an orange, 3 star anise and 1 cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 1½ hours or until reduced and thickened. Spoon into hot sterilised jars and seal. Stand for 2 weeks before using. 

How far ahead can I make this? 
2 weeks in advance so your recipients can use it straight away. But you could make it up to a month or so in advance.

Any nifty presentation ideas?
Buy some lovely jars (the recipe will fit four 250 ml-capacity, or two 500ml-capacity ones) and write the recipe name on a tag tied around the top, secured with string or ribbon. Include a few serving tips. Get a lovely canvas bag to pop it in, along with a beautiful ripe soft-rind cheese and some luxe-y crackers.

Who would love this?
Lovers of ham, cheese and mighty fine accompaniments everywhere.