Here at Canadian Living, we strongly believe in giving gifts that are edible, so we've collected our favourite recipes for homemade goodies that any person on your holiday list will eat right up.
Of course, you can race around shopping for the gifts you typically buy your crew—wine, clothing, ornaments, candles, etc.—or you can save yourself the trouble and make them an original treat they're bound to love. After all, as the old axiom goes, food is the way to any man's (or woman's) heart.
Go for classic holiday bark, but try new variations like Xmas Explosion Cookie, Pomegranate, Pistachio, and Apricot, or Chai Ginger. Instead of buying a box of chocolates, whip up some homemade gourmet ones like White Chocolate Coconut Bonbons or Cookie Dough Bonbons. And if you have a brittle fan in the mix, make some Nut and Sesame Brittle or just Sesame Brittle.
A surefire gift idea for kids (well, and grownups, too)? A DIY Hot Chocolate Mix and S'mores Marshmallows. For the friend with a serious sweet tooth, go with Eggnog Fudge or Sponge Toffee. And for the cocktail connoisseur, they'll love our Ruby Cranberry Liqueur, Chocolate Hazelnut Liqueur, or Pickled Cranberry Preserves.
Flip through the slideshow to check out all of the recipes to our favourite homemade gifts from the kitchen.
This hot chocolate kit makes a cosy, heart-warming wintertime gift.
Get the recipe: DIY Hot Chocolate Mix
Loaded with chocolate candies, white chocolate and festive sprinkles, these crispy bark-like cookies are bursting with holiday cheer.
Get the recipe: Xmas Explosion Cookie Bark
This treat tastes like a cross between traditional peanut brittle and sesame crisps.
Get the recipe: Nut and Sesame Brittle
Ruby-red pomegranate seeds add the perfect amount of tang to this sweet and salty dark chocolate bark.
Get the recipe: Pomegranate, Pistachio and Apricot Bark
Fragrant chai tea spices are mixed with creamy milk chocolate and swirled with rich dark chocolate in this ginger-studded treat.
Get the recipe: Chai Ginger Bark
This is the kind of treat that's ideal for displaying at holiday parties, as they're beautiful and bite-size—perfect for guests to grab.
Get the recipe: White Chocolate and Coconut Bonbons
It's tempting to sneak a taste of dough while making cookies—and while we don't encourage that, these bonbons are egg-free, making them A-OK to eat raw.
Get the recipe: Cookie Dough Bonbons
It takes just five simple ingredients to create this crunchy confection from our Holiday Celebrations 2009 special issue.
Get the recipe: Sponge Toffee
Fresh nutmeg and a splash of rum extract give this simple treat a seasonal twist. For the best flavour, use good-quality white chocolate.
Get the recipe: Eggnog Fudge
This homemade take on sesame snaps is crunchy, sweet and nutty.
Get the recipe: Sesame Brittle
The warmth of the marshmallows melts the chocolate chips into gooey perfection, giving them a campfire taste and texture.
Get the recipe: S'mores Marshmallows
Flavoured with sweet-tart cranberries and zesty orange, this festive ruby liqueur is the perfect gift for holiday hosts.
Get the recipe: Ruby Cranberry Liqueur
Ideal for coffee lovers, this sweet and nutty nectar is a welcome top-up for after-dinner espresso and lattes.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Liqueur
These tart, lightly spiced berries are a vibrant addition to cheese platters, and a spoonful can also be used as a stand-in for cranberry sauce.
Get the recipe: Pickled Cranberry Preserves
Salt and Pepper Steak Rub <br /> Photography by Ryan Brook Image by: Salt and Pepper Steak Rub <br /> Photography by Ryan Brook
©iStockphoto.com/gpointstudio Image by: ©iStockphoto.com/gpointstudio
We spoke (and ate) with one of Canada’s favourite celebrity chefs, cookbook authors and restaurateurs about eggs and one of this season’s biggest trends in holiday entertaining.
Turns out, even top notch celebrity chef (and new mom!) Lynn Crawford is looking for new ways to celebrate with friends and pull out the entertaining stops and still find time to cook her signature dishes—all without going crazy. The solution? Brunch. This beloved morning meal might just be the new cocktail party for entertaining this holiday season.
“Making brunch doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Crawford. Given the trend of simplifying and streamlining, it makes sense that some of our cooking and entertaining styles shift from night to day. Hosting or going to brunch “doesn’t eat into your day,” says Crawford, and it still gives both parties those extra pre-party hours everyone covets. If you’re cooking brunch at home, Lynn advises to pick dishes that can easily be made ahead of time or whipped up quickly, like her Spicy Chorizo and Tomato Frittata with Pepper Jack Cheese, which she had breezily mixed together moments before we arrived for this interview.
Since we’re all looking to trim budgets, brunch is an affordable option that doesn’t skimp on flavour or fun—since it’s a shorter window of time, you tend to eat and drink way less. But, that doesn’t mean the menu will be boring, and don’t worry, there’s plenty of room for cocktails, too! Brunch is a moveable feast and can be as intimate or jam-packed as you want. Lynn recommends starting sometime after 11:00 A.M. but cautions that brunch isn’t something you should ever have to set an alarm for.
Try Lynn’s make-ahead frittata:
Preparing this delicious frittata during the holidays has become a Crawford Christmas tradition. It is a perfect dish for brunch, lunch, dinner or even a late night snack on cold snowy nights. Frittatas can easily be made ahead of time, saving you from spending the whole night in the kitchen. Plus, they’re great to make for a potluck dinner—this recipe will feed a crowd and the dish is easily transportable.
SPICY CHORIZO & TOMATO FRITTATA WITH PEPPER JACK CHEESE
8 large eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, finely diced
2 chorizo sausage, casings removed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ cup pepper Jack cheese, grated
¼ cup parsley and cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 375*F. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and cream together and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic, onion, peppers and chorizo. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the onion and peppers are soft and the chorizo is completely cooked thru. Add the eggs and tomatoes and stir together. Sprinkle the cheese on top and place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until egg has set and cheese has melted. Top with cilantro and parsley leaves.