My 20 favorite edible gifts (Recipe: Maple Spice Candied Nuts)

Today we interrupt our Home for the Holidays week of giveaways to bring you some personal favorites. We the editors of the six SLM channels are dishing on everything we love about Christmas – songs, books, handmade gifts and more.

It’s probably no surprise that I love to bake, package, and give away edible gifts, and so in this post I’m highlighting a handful of my favorites for your inspiration!

A slender jar of preserves, capped with a pretty round of festive fabric; a tin of rich shortbread, each cookie dipped in dark chocolate; a bag of spiced nuts, toasted to perfection – there’s no question that a lot of love and care goes into a handmade edible Christmas gift.

I’d far rather spend an extra hour or two in my kitchen making my gifts, than have to jostle for parking at the mall and waste time in long line-ups shopping for them. I can crank up the tunes (currently loving A Very She & Him Christmas), stay in my flannel PJ’s, and even enjoy a holiday Cookies & Cream cocktail while I bake.

Sound ideal? Well, here are 20 ideas to get you started on your edible gifts. Choose one or two, round up your ingredients, a few packaging items (plenty more ideas here) and have fun!

Cookies

1. Pumpkin Spice Snaps ~ No one will know these cookies vary on the healthy side of the spectrum. They stay soft for days, thanks to the pumpkin puree.

2. Brown Sugar Molded Cookies ~ Whether you’re baking molded butter cookies, springerle, shortbread, or speculaas, using a mold will help you to make memorable, beautiful cookies, with almost no extra effort.

3. Jam Shortbread Thumbprints  ~ My personal favorite holiday cookie, the shortbread, is dressed up with a dot of homemade jam.

4. Sparking Snickerdoodles :: Bluebonnets & Brownies ~ Amber suggests using red or green sparking sugar for making these pretty cinnamon-spiced cookies all the more festive.

5. Cardinal Gingerbread Cookies :: Sweetopia ~ If you know your way around a decorated cookie, I can’t think of any more beautiful – or festive – than these cheery red cardinals from Marian.


Photo by Shaina

6. Gingerbread Cookie Mix in a Jar :: Food for My Family ~ A creative variation to the holiday cookie, with an adorable presentation, too. You can get many more ideas for edible gifts from Shaina’s cookbook, Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine.

Breakfast

7. Pumpkin Spice Granola with Toasted Pepitas ~ Our current favorite granola recipe will be bagged up and handed out to Noah’s teachers this year. Store it in the freezer if you wish to make it ahead of time.

Photo by Katie

8. Homemade Pancake Mix Jars :: Goodlife Eats ~ Katie’s handy breakfast mix, not to mention her pretty presentation, is sure to to brighten up your loved one’s morning.

9. Cranberry Orange Scone Mix in a Jar :: Food in Jars ~ Marisa is definitely onto something good with this scone mix to give away. I love her variations with dried blueberries as well.

Preserves & Spreads

Photo by Tidy Mom

10. Homemade Vanilla Extract :: Tidy Mom ~ This luxurious gift for the avid baker comes with very little effort on your part once the ingredients are procured.

11. Pink Grapefruit & Pomegranate Marmalade ~ A Christmasy, jewel-colored jelly with threads of citrus rind suspended throughout that offers both a delightful texture and hint of bitterness.

12. Cranberry Pear Conserve with Ginger ~ You can still find pears and cranberries in the markets and this beautiful conserve is well worth sourcing them and turning out a dozen or so festive gifts.

13. Spiced Apple Preserves ~ A dense, sweet, highly spiced apple preserve, perfect for topping waffles at a holiday brunch.

Drinks

Photo by Jamie

14. Hot Cocoa Mix In A Jar :: My Baking Addiction ~ Jamie’s photo kind of says it all, right? An adorable, thoughtful, and downright decadent gift, especially when paired with her homemade marshmallows!

Candy & Snacks


Photo by Cheri

15. Dark Chocolate Rum Truffles  ~ Homemade chocolates are a perfect gift to make because not only do they store well in the freezer (if someone is already overloaded with goodies) but they are extremely easy to make and do not require a candy thermometer.

16. Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Bark ~ If you want something that’s easy to do with kids and doesn’t make a mess, this is your golden ticket. All you do is melt, mix, spread and chill. Done!

17. Chocolate Swirl Cinnamon Marshmallows :: Food 52 ~ These are a little more complicated that the two recipes above, but, my goodness, they are so good, it’s difficult to give any away.


Photo by Tracy
18. White Chocolate Peppermint Dipped Pretzels :: Shutterbean ~ Leave it to Tracy for a super smart, last-minute gift idea. I love her packaging, too.

19. Golden Candied Vanilla Popcorn :: Family Bites ~ Jan’s the party girl. You have to check out her pretty painted popcorn.

20. Maple Spice Candied Nuts ~ I’m including the recipe for these easy toasted nuts that are sweetened with maple syrup and spiced with festive flavors such as cinnamon and nutmeg. You can package them in a cellophane bag or a cute little jar, just be sure that they stay airtight.

Maple Spice Candied Nuts for Gifts
5.0 from 6 reviews
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Recipe type: Snack
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 12
Perfect for gifting, these toasted nuts get a sweet coasting from maple syrup with a hint of cinnamon spice. Adapted from Melissa Clark's recipe for Sweet & Spicy Candied Nuts. This recipe makes a large batch for gifting and yields enough for a dozen modest bags.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds raw mixed nuts, unsalted,
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small sauce pot over medium heat, whisk together maple syrup and cane sugar until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne and cloves and whisk until well combined.
  4. Add maple syrup mixture to the egg white and whisk until combined. Add the nuts and stir the mixture until the nuts are well coated.
  5. Divide the nuts between the two baking pans and spread them into a single layer. Pour any leftover maple syrup over the top of the nuts.
  6. Bake, tossing the nuts every 10 minutes or so, until the maple syrup has evaporated and the nuts are only slightly sticky. Do not let them burn.
  7. Remove from oven and stir well. Allow to cool, and stir again, breaking up the clusters, if desired. Store in an airtight container.

 

Are you making any edible gifts this holiday season?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. Love this round-up, the cranberry-orange scone mix in particular.

    I usually give out a variety of cookies, but like to add something special too. Last year I handed out jars of candy cane cocoa mix. This year I’ll probably give away a bunch of blueberry-lime jam. I ended up with a gazillion jars of the stuff after going overboard at the blueberry farm this summer. And now, maybe a scone mix to go along with ‘em! Thanks for the inspiration.
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty’s last post: Nutella Mudslides

  2. Aimee, thanks for sharing my cardinal cookies! Love this round up and am looking forward to trying out some new ideas – thanks! xo
    Marian (Sweetopia)’s last post: Holly Decorated Cookies & The TomKat Studio’s Holiday Gift Guide

    • We have a pair of cardinals that show up and sing every day at the feeder. My holiday decorating *might* have a slight cardinal theme because of them, and so your cookies were extra adorable in my eyes. =)

      Thanks for sharing my round-up with your readers. xo

  3. Tasha Lydom says:

    Wow! Thanks for the list

  4. That photo looks like it should be on the cover of a magazine or a book! Love it, Aimee! And this list? Wonderful!
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch’s last post: Pork Roast Recipe

  5. elizabeth F. says:

    Thanks for the list! I look forward to making some this year.

  6. After a few years feeling a little Scroogey, I think I’m ready to get back into the holiday treats game. I usually like to throw a little savory shortbread in with the chocolate and candies – but then, I can’t stay away from cheese and garlic!
    Casey@Good. Food. Stories.’s last post: 5-Ingredient Caramels and 24 More Holiday Dessert Ideas

  7. I love all these ideas, Aimee! I’m going to make these nuts for my Cookies & Cocktails party next weekend. :)
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup Ambassador: Café Escapes

  8. What a great recipe roundup! I hadn’t even considered giving homemade vanilla…I already have quarts (and quarts) of it in my cabinet! Thanks for all the gift-giving inspiration!
    Jeni’s last post: How to Feature Your Most Pinterest-Worthy Posts in Your Sidebar

  9. I completely agree with you! I would rather bake than fight the crowds! One year, since my birthday is in December, I told my family that all I wanted to do on my birthday was to spend the whole day baking. Itwas a fun way to spend my day, and I was able to share my baked treats with others! :)
    Yvonne’s last post: Snowflake Window Decoration Tutorial

  10. I totally agree with spending more time at home and less time shopping! I did most of my x-mas shopping online + homemade gifts this year. Love the idea of giving mixes

  11. This is an amazing list! I’m planning on giving homemade treats to several friends and family members this year and you just made my job a whole lot easier. Thanks for sharing!
    Sara’s last post: If you give a girl a pancake ~ Wordless Wednesday

  12. My favorite food gift is a collection of…Cranberry Butter, Pumpkin Butter, and Dulce de Leche. All 3 are quick and easy, and the last two are made in the Crockpot. I collect small jars all though the year, I like the half cup size best. But in a pinch, I’ll use disposable plastic containers like Glad or Ziploc. In a perfect world I like to include homemade yeast rolls or scones, but I don’t feel bad it I only include the condiments!

  13. I just had loads of fun perusing all these recipes and found many I’ll be trying! Thanks for the recommendations!!
    Kerry @ Made For Real’s last post: Clean & Scentsible {Day 4}

  14. Thanks for the great list, Aimee! I shared a snippet on my last blog post and linked back here. I love your wonderful ideas!
    Treena’s last post: Listen…

  15. Thank you so much for including my popcorn!

    I think we may have talked about this, but I’m giving out tins of caramel popcorn this year to the teachers, coaches, neighbours, Aunts/Uncles etc. I desperately want to make your nuts though…only I want to keep them for myself – ha!

  16. Great roundup! Great minds really do think alike. :) I simply must try those Maple Spiced Candied Nuts ASAP. They sound right up my alley.
    Cheri’s last post: 23 Homemade Edible Gifts

  17. My biggest sellers for the holiday season so far are these amaaazing Cinnamon Roll Cookie Bars
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/102738198/cinnamon-roll-cookie-bars-butter-brown

    and my Butterscotch Blondies
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/98323247/butterscotch-blondies-gooey-chewy-salted
    Gena@BakeAllTheThings!’s last post: An Update from the Bakery

  18. I will be gifting pear vanillajam, pear cinnamon jam, bread and butter pickles, and home canned tuna. Easier and more fun than shopping!

  19. I give edible gifts to all our local friends. I have a variety of recipes I use from the book Party Nuts. I love the idea of spicy maple nuts, I’m going to make a trial batch this weekend! Thank you for this great round up!

  20. I’ve never sent edible gifts to others because of too busy at that time to prepare them. But I LOVE these ideas of these gifts!
    Maybe I should plan to do them next year for my family and close friends.

  21. It really is difficult choosing gifts for family, friends and colleagues during Christmas season and next year, i’ll give them edible gifts instead. Well, that Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Bark seems easy to prepare. What brand of dark chocolate did you use?
    Chico Food Lover’s last post: Happy days! Chico Crush Extends Happy Hours

  22. Do you know where the jars pictured (not the regular canning jars) can be purchased? Love them!

  23. This is sheer magic in hands :)
    If I will ever think about personalizing a gift, I would rather go with packing some raw nuts simply because I wont be able to trust myself with the above recipes. I mean just look t then they look stunning. { Yum Pink Grapefruit & Pomegranate Marmalade :* }
    Thanks for sharing this wisdom, it is a visual delight.

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