Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cook Your Own Gifts: Guest Blogger Joseph Morris

Christmas is so close, I can smell it! (Literally, I did all the baking yesterday). If you're looking for a few last minute Christmas gift ideas, Joseph Morris (who runs a Culinery School link below), gives a list of things you can cook up! Thanks for posting!

Cook Your Own Christmas Gifts!

If you’re short on money this holiday season, why not try making your own Christmas gifts? I’m not talking about handmade cards, knit scarves, or mixed CDs, but food! Everyone loves food, especially when it’s homemade, so why not try one of these ideas this year?

1. Cookies – Christmas cookies are a holiday tradition that never gets old. Whether you bake a classic recipe that everyone loves, or find a unique recipe that no one’s tried before, there are countless options for making cookies as gifts. You can decorated them in a personalized way for each person you give them to, or bake special sugar-free or gluten-free recipes for those who don’t get to enjoy cookies as often due to health concerns.

2. Gingerbread – Gingerbread is another holiday classic that everyone loves. Aside from gingerbread men, gingerbread can be used to make cookies of any shape, breads, or even ornaments! If you’re feeling  ambitious, you might even try making a fabulous gingerbread house to
                                                       bring to a party as your gift to the hosts.

3. Truffles – The thought of chocolate truffles makes any chocoholic drool. There are a wide range of recipes to be found in cookbooks and online, from easy ones to complicated ones with different fillings and decorations. Whatever your level of cooking expertise may be, truffles are sure to be a luxurious treat and a great gift.

4. Candy – If you want to make something sweet that’s a little different from Christmas cookies, you could bake candy instead. There are a variety of candies to choose from, like caramel, fudge, peanut brittle, or peppermint. You can even put them in cute little packages!

5. Jelly, Chutney, or Relish – Nothing brings back thoughts of “the good ol’ days” like homemade jelly. Besides, it tastes much nicer than the processed stuff you find in the store! For something a little different, you could also try making fruit chutney or relish, especially for friends and family into gourmet foods.

6. Unbaked Cookie Kits – Here’s a unique idea that gives the gift of cookies and the fun of baking them! Layer the dry ingredients to a cookie recipe in a mason jar and include the recipe as a label or attached note. Usually ingredients like eggs, butter, and oil just need to be added to make the cookies. For a holiday touch, you could tie a cookie cutter to the jar as well.

7. Herb and Spice Blends – Another idea for a “recipe in a jar” is to make herb or spice blends. Mix together herbs or spices that could work as a dip with olive oil, an exotic seasoning, or a meat marinade. You might want to make one of your favorite blends, or look online for ideas.

8. Fruitcake – Yes, most people think of fruitcake as an unwanted Christmas gift. However, all it takes is a good recipe to change people’s minds! They can contain lots of interesting ingredients, from fruit to nuts and even chocolate. Bring back a holiday tradition that your friends and family will remember.

9. Bread or Crackers – Home-baked bread or crackers are a welcome gift from those who don’t like sweet things. You could even pair these with a little jar of homemade flavored butter, jam, or chutney.

10. Homemade Dinner Coupon – Even if you’re busy during the holiday season, you can still give the gift of cooking without putting a lot of time into it before Christmas. Give coupons promising the bearer a home-cooked meal made by you at their house. You might want to attach the coupon to a bottle of wine or a kitchen gadget. You could even offer to babysit kids back at your place after you cook the meal so that a couple can have a night to themselves.

This article was written by Joseph Morris, a longtime cooking enthusiast. He also owns the site Culinary Arts College for students interested in getting a degree in culinary arts.


Dora said...

I'm actually on my way to bake some cookies right now. There is nothink like fresh cookie smell in the kitchen :)

Teddi said...

joseph, you sre much more ambitious than i.