Gift Guide: Home Made Treats

  • by Joel Martens
  • Monday December 7, 2015
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Nothing says Christmas better than something homemade. Last year I put together a collection of gifts that you could make yourself and give to those on your holiday lists. Last year's selections were so popular, we decided to do it again.

These tasty home recipes are easy to put together, are easy to execute for your recipients and it means you took the time to compile them with your own two hands. Though some may not be the "most-handy" in the kitchen, these treats are as simple as can be and will mean the world to your recipient's tastebuds.

Take a few hours and whip them together. You are sure to be a hit!


Total time: 5 minutes (Plus 1 week for infusing)

Ingredients: 1 liter vodka

Flavors: It can be anything such as 11/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks, 4 vanilla beans, or 3 halved and seeded jalape�os. I've done this with lemons, limes and oranges for a delicious citrus blast, blueberries make for a beautiful blue hue with a decided kick! I've even seen them done with Skittles...

Instructions: Divide the vodka and desired flavorings among attractive airtight glass bottles. Refrigerate until the vodka reaches the desired level of infusion, at least three days and up to one week. Remove the flavorings after

1 week or instruct the recipient to do so. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 months.


Makes: 4 cups
Total time: 10 minutes

2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate

Combine the cocoa, sugar and chocolate. Store in an airtight container. Will keep at room temperature for up to 4 months.

Package in a handsome airtight container with handwritten instructions:"In a small saucepan, whisk 1/4 cup cocoa mix with 3/4 cup milk. Bring to a bare simmer.


Total time: 5 minutes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice,
ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg or ground cardamom
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup whole bran cereal (not flakes)
1/3 cup dried cranberries, mixed, dried fruit bits or raisins
1/3 cup chopped pecans or sliced almonds
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Layer flour, brown sugar, bran (not flakes), cranberries, pecans and spices into large glass jar with a clip or screw lid. Do so that the ingredients sit in layers and then seal the jar. Pack in a gift bag or box with the sprinkles and cupcake paper cups --include a handy silicone spatula for that little bit "extra."

Hand write a label with the following instructions: 'In a large bowl, combine 1 egg, lightly beaten; 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir in jar contents until just combined. Spoon batter into cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups. Serve warm. Makes 12 muffins."


Total time: 5 minutes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 7-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut (2 2/3 cups)
3/4 cup pecans (chopped)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugars, and salt. Mix in the coconut and pecans. Keep at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Package in a resealable, airtight bag and include the following baking instructions: "Heat oven to 350� Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 large eggs and 3/4 cup canola oil. Add the muffin mix and stir just until combined. Divide among the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin lined with paper liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 12 muffins."

Total time: 5 minutes
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar (tightly packed)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Layer the cookie ingredients in the same order as listed above in a one-quart wide-mouthed mason jar and press each layer firmly before adding the next layer.

Package the following instruction card with your gift: "Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheets. In a medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir in the entire contents of the jar. (It's supposed to be thick!) Shape into walnut-sized balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!


Time: 10 minutes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped dried apples
3 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon baking powder
4 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix the ingredients well and pour into a one-quart wide-mouthed mason jar and press each layer firmly before adding the next layer.

Package the following instruction card with your gift: "Add 1 egg, slightly beaten, 1/2 cup cold milk and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and cook for 1 1/2 minutes on a hot grill, or until the top begins to bubble and the edges are dry and slightly brown, flipping once."


Makes 1 1/3 cups

Time: 10 minutes


3/4 cup dried basil
1/4 cup dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons fennel seeds (o
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper


1/3 cup mustard powder
1/3 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup celery seeds
3 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1/2 cup paprika
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons ground coffee
4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper

Combine the ingredient mixes and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.

Instructions to include with your gift: "Up to 2 hours before cooking, coat 2 pounds of chicken, beef, pork or seafood with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with 2 to 4 tablespoons of the rub. Cook as desired."

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