Homemade Holiday Treats with a Twist

Going the do-it-yourself route this year? Think outside the cookie tin and surprise your loved ones with these updated holiday treats that go beyond cookies, chocolate bark and other traditional food gifts.
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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The Case for DIY

Every year, countless retailers roll out newfangled holiday food gifts — chocolates, candies, baking mixes, all festively packaged but at a pretty steep price. No one knows your loved ones' taste preferences as well as you do, which is why you might want to do your holiday shopping in your own kitchen and pantry this year. From cinnamon-laced truffles to crunchy seeded crackers, these festive homemade food gifts are sure to hit the mark, no matter who you're baking for. If you get to stretch a dollar and skip the holiday shopping madness, consider it a bonus.

Sticky Toffee Mini Bundt Cakes

A miniature Bundt cake made with love is the perfect small gift for co-workers, teachers and those overworked delivery people who have spent the month bringing endless packages to your door. Put a single-serving cake in a tiny colorful cake box, or a whole cake in a large one, then tie up with lush ribbons.

Baklava Truffles

These no-bake delights are so easy to make even the kids can get involved. And they come together so quickly that you can make enough to feed the entire neighborhood in no time at all. Place each truffle in a miniature cupcake liner and tuck into a candy box or an antique tin.

Cranberry Vinegar

Filled with fresh cranberries, this gift looks like a bottle of delicate ornaments, and it will keep the spirit of the holidays alive well into the new year.

Everything Bagel Crispbreads

Inspired by every New Yorker's go-to bagel flavor, these crispbreads will make a wonderfully crunchy addition to your holiday host's cheese plate. They can be made up to two weeks ahead of gifting, and they look beautiful in a cellophane bag tied with a big red bow.

Kumquat Limoncello

For a unique spin on the perennially popular limoncello, replace the lemons with seasonal kumquats, a winter citrus fruit that packs a lot of flavor into a tiny package. For a gorgeous presentation, package it in clear glass bottles so the fruit can shine through.

Three Citrus Ponche de Creme (Trinidadian Coquito)

Every island in the West Indies puts its own spin on holiday milk punch. This eggless version of Trinidad's Ponche de Creme uses lemon curd to add additional creaminess — no refrigeration is needed.

Za'atar Puff Pastry Straws

Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that will immediately become one of your favorites after your first taste. Use it for this exciting twist on cheese straws, and gift it with a small Mason jar filled with a little extra homemade za'atar. It's insanely addictive.

Sugarplum Soda Syrup

This festive crimson syrup brings a ton of holiday cheer to a vodka martini. Tie a gift tag with serving instructions around the neck of the bottle, and maybe include another gift tag with a recipe for a grown-up drink.

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