50 Edible Gifts
Make something tasty for everyone on your list.
1. Chocolate Fudge Melt 1/2 stick butter, 4 cups marshmallows, 1 cup cream, 2 cups sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Simmer, stirring, 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 3 cups chocolate chips until smooth. Spread in a foil-lined 9-by-13-inch pan. Let cool and cut into squares.
2. White Chocolate Fudge Make Chocolate Fudge (No. 1), replacing the chocolate chips with white chocolate chips. Spread in the prepared pan and top with sprinkles. Let cool; cut into squares.
3. Peanut Butter Fudge Melt 2 sticks butter in a saucepan with 1 cup creamy peanut butter. Off the heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and a sifted 1-pound box confectioners’ sugar. Spread in a foil-lined 8-inch-square pan. Press 1/2 cup chopped peanuts on top. Chill until firm and cut into squares.
4. Chocolate Truffles Bring 1 cup cream and 1/2 stick butter to a boil in a saucepan; pour over 1 pound finely chopped chocolate in a bowl. When melted, add 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir until smooth. Chill until firm. Scoop with a spoon and roll into balls, then roll in crushed peppermint candies, chopped nuts or cocoa powder. Chill.
5. Earl Grey Truffles Make Chocolate Truffles (No. 4), steeping 1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves in the hot cream mixture, 5 minutes. Strain, then pour over the chocolate. Roll the truffles in cocoa powder.
6. Mexican Truffles Make Chocolate Truffles (No. 4) without the vanilla; stir 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon each ancho chile powder and almond extract, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper into the melted chocolate. Roll the truffles in chopped toasted almonds.
7. Coconut-Almond Truffles Combine 3/4 cup almond butter, 1/2 cup each confectioners’ sugar and unsweetened shredded coconut, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; work into a dough. Roll into balls, then roll in shredded coconut. Chill.
8. Pistachio-Cherry Buttons Melt 1/2 cup white chocolate chips with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave. Spoon onto an oiled parchment paper–lined baking sheet to form circles. Let cool slightly, then top with pistachios and dried cherries. Let harden.
9. Chocolate-Raspberry Sauce Simmer 1 cup water, 1/2 cup each sugar and cocoa powder, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the chocolate melts. Let cool, then stir in 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur. Divide among jars and chill.
10. Chocolate Haystacks Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in the microwave. Stir in 2 1/2 cups chow mein noodles until coated. Drop spoonfuls on an oiled parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Let harden.
11. Candied Grapefruit Peels Peel 2 grapefruits. Cut the rind into strips and boil in water 1 minute, then drain; repeat 4 times, using fresh water each time. Simmer 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Add the peel and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to dry, 8 hours. Toss in sugar.
12. Chocolate Orange Peels Peel 3 oranges. Cut the rind into strips and boil in water 15 minutes, then drain and rinse. Simmer 3 cups each sugar and water. Add the peel and cook until soft, 45 minutes. Drain and toss in sugar. Transfer to a rack to dry, 8 hours. Dip in melted bittersweet chocolate; let harden.
13. Crystallized Ginger Cover 1 pound sliced peeled ginger with water and simmer until tender, 45 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain. Simmer the reserved cooking liquid, the ginger and 1 1/2 cups sugar, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the ginger in the sugar left in the pan. Transfer to a rack to cool.
14. Strawberry Jellies Puree 2 pounds thawed frozen strawberries; strain through a sieve into a wide saucepan. Stir in 2 cups sugar and boil, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reaches 223 degrees F, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 5 tablespoons liquid pectin. Pour into a foil-lined 8-inch-square pan and chill until firm. Cut into squares; toss in sugar.
15. Peach Jellies Make Strawberry Jellies (No. 14), replacing the berries with thawed frozen peaches.
16. Kiwi Jellies Make Strawberry Jellies (No. 14), replacing the berries with 2 1/2 pounds peeled kiwis and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
17. Chocolate Fruit Jellies Melt 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave. Dip Strawberry, Peach or Kiwi Jellies (Nos. 14, 15 or 16) in the melted chocolate. Chill until firm.
18. Cocoa Almonds Melt 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave. Dip toasted almonds in the melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to a foil-lined pan. When just firm, roll in cocoa powder.
19. Chocolate Pecan Caramel Clusters Arrange small clusters of pecans on a baking sheet. Melt unwrapped soft caramels in the microwave and drizzle over each cluster. Top with melted chocolate. Let harden.
20. Chocolate Coins Melt 8 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave. Spread teaspoonfuls in circles on a foil-lined baking sheet. Decorate with silver or white nonpareils. Chill until firm. Wrap in gold foil.
21. Sugar Plums Finely chop 1 1/4 cups toasted almonds in a food processor with 1 1/2 cups each prunes and dried apricots, 3 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Roll into balls, then roll in coarse sugar.
22. Spiced Rum Balls Mix 3 3/4 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies, 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 3/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Stir in 3 tablespoons light corn syrup and 1/3 cup each brandy and rum. Roll into balls and chill until firm. Roll in confectioners’ sugar.
23. Nutty Cookie Balls Mix 3 cups crushed butter cookies, 1 cup each finely chopped salted mixed nuts and sweetened condensed milk, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll into balls, then roll in crushed butter cookies.
24. Chocolate-Hazelnut Crunch Balls Mix 3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts, 1 cup crisp rice cereal and 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread. Roll into balls, then roll in confectioners’ sugar.
25. Minty Marshmallows Drizzle marshmallows with melted chocolate and press in crushed peppermint candies. Chill until firm. Float in a cup of hot cocoa.
26. Cinnamon Marshmallows Drizzle marshmallows with melted chocolate and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Chill until firm. Float in a cup of hot cocoa.
27. Pumpkin Seed Candy Cook 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a skillet over medium-high heat, swirling the pan but not stirring, until dark amber, about 7 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 1/2 pounds toasted hulled pumpkin seeds. Using an oiled spoon, scoop and spread into circles on an oiled parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Let cool.
28. Sesame Seed Candy Make Pumpkin Seed Candy (No. 27), replacing the pumpkin seeds with toasted sesame seeds.
29. Salted Caramel Sauce Simmer 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling the pan but not stirring, until dark amber, about 12 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in 1 cup cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Let cool, then divide among jars and chill.
30. Chocolate Caramels Line an 8-inch-square pan with foil and brush with oil. Melt 2 sticks butter in a saucepan, then add 2 cups sugar, 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup, a 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reaches 248 degrees F, about 15 minutes. Pour into the prepared pan and cool. Cut into squares.
31. Sea Salt Chocolate Caramels Make Chocolate Caramels (No. 30). Sprinkle with sea salt while still warm.
32. Nut Clusters Cook 1 1/2 cups sugar over medium heat, swirling the pan but not stirring, until dark amber, about 10 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 3 cups salted mixed nuts. Pour onto an oiled baking sheet; separate into clusters. Let harden.
33. Nut Brittle Microwave 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup and 1 1/2 cups salted mixed nuts until the syrup is golden, about 8 minutes, stirring twice. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon each vanilla and baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Spread on an oiled baking sheet and let cool. Break into pieces.
34. Maple Walnuts Spread 1 pound toasted walnuts on an oiled baking sheet. Heat 1 3/4 cups maple syrup in a saucepan over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees F, about 15 minutes; pour over the nuts and stir to coat. Bake at 350 degrees F, 5 minutes, then separate the nuts. Let cool.
35. Almond Nougat Microwave 1 cup each sugar and honey in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup until a candy thermometer reaches 290 degrees F, 10 to 15 minutes. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 2 egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. With the motor running, drizzle in the hot honey mixture and beat until thick, 8 minutes. On low speed, add 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 2 1/2 cups almonds. Transfer to an oiled, parchment paper-lined baking sheet; flatten to 1 inch thick with a rolling pin. Cool 2 hours, then cut into squares.
36. Pistachio Nougat Make Almond Nougat (No. 35), replacing the almonds with pistachios and adding 2 teaspoons orange zest with the nuts.
37. Honeycomb Candy Boil 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup each water and light corn syrup in a saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees F, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon baking soda and pour quickly onto an oiled rimmed baking sheet (do not spread). Let harden, then break into pieces. Melt 8 ounces chopped milk chocolate with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave; dip the candy in the chocolate. Let set.
38. Butterscotch Candies Boil 2 cups water, 1 1/2 cups each granulated and brown sugar, 1 1/2 sticks butter, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 270 degrees F (this could take up to 40 minutes). Remove from the heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and pour into a parchment paper–lined 8-inch-square pan. Let cool slightly, then cut into squares and let cool completely.
39. Saltine Toffee Lay 16 saltine crackers in a foil-lined 8-inch-square pan. Boil 1 stick butter and 1/4 cup each granulated and brown sugar, stirring, 3 minutes; pour over the crackers. Bake at 375 degrees F, 5 minutes. Top with 1 cup milk chocolate chips; bake 1 more minute, then spread the chocolate evenly. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Chill, then cut into squares.
40. Cheesecake Bites Line 36 mini-muffin cups with paper liners. Mix 3/4 cup finely crushed graham crackers, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons melted butter; press into the liners and chill until firm. Blend 8 ounces cream cheese, 1/4 cup each sour cream and confectioners’ sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon each vanilla and lemon zest; fold in 1/2 cup whipped cream. Pipe or spoon into the crusts; chill 1 hour. Top with cherry or plum jam.
41. Frangipane Bites Line two 24-cup mini-muffin pans with paper liners. Combine 1 stick softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs and 1/3 cup each almond paste and cake flour in a food processor; blend until smooth. Divide among the liners, filling one-third of the way. Press a dried fig or prune into each one and sprinkle with sliced almonds and coarse sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
42. Vanilla Apricots Bring 3 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups water, 3 strips lemon zest and 1 split vanilla bean to a simmer, stirring. Add 3 cups dried apricots; cook 10 minutes. Let cool, then divide among jars.
43. Double-Dipped Strawberries Separately melt 1 cup each semisweet and white chocolate chips. Dip 12 long-stemmed strawberries in one chocolate, then in the other. Chill until firm.
44. Peppermint Stars Beat 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, 1 1/2 tablespoons softened butter, 2 teaspoons milk and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract until smooth. Chill 30 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and roll out until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into stars and freeze until hard. Melt 8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave; let cool to room temperature. Dip the stars in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with nonpareils, if desired. Chill until set.
45. Frosted Candy Canes Melt 1 cup white chocolate chips with 4 teaspoons shortening in the microwave. Dip candy canes in the melted white chocolate, let cool slightly on oiled parchment paper, then roll in colored nonpareils or sprinkles. Let harden.
46. White Chocolate–Peppermint Bark Melt 12 ounces finely chopped white chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in 1 tablespoon melted shortening and 4 ounces chopped white chocolate until smooth. Spread on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and sprinkle with 1 cup chopped peppermint candies. Let harden; break into pieces.
47. Chocolate-Peanut Bark Make White Chocolate–Peppermint Bark (No. 46), replacing the white chocolate with semisweet chocolate. Replace the chopped peppermint candies with 3/4 cup salted roasted peanuts and 1/3 cup raisins.
48. Holiday Party Mix Melt 1 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread with 1/2 stick butter in a large bowl in the microwave at 50 percent power. Stir in 8 cups Chex cereal. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag; add a 1-pound box confectioners’ sugar and shake to coat. Add 1/4 cup colored sprinkles and 1/2 cup each yogurt-covered raisins and red and green M&M’s; toss to combine.
49. Nutty Chocolate Pretzel Wands Dip 12 pretzel rods in 1 cup melted peanut butter. Chill until firm, then dip in 12 ounces melted semisweet chocolate. Drizzle with melted white chocolate or roll in chopped peanuts or nonpareils.
50. Cider Sachets Microwave 1 tablespoon grated orange zest on a paper towel, 3 minutes. Mix with 1 tablespoon each crushed cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks, 2 teaspoons each whole allspice and black peppercorns, and 1 teaspoon whole cloves. Divide among 4 cheesecloth squares; tie with twine to make bundles. Heat each sachet in 1 quart apple cider.