Easy and Edible Holiday Gifts

Forget the hassle of shopping and make homemade gifts friends and family will love.

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Photo By: SETON ROSSINI

Photo By: SETON ROSSINI

Photo By: SETON ROSSINI

Photo By: SETON ROSSINI

Photo By: SETON ROSSINI

Photo By: SETON ROSSINI

Thoughtful and Delicious

Gift-giving around the holidays doesn't mean you have to elbow your way through a crowded mall. Skip the shopping hassle and create a homemade, edible gift yourself. Whether it's for a hostess gift, a school teacher or even your picky mother-in-law, these thoughtful gifts are delicious and easy to make. From the sweet to the savory, there's something for every palate, packaged with a festive holiday twist. Sharing these edible gifts with your friends and family is sure to brighten their holiday season. (Yours too, if you manage to save a few treats for yourself.)

Mug Mixers

Sweeten up your cup of coffee or cocoa with these assorted homemade mug mixers. Dip disposable spoons into melted white and dark chocolate, then top with seasonal sweet treats. Crushed candy canes, marshmallows or even festive sprinkles are perfect. Wrap each spoon in cellophane, and gift with a seasonal mug or a Mason jar filled with homemade hot chocolate mix.

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Gingerbread Spiced Nuts

These spiced nuts evoke all the holiday feels, without the holiday calories. They taste like a gingerbread cookie, made in a fraction of the time. Make a large batch to gift and keep on hand for quick holiday entertaining. Simply combine 4 cups nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds are perfect), 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves and 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil in a large bowl, then toss to coat. Spread out onto a lined baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, or until your kitchen smells like gingerbread heaven. Let cool before gifting in candy jars or a decorative keepsake box.

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Chai Caramel Sauce

This versatile caramel sauce gets a festive kick with the addition of warm chai spices. It's the perfect hostess gift and makes for easy holiday entertaining when paired with cakes or cookies, spooned in coffee, or topped on ice cream. Combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 3 tablespoons chai spice (made up of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom) in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and let steep until room temperature. Set chai-infused cream aside in a bowl and clean out saucepan. In the same saucepan, whisk 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup water together and cook over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high and boil, without stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until the color begins to darken. Pick up the saucepan, tilt to swirl caramelized sugar to mix and continue to cook for another minute, or until it's a medium-amber color. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the chai cream. (It will bubble violently, so stir carefully!) Whisk until it stops bubbling, then set aside to cool. Cool to room temperature before pouring into a Mason jar. Store in refrigerator for several weeks.

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Cranberry-Infused Vodka

For your spirited friends, give the gift of infused vodka. Nothing says the holidays like ruby red cranberries. They're a flavorful and seasonal cocktail upgrade that couldn't be easier to make. Give yourself a week to let the vodka sit and absorb all that cranberry flavor. First, simmer 1 pound cranberries, 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the berries burst. Pour mixture into a large, clean pitcher or jar. Pour one 750-milliliter bottle of vodka on top to cover the berries, then cover the pitcher with plastic wrap and set aside. After about a week, strain out the cranberries and pour into a glass gift bottle. Serve with a float of sparkling wine, or in a cranberry cosmopolitan.

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Candy Cane Hearts

These candy cane hearts are the perfect holiday activity to get the whole family involved. They're a great alternative to traditional Christmas cookies, and just as interactive and fun. Simply create heart shapes by laying two mini candy canes next to each on a lined baking sheet, filling up the entire baking sheet with hearts. Then, pipe melted white or dark chocolate into the heart shapes, using a toothpick if needed to spread the chocolate into the entire heart. Feel free to layer different types of chocolate to create two layers of chocolate, then top with festive holiday sprinkles. Cool completely, then gift in a holiday tin.

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