20 fantastic homemade treats for gifting this Christmas


pin-photo-christams-treats-

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is baking up treats to deliver to neighbors and friends. I like to make new things each year, but I also don’t want to try out a new recipe that might not work, ‘cuz I ain’t giving people treats that aren’t really, really good. So I’ve collected 20 recipes that I can personally recommend – I’ve made every one of these and they’re all amazingly delicious. Some of these recipes can be found here on It’s Always Autumn while others are from some of my favorite food bloggers. If you want some new treats to add to your neighbor gifts this year, read on!

NOTE: If you’d like to pin any of these, please click through to the original source to do so!

1. Chocolate dipped shortbread. Shortbread is a classic Christmas cookie, but one that I thought (until last year) was better purchased the homemade – sacrilege, I know. I tried a few different recipes last year until I hit on a winner – it’s easy, takes very basic ingredients, and is flakey and buttery and completely delicious. Dip cooled shortbread wedges into chocolate for a fancy presentation without much additional work.
shortbread

2. Chocolate chip toffee bars from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Bars are perfect when it comes to large-batch baking since you don’t have to babysit a hundred trays of cookies. I’ve doubled this recipe, baking it in a cookie sheet with high sides (like a half sheet pan), and it makes LOTS of rich, wonderful bars. These definitely taste like they’re straight from a bakery.

toffee-bars
3. Chocolate covered caramel pretzels. Yes, I know you’ve seen chocolate dipped pretzel sticks before, and probably even made them, but this simple recipe is so much better! You get the perfect ratio of chocolate to caramel to salty pretzel in every crunchy bite sized treat. Your kids will love helping with this easy treat and your neighbors will be begging for leftovers.
chocolate dipped caramel pretzels

4. Whole wheat apple muffins by Smitten Kitchen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: treats aren’t supposed to be healthy – they’re supposed to be good! But even I can’t complain when a healthy muffin recipe ends up quite this moist, cinnamon-y, and delicious. Package a few up in a paper plate basket and add a free printable tag saying “you’re gettin’ muffins for Christmas!” for a no stress holiday gift (tag and paper plate basket found here).

muffins

5. The perfect chocolate chip cookies. I’m always been surprised quite how difficult it can be to make a spectacular chocolate chip cookie – if you bake them long enough that they puff and look pretty they’re usually a little crunchy (gag), and if take them out earlier they get flat and completely unappealing. But never fear – with this recipe that gets extra body from the addition of a little whole wheat flour, they’ll turn out perfectly every time (even if you accidentally melt the stupid butter!).

really good chocolate chip cookies
6. Bakery Style Cookies and Cream cookies by Picky Palate. Crushed up Oreos baked into a soft, chewy chocolate cookie? Yes please! These cookies have an amazing bakery-style texture and wonderful rich taste (plus the Oreo gives them a gorgeous deep dark color). Try them with crushed mint Oreos for a little holiday flair.
oreo-cookies
7. Double chocolate mint cookies. Starting with a cake mix might seem like cheating when it comes to holiday baking, but it sure makes life easier. Plus the cookies turn out consistently great because someone else has done almost all the measuring and mixing. The great thing is that you can customize the basic recipe for just about any holiday – the linked recipe is shown using Reese’s for Halloween colored cookies, but you can easily substitute chopped Andes mints (shown in photo) or red and green M&M’s for Christmas, red M&Ms or red chips for Valentines, etc.
chocolate mint cookie recipe
8. Chocolate mint cookie mix in a sack. I love delivering plates of treats, but I know people occasionally feel overwhelmed by all the goodies arriving around Christmas, so giving a mix is a great alternative. Sew up a super-easy fabric sack (seriously easy – three straight lines is all!) to dress up a ziplock bag full of cookie mix and top it with one of 16 free printable toppers.
cookie mix gift bags
9. Pumpkin bread from All Recipes. I’ve been making this pumpkin bread recipe for 10 years, and it’s always delicious. I substitute apple sauce for half the oil which lightens up the texture slightly, and use a heavy hand when it comes to the spices. And I also…add chocolate chips because…I’m not really good at baking things that don’t involve extra chocolate. sigh. No one seems to mind, however! Loaves make a great gift on their own, and slices make a nice addition to a cookie plate. NOTE: Do not underbake! If you cook in a large (standard) loaf, it will take a long time to cook – over an hour. Be sure to cook until top is cracked and set.
pumpkin bread
10. Soft sugar cookies with cream cheese icing. Soft, cake sugar cookies with a to-die-for cream cheese ice cream that you can decorate to your heart’s content – sound good? As an added bonus the dough does not require refrigeration time before rolling out. The cookies pictures are decorated for spring, but you could use stars, Christmas trees, stockings, or ornament shaped cookie cutters for the perfect Christmas cookies. (Santa LOVES these.)
sugarcookies
11. White chocolate peppermint popcorn. This popcorn is so easy it can’t even be considered baking. Microwave the popcorn, microwave white chocolate chips, crush candy canes, and mix it all up – done! But don’t let the simplicity fool you – it’s totally addictive and the perfect mix of salty, sweet, and peppermint. It works great as a New Year’s gift if time before Christmas gets away from you.
white chocolate popcorn recipe
12. Scotcharoos at Crazy Little Projects. My husband’s grandma brings scotcharoos to EVERY. SINGLE. family gathering, and they’re always one of the first treats to go. We joke that we wouldn’t let her in the door if she tried to show up without them. They’re another really easy treat – no baking time – that everyone loves. If you’ve never tried them just think sweet rice crispy treats with a hint of peanut butter smothered in chocolate and butterscotch topping. Convinced yet?
Scotcharoos
13. Triple layer fudge. I used to think you needed a candy thermometer to make fudge, but I was wrong. This fudge recipe is extremely easy, and you can make any flavor you like by substituting different kinds of chocolate chips – milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate and mint, etc. The version shown below used pink chips for Valentines day, but it would be easy to use green chips or stick to straight up chocolate for Christmas.”
fudge
14. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies from Brown Eyed Baker. These are like a really good chocolate chip cookie with a great texture and a hint of peanut butter flavor – classic flavors everyone loves but a bit more unusual than standard chocolate chip, peanut butter, or oatmeal cookies. They’re very pretty and look great plated up.
peanut-butter-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies2
15. Little Bits o’Heaven. These are another chocolate cookie, also made using a cake mix, but with the addition of cream cheese with makes them ultra soft and velvety. Plus the dough gets rolled in powdered sugar before baking, giving them a great holiday look. (This is another one easy enough for the kids to make.)
bit-o-heaven-chocolate-cookies
16. Donut muffins from All Recipes. These mini muffins might be hard to make for a crowd, but would be the perfect gift for making someone feel special. They taste just like the fresh fried donuts you get at amusement parks but without the extra oil. Double the batch, though, because if you don’t you might not be able to give any away.
donut-muffins
17. Butterscotch Gingerbread cookies from Nestle via All Recipes. This chewy cookies screams “HOLIDAYS!” It’s a soft gingerbread cookie studded with butterscotch chips – sweet and chewy and spicy all at once. These a great warm from the oven, but the gingerbread flavor really comes through once they are fully cool, and even more so the next day. NOTE: using a full bag of butterscotch chips in this recipe makes them ultra-sweet – I think they taste better with just 2/3 of the bag.
gingerbread-cookies
18. Easy Ranch Cheeseball. It’s easy to overdose on the sweets during the holiday season, so you might want to consider giving a savory treat instead. This cheese ball is easy to whip up and much cheaper than purchasing pre-made at the store, and it’s perfect for late night snacking. It would be easy to make mini cheese balls in large batches, wrap each one in plastic wrap, and tuck inside a cute kraft gift bag with a sleeve of Ritz crackers.
easyranchcheeseballrecipe2
19. Easy Berry Freezer Jam. Homemade jam is like a taste of summer in the middle of winter, and it makes a fantastic holiday gift. It is so much better than store-bought jam that it doesn’t even compare. Making your own freezer jam is extremely easy, and my post shows all the steps so you don’t need to be intimidated if you haven’t made it before. Since it’s the dead of winter you’ll want to use frozen berries – just thaw them in the fridge or on defrost in the microwave until they are soft enough to crush easily with a potato masher. Don’t drain them before mashing – you want all that yummy juice mixed in with your jam.
homemade-freezer-jam-tutorial
20. French Bread with Herbed Garlic Butter Spread. The first time I ever tasted this bread was on Christmas Eve. A good friend dropped off a warm loaf along with some of the unbelievable garlic butter. My husband and I devoured the entire loaf while we finished wrapping presents and I don’t know how many times I said “This is the best neighbor Christmas gift EVER!” This one definitely takes more work than some of the other options, but it’s so worth it, and all your neighbors will love you forever.
french-bread-garlic-spread

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