Give ‘Em Some Baking Love
You can give lovely, relatively inexpensive gifts this year with just a little effort from you and your kitchen. Even if you don’t bake often (or feel intimidated to do so), I have a few easy recipes that will be very well received. Maybe too well, as I am now expected to make my traditional Sublime Chocolate Bark every year… and, am happy to oblige!
Let’s start with the bark. The recipe is here, and it is quite simple. There are two main things to remember. First, use a very high quality chocolate – something like a dark Callebaut. It has a smooth and rich, velvety quality that makes this bark exceptionally good. Second, take care when melting the chocolate. Melt over a simmering hot water (directions are in the recipe), and be sure not to get any water in the chocolate. It will seize up and your bark will essentially be ruined. Oh, there is a third thing to remember. Very important to make extra for yourself. And watch the chocolate-grubby hands of those living with you (ahem, hubby!). Store it well hidden in your refrigerator until ready to gift!
Truffles are a decadent treat during the holidays, but most varieties include cream. My Unbelievably Rich Chocolate Truffles are made with coconut milk, and are every bit as good as their dairy counterpart. They are also less expensive than commercially available vegan varieties (though, I am known to buy my fair share of vegan truffles as well – gotta’ support my fellow vegans – that’s my justification anyhow). Plus, you can customize your truffle flavors. Recipe here!
If you want to give something a little less decadent, and a little healthier, why not decoratively bag portions of my Hemp-anola. It tastes more delicious than its crunchy-granola name might suggest, is not much work to prepare, and has less fat and less sugar than most store-bought granolas.
Another recipe that is delightful to give, and fun to make with children is my new Gingerbread Folks recipe, found here. While this isn’t as much of a beginner recipe (requiring a mixer), it isn’t particularly difficult. This recipe is wheat-free in addition to being dairy and egg-free. The gingerbread aren’t overly ’spicy’, so children will love them as much as adults. For other cookie options, try these other simple recipes.
With all of these gifts, you can find simple gifting boxes or bags at a local dollar store. Give as gifts on their own, or consider pairing with one of these items (find some of them at a discount store like Winners in Canada, or Target in the US):
- a soy candle
- a special magazine you know they’ll enjoy
- a dishtowel or set of dishcloths
- set of facecloths and a natural soap
- a cute apron
- organic herbal teas, or organic coffee, or vegan hot chocolate
- jar of a special jam, chutney, or relish (homemade, perhaps?)
- a stainless steel water bottle or travel mug
- a handy kitchen item, such as a kitchen rasp, cookie scoop, heat-proof spatula, small sieve or strainer, whisk, lemon squeezer, or stainless steel measuring spoons or cups
What other inexpensive and fun gift ideas do you have? Feel free to contribute your suggestions on my blog, and stay tuned for my next post – my Christmas Day menu!