When it comes to Christmas presents, a little bit of thought and effort goes a long way. That’s why baking your own gifts is a great idea and your loved ones will see how much you care. Even if you aren’t a whizz in the kitchen, there are treats you can try without too much fuss and the kids will enjoy helping you decorate the end products.
Iced biscuits are a really good place to begin on your baked gift journey, as they’re not too complicated and can easily be tailored to suit different recipients. Follow this recipe for simple sugar cookies from Baking a Mess as your starting point. Once you’re happy with the basics, add in your loved ones’ favourite ingredients for extra personalisation. A few drops of rose oil for Auntie Flo, a handful of chocolate chips for Cousin Jack and a teaspoon of cinnamon for your bestie, who loves wintry flavours.
Be sure to have a good selection of cutters to hand, as festive shapes will help to make the biscuits look more special from the start. Put water icing into a freezer bag and snip off the corner for a cheat’s way to get piping or buy premade icing tubes. A selection of edible glitter, gold balls and other cake decorations can be sprinkled liberally to cover up mistakes.
Mini Christmas cakes
Get instant cuteness points by baking miniature versions of Christmas classics. One option is fruit cakes, which can be made in batches to tick off a whole load of recipients at the same time. This recipe from Only Crumbs Remain yields 12, which basically covers your whole extended family. If you’re wondering where you’re going to get 12 small cake tins from, simply save tin cans, wash them carefully and line them as usual for a handy hack.
Instead of trying to cover your mini cakes entirely in marzipan and icing, simply cut discs for the top and attach them with melted apricot jam. They will still look classy and not overpower your tiny cake with sweetness. Then you can decorate however you like. Tie a ribbon around the cake as a stunning finishing touch.
Marzipan fruits are a Christmas classic and a lovely alternative to all that chocolate. They’re great to make with kids, who will love turning the balls of edible playdough into everything from apples and oranges to strawberries and bananas. You can buy ready-made marzipan or make your own and this recipe from Nordic Food and Living is even better, as it doesn’t contain any refined sugar.
Once you’ve got your basic paste made, simply divide it up and add different food colourings to represent different fruits. Once they’ve been molded into their shapes, then they can be popped into petits fours cases.
Recipe in a jar
If you’re really not a baker then you can cheat and get the recipient of your gift to do the hard work for you. Simply invest in some nice jars and measure out the dry ingredients for a recipe for their favourite biscuits, cake or scones. Then write the instructions on a luggage label and tie it to the jar with some nice ribbon and voila! For step-by-step instructions, check out The Pink Whisk.
How to package your homemade gifts
The key to making homemade gifts a success is packaging them nicely. This means plenty of ribbon, miniature baubles, pretty tags, paper boxes, cellophane or even little baskets. The kids can help here too, with handwritten messages to family, friends and well-loved teachers.