I think we’ve already established that I like to give food as gifts. In some ways I think it’s almost expected that I give edible presents (I do work in a Test Kitchen after all). I find that some items work better than others in certain situations. For example, gifts that need refrigeration shouldn’t be shipped across the country. To that end, here are a few suggestions for all kinds of food-sharing occasions:
Remote Friends and Family
If you have friends or family who live out of town, a homemade treat is the perfect gift. It is nice to think that, no matter where your loved ones are, they can have a little taste of home. When shipping, it’s important to choose recipes that don’t require refrigeration and are fairly sturdy. I also tend to avoid things that are coated in chocolate since warmer temperatures might melt the coating, causing the treats to stick together. The 2013 Holiday Recipe Collection is full of great options, but a few of my favorites (particularly for shipping) are the Gingerdoodles, Cheddar Cheese Snaps, and Earl Grey Caramels.
Be sure to check out this article for more helpful tips about packing and shipping food.
Teachers and Co-workers
If you’re giving cookies to those who live locally, you don’t need to worry about the jostling of shipping. That said, I still like to give items that don’t require refrigeration. Even if you have access to an office refrigerator, it is so easy to leave things behind (or is that just me?). A few treats I plan on giving this year include Pretzel Toffee, Dark Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies, and Rosemary Blue Cheese Straws.
The food gifting rules really loosen up when you are talking about neighbors. Why? Well you are generally walking the gift over to their home and can mention it needs refrigeration when you’re handing it to them. The Tangerine Curd and Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce make wonderful gifts. (Raspberry Jalapeno Fudge Sauce is my favorite of the flavor varieties. It is unexpectedly delicious!)
Or consider the Everything Bagel Crackers with Cream Cheese Spread as a savory option.
The last category for which I tend to bring food as a gift is hostess gifts or potluck. Again, since you’re going to someone’s home, foods that require refrigeration for storage are definitely an option. The Savory Parmesan Thumbprints are a perfect appetizer. I recommend filling the cookies with the savory jam just before serving, or think about setting out jars of the jam so that guests can top the cookies with their favorite flavor.
I also love to bring the Chocolate Surprise Loaf to parties. There’s something special about seeing everyone's reaction when it’s first sliced.
Another great sweet treat is the Five-Spice S’More Sticks. They look really cute on a cookie platter, and the delicate buttery spice cookie is truly delicious.
What are your favorite recipes to give as gifts?