Ideas for Easy Edible Gifts

Need some inspiration for easy edible gifts? Spread some holiday cheer with these goodies:

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Need some inspiration for easy edible gifts? Spread some holiday cheer with these goodies:


- Spiced nuts

Nuts are nice because they have staying power. Spiced nuts stay fresh for a few weeks, so they can be made well before the holidays. Some recipes emphasize sweeter flavorings, others tend to the spicier side. Allow a few hours for the nuts to dry and set before packaging (think Asian food boxes or glass jars), but active time in the kitchen is under an hour.

- Gingerbread family kit

This is a twist on a holiday favorite. You do the hard work of baking the gingerbread people and leave the fun of decorating them to those on your gift list. Bake a variety of gingerbread people (don't forget pets) and box them along with goodies for decorating. Tubes of icing, small candies and string licorice are good options.

- Candied citrus peel

This is a classy and unusual gift for anyone on your list. There are many recipes online, all of which require removing the peel from the fruit, cutting it into strips and boiling it first in water, then in sugar syrup before rolling the pieces in sugar. For a decorative touch, dip the ends of the finished pieces in melted chocolate.

- Homemade marshmallows

These are easy, inexpensive and impressive. The ingredient list is simple - unflavored gelatin, corn syrup, vanilla extract, salt and sugar. You can even swap out the vanilla extract for peppermint. Use cookie cutters to cut them in holiday shapes, such as stars. There are plenty of recipes online, including one at Martha Stewart's Web site,

- Caramel pretzel turtles

These involve almost no cooking. Tracey Seaman, test kitchen director for Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine, rolls out candy caramels into ovals, pinches them around short pretzel nuggets, then dips them in melted chocolate. Finish by rolling each pretzel in crushed toasted almonds or walnuts.

- Hot fudge sundae topping

This will last several weeks in the refrigerator, and if packaged in a small jar won't take up much room. FamilyFun magazine's recipe (available at mixes unsweetened chocolate, butter, water, sugar and corn syrup into a heavenly topping. Butterscotch topping is a good alternative. Package in a nicely decorated jar. For a more elaborate gift, accompany the sauce with sundae dishes and long-handled spoons.

- Peanut brittle or chocolate bark

Both are easy to make in large batches, keep well, and call for affordable and common ingredients. You don't even need a steady hand for cutting because they look best when broken into uneven pieces. White pastry boxes are a great choice for packaging and allow you to vary the size according to your recipient list.

- Granola

Granola requires almost no effort, keeps for weeks and most ingredients are cheap. Recipes are easily adapted (add the dried fruit and nuts of your choice), and many make large batches for easy gifting. Cellophane baggs or clear glass jars (such as the wide-mouth versions used in canning) make great packaging. The Internet offers numerous simple recipes.