Delicious Homemade Food Gifts

5 Delicious Homemade Food Gifts

Star chefs and cookbook authors reveal the treats they've given for years that can brighten your own holiday traditions.

  • Chocolate Decadent Bites
    Photo: Johnny Miller
  • Salted Caramel Sauce
    Photo: Johnny Miller
  • Polvorón
    Photo: Johnny Miller
  • Bacon and Cheese Quick Bread
    Photo: Johnny Miller
  • Spicy Pumpkin-Seed Brittle
    Photo: Johnny Miller
  • Chocolate Decadent Bites

    These two-bite treats—a cross between a chocolate-ganache truffle and a gooey, fudgy brownie—grew out of Carla Hall's early days as a caterer. "They were easy to make in huge batches, and they looked effortlessly impressive," says Hall, now cohost of the ABC talk show The Chew and author of Cooking with Love. When she stopped catering, Hall continued baking the bites to give to friends. "There's a trail of thoughtfulness that goes into cooking for someone—thinking of them while you pick the recipe, buy the ingredients, select the perfect packaging," she says. "I think people can feel that extra love when they open thegift. And who doesn't like chocolate?"


      Get the recipe: Chocolate Decadent Bites

  • Salted Caramel Sauce

    "Food gifts feel more meaningful to me than most store-bought things," says Barbara Lynch, the chef at five celebrated Boston restaurants, including No. 9 Park. "My favorites pack a double whammy: They encourage people to cook and make them feel like rock stars in the kitchen." This topping can elevate almost any dessert, from a scoop of ice cream to a slice of pound cake. "I keep the serving suggestions really loose so nobody feels pressured," she says.


      Get the recipe: Salted Caramel Sauce

  • Polvorón

    When a fellow cook introduced Anita Lo to polvorón, a Filipino milk candy, in the 1990s, she was instantly obsessed. "It's everything that everyone adores: malty and nutty, loaded with brown butter, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture," says Lo, chef-owner of Annisa in New York City. Later, during a year she spent traveling around the world, Lo stopped in the Philippines and learned to make the crumbly sweets, adding toasted walnuts to create her own version. (Her wrapping, though, is traditional: colorful waxed paper that's twisted at the ends.) "For me, food gifts tell a story—about a culture or about where you learned to make it or about what you love," Lo says.


      Get the recipe: Polvorón

  • Bacon and Cheese Quick Bread

    You might expect a pastry chef to give sugary confections for the holidays, but Christina Tosi usually opts for savory. "At Christmastime, everyone is surrounded by sweets, so they crave something a little salty," says the chef of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City. Studded with smoky bacon, caramelized onions, and sharp Gruyère cheese, this quick bread has been Tosi's go-to gift for the past few years. "Sometimes the easiest recipes are the most delicious," she says. "For this, you literally mix wet and dry ingredients together—no kneading or rising involved."


      Get the recipe: Bacon and Cheese Quick Bread

  • Spicy Pumpkin-Seed Brittle

    Food Network Star Alton Brown's pumpkin-seed brittle packs an addictive fiery punch, thanks to a generous pinch of cayenne pepper.


      Get the recipe: Spicy Pumpkin-Seed Brittle


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By Kate Rockwood

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