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Edible Christmas gifts

Sun, 28 November, 2021

Apart from children who know what they want and request it directly from Santa, for most of us buying (and often receiving too) Christmas gifts is a pain. It is wasteful, environmentally deadly and it only benefits Jeff Bezos and the Chinese economy.

Ironically, people who don’t have much don’t usually receive presents while those who have everything are impossible to buy for. The receiving end is abysmal too: pretending you LOVE the fancy water bottle, the third in your collection is a chore; discarding all the packaging responsibly is a chore; wrapping things of impossible shapes in non-recyclable gift wrap is a chore. And that’s all before we even consider our annual December expenditure spike.

I strongly believe that the best presents of all are ones you can eat. And the most cherished are the ones the giver made themselves, obviously. The effort of trawling through online shops flogging overpriced, idiotic novelty pants is a drudge; rolling chunks of marzipan in cocoa powder for the simplest homemade truffles is actually fun – and we all know it.

Edible gifts it is then this year, and you really don’t have to be a master pâtissier for it. Plus, there are far more possibilities for making tasty pressies than you might think!

I mentioned the most basic (and yet traditional in Germany) truffles already; if you want to take it a couple of steps further, make these marzipan truffles from homemade marzipan, coated in chocolate. That’s a lavish gift in a jar tied with a ribbon!

Another marzipan confection I really like is marzipan shortbread bars, a little like Twix but better. Or how about indulgent date and nut squares?

Gifting biscuits is always a good idea, from classic shortbread or cocoa nib sablés, through to Sicilian pistachio cookies and authentic macarons – the latter are made with chocolate ganache for longer cupboard life. And if you bake a tray of black forest brownies, cut them neatly and wrap prettily, that will be a few friends or neighbours sorted.

Christmas theme abounds with gifting ideas, from all over the world. Italians are especially good at it, with their almond ricciarelli, fruit and nut studded panpepato or gingerbread biscotti. Germans are generous like that too as we know already: chocolate filled or plain Lebkuchen, Zimtsterne the cinnamon stars and Stollen. Or stick to English tradition and bake a batch of mince pies to give away.

A jar of homemade jam makes a good gift. And if you thought you’d missed the boat on summer berries, there’s apple marmalade or pomegranate jelly still to be made. You could, quite uniquely, make a tub of home-clotted cream to give away with a batch of scones, or even more original: home-churned, flavoured butter!

It’s not just sweets either, you know? Flash pickles can be made out of all kinds of vegetables, and there’s always pickled jalapenos. Maybe cranberry ketchup? It’s delightful, and a variety from boring old cranberry sauce.

Seed crackers, oregano cheese straws, anything you make well that will keep for a sensible amount of time.

And finally, there’s also traditional panettone… Are you up for the challenge?

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About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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