holiday baking & gift ideas

If you are like me, you probably haven’t started your holiday baking yet. I’m making plans but I just need a nice chunk of time to immerse myself in butter, chocolate and flour. To get myself started, I took a look at some tried and true favorites from my archives, along with a few links to other food blogs.

I also wanted to give a little something more than a bunch of links. So this year I made up a bunch of gift tags that I can package up with whatever I’m making this year. And I’m passing them along to you. All you will need is a PDF reader and a printer. Just download the pdf, print onto card stock or sticker paper and cut along the dotted lines. Attach it to your hand crafted gift. It’s easy and I’m sure it will make your gift giving a little sweeter. Looking for another quick & affordable gift idea? Check out my etsy printables shop where you can print out my own original art prints on your home printer for only five bucks. Instant happiness.

When sending your gifts, package things into re-usable glass jars (I love old mason jars and even glass peanut butter or jam jars), vintage cookie tins or baker’s boxes lined with wax paper and pretty tissue.

Fleur de sel caramels
Really easy chocolate fudge with toasted walnuts
Candy cane chocolate bark
Rum balls
Salted honey caramels
Chocolate covered caramel crunch
Peanut butter buckeyes & chocolate snowballs (vegan)
Sponge toffee (vegan)
Merengue mint melties

I’ve also really had much success with Heidi’s espresso caramel. It’s delicious and perfect for gift giving.

Bars + Squares
Chocolate chip walnut squares
Date & raisin squares (vegan)
Peanut butter raisin bars
Butter tart squares

Cherry oat bars
Coffee Crunch bars (vegan)
Oatmeal coconut pecan squares with chocolate chips

I’ve lusted after these Dutch almond bars from Whipped. Buttery goodness!

Buttery raisin biscuit
Chocolate chip maple walnut cookies
Chocolate mint cookies
Chocolate shortbread cookies
Chocolate thumbprint jam cookies (vegan)
Crispy salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies
Double chocolate oatmeal cookies (vegan)
Flourless peanut butter cookies
Ginger gems (vegan)
Lemon cookies
Lemon cornmeal shortbread cookies
Pfeffernusse cookies

I’ve been looking for the perfect gingerbread cookie. I think these from David Lebovitz might be the one.

Loaf Cakes
Willie Nelson’s famous banana bread (aka UBC cake)
Chocolate chip banana bread with ginger
Cranberry & blood orange loaf

Jacked up banana bread
Bill’s coconut bread

While this Almond butter cake with cherries from Seven Spoons isn’t a loaf cake per say, it looks beautiful and festive.

Unique Gifts
Ginger syrup for homemade gingerale (vegan)
World’s best peanut butter fudge sauce
Spicy sweet glazed pretzels & nuts (vegan)
Better than bakery granola

I haven’t made Joe’s Gingerbread popcorn yet, but I plan on making it this year. Seriously, who wouldn’t want a giant tub of this?

Cookbooks & other food books
These are just a few of my most favorite cookbooks (& food related books) and I’m sure they’d be a welcome addition to anyone who loves food and cooking.

Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook
I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes
Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Vegetarian Comfort Food: Meals Like Mom Makes, Without the Meat
Comfort Me with Apples: A True Story of Love, Adventure and a Passion for Cooking

Looking for something other than books? I love Tea & Cookie’s cheap & useful kitchen gift guide.

66 comments to “holiday baking & gift ideas”

  1. 1
    Dawn   December 9, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    girl I needed some ideas and bad! thanks for this.

  2. 2
    megan   December 9, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    that gingerbread popcorn looks a-mazing! I've been meaning to make your ginger syrup forever. Maybe this year I will actually get to it. I'm hoping to get around to trying this vanilla syrup recipe, too.

  3. 3
    Beth R+V   December 9, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    I love this post! I'm downloading your labels pronto – they'll be perfect with my little homegrown food care packages. Where did you get those cute mini-loaf pans? They look like cardboard, did you bake the loaves in them?

  4. 4
    Bijoux   December 9, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Thank you! Thank you!
    This is a great resource.
    I've been waiting for this post…I'm going to start making a list and checking it twice…LOL…gonna think about which treats to make.

  5. 5
    H   December 9, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Awesome post! Thanks so much for more ideas. Now who can give me more hours in a day?

  6. 6
    springboots   December 9, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Wow – thank you! Great ideas for year round even! PS. I'm making your granola for our annual Boxing Day Brunch this year. Bringing a little of the West Coast back home to NS 🙂 Thanks again!

  7. 7
    Shelley (Pink House)   December 9, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    What a great list! THANK YOU! I'm excited to try the honey salted carmels.

  8. 8
    Melynda   December 9, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    What a great suggestions list, thanks.

  9. 9
    shutterbean   December 9, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    YOU ROCK!!! i am gonna check out these cookbooks! oh and that gingerale caught my eye!

    thanks for sharing, j!

  10. 10
    selina   December 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Awesome post!!! I love the gift tags (much better than the cheezy and ugly ones from the store). Wonderful collections of recipes too. Thank you much for sharing!

  11. 11
    miranda   December 9, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    awesome tags and thank you thank you thank you for the links & recipes. i have my holiday baking planned for next week and need some new ideas to add to the faves.

  12. 12
    Tasha   December 9, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    So many recipes to go through! I've been charged with making desserts for my family's christmas eve dinner. I think I'll try my hand at rumballs!

  13. 13
    Joanne   December 10, 2009 at 3:17 am

    I still haven't decided what to make! I keep telling myself that this weekend will be THE weekend that I get my life together. Thanks for this list, you've got some great ideas!

  14. 14
    Amy   December 9, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Great post! I have narrowed down my homemade baked gift goodies, BUT I didn't have those AWESOME gift tags to seal the deal. Love them and thanks for sharing!

  15. 15
    Mari   December 10, 2009 at 4:17 am

    I'm a baking machine at the moment and my freezer is full of cakes for holiday gifts! Now your lovely gift tags, will complete the package! Thanks for sharing!

  16. 16
    Rita vindedzis   December 10, 2009 at 5:16 am

    Recently discovered your blog and I love it!! Thanks for this great list of recipes-there are so many I want to try. BTW I made your napa mustard slaw with apples and walnuts this week and it was a big hit. Will try the crispy salted oatmeal cookies this week.

  17. 17
    julia   December 10, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Rock and roll! This is great. Many thanks! (Anyone who is getting gifts from you should be thanking their lucky stars!)

  18. 18
    Dana   December 10, 2009 at 8:00 am

    This is just the post I needed to read to get my butt in gear. I'm feeling paralyzed by all the baking I need to do and having some amazing ideas is helping me get motivated. Thank you!

  19. 19
    Run Eat Read   December 10, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Could NOT have come at a BETTER time!! A million thank you's for this post. I'm trying to bring snacks and treats to a nut-free home. It's the worst. Your ideas are totally helping 🙂

  20. 20
    arajane   December 10, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Jeannette, you are the best! Thank you for this amazing compendium of yummy treats and your beautiful gift tags. I have been putting off my holiday baking, but am now inspired and truly excited!

  21. 21
    Lisa (Homesick Texan)   December 10, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Just what I needed to get my holiday-spirit humming. Muchas gracias!

  22. 22
    kms   December 10, 2009 at 11:50 am

    those gift cards are so stinking adorable. i love them and so sweet of you to share them with us! thank u!!

  23. 23
    Pooka   December 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    thank you so much for this blog post! You saved me this xmas 😀

  24. 24
    Kali   December 10, 2009 at 5:21 am

    I always love seeing pics of other people's cookbook collections because I end up going, "Hey, I have that too!"

    I'm with you on finding time for holiday baking. Now that snow has come to Quebec, I am going to start! I'm sure some of your recipes will come into play! Thanks for all you've done!

  25. 25
    Trista   December 10, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Wow! Thanks so much for a list like this! It is so hard to find one out there! Awesome list of books as well. Thanks so much and happy baking.

  26. 26
    Kasey   December 10, 2009 at 11:31 am

    What a fantastic post–you've given me so many ideas, and I love the packaging.

  27. 27
    Camilla   December 10, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Was talking to my friend yesterday about how I needed to do some serious baking, now this has convinced me it will happen this weekend, and I can make the results look pretty now.

  28. 28
    CookiePie   December 10, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Wonderful ideas, and so many mouthwatering recipes!!!

  29. 29
    hilary   December 10, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Thank you for the near-divine inspiration! I've now got a plan for some cheap and delicious gifts… sweet.

  30. 30
    Adela   December 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Your gift tags will complete my homemade baked goodie gifts, I am adding the honey salted caramels too. Thank you!

  31. 31
    heidi leon   December 11, 2009 at 3:37 am

    so far the best Christmas list ideas I have found! And I love the fact that you encourage the people to recycle.

    This post deserves a stumble (and I'm doing it!)


  32. 32
    Fuji Mama   December 11, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Love the tags and what a great list of recipes and books!

  33. 33
    Cookie baker Lynn   December 12, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Wow, what a great list of ideas. Thanks for generously sharing the labels! What a terrific and timely post!

  34. 34
    kickpleat   December 12, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Dawn, you are full of wonderful ideas!

    Thanks Selina, that is nice to hear.

    Tasha, rumballs are so easy and delicious….and strong!

    megan, thanks for the link to the vanilla syrup. sounds delicious!

    Beth, I found the loaf pans at a Japanese dollar store (yoko yaya). And yes, I baked the loaves in them.

    Bijoux, glad you are inspired!

    Ha, H, I wish!

    Glad I could help you out, Amy.

    Springboots, so glad!

    Shelley, the honey caramels are great!

    No problem, Melynda.

    Shutterbean, gingerale is a great and easy treat.

    Miranda, good luck with all your baking!

    Thanks Joanne.

    Yay, Mari! Glad I could complete your gifts 🙂

    Thanks so much Rita. Let me know how you like the cookies…they're really good!

    I do the exact same, Kali.

    Julia, I haven't even started my baking yet! Zoinks!

    Thanks Trista, you too.

    Dana, I understand that feeling!

    Run, I always use a lot of nuts, but most times you can just throw in something else, like more chocolate!

    Arajane, thank you so much! Your compliment means so much.

    Thanks Kasey!

    Lisa, I need some of that humming spirit too!

    You are very welcome, kms!

    Hooray Camilla! You can recreate the fudge I sent you last year (or was it the year before?)

    Glad I could help out, Pooka.

    Hilary, everyone loves receiving homemade gifts (at least, I'm counting on it!)

    Adela, enjoy!

    Thanks CookiePie, Heidi, Fuji and Lynn!

  35. 35
    Rosiecat   December 12, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Thank you for your list! I was down to the last few souls on my gift list and totally stumped, but with a bottle of nice olive oil and a few Ruth Reichl books, I'm done with my Santa duties. Ho ho ho!

  36. 36
    Anonymous   December 13, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Thank you!!!

  37. 37
    Sue   December 13, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Thank you so much for the tag printables! They're so adorable! And although I usually don't bake anymore because it costs more for all the supplies (ugh!) – you've tempted me to make a couple of the recipes you posted! Girl, What have you gotten me into? hehe Happy Holidays!

  38. 38
    Patricia   December 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you for the gift tags! They're on baked goods winging their way to family as I type. 🙂

  39. 39
    Anonymous   December 15, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Someone else may have mentioned this, I have only read your post which is filled with creative and lovely ideas. Except… .

    Send your items in mason jars and boxes. Have you used Canada Post lately, with their very high rates for parcel post?

    It's just not doable for me, with the weight of the glass, then the packing you'd have to put around glass. Glass is fine for local, when you're ringing someone's doorbell to delivery Xmas goodies, in person, but not by mail. I think the venerable Canadian Xmas parcel has gone the way of the do-do for most of us. Who can afford that?

  40. 40
    kickpleat   December 16, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Rosiecat, glad I could inspire. Lucky the recipient getting some Ruth books!

    Thanks anon!

    Sue, I think homemade gifts are worth the effort and I think it can be pretty cost effective. Made with love? Can't be beat!

    Glad you're using the tags, Patricia.

    Anon, so true. I wasn't suggesting mailing glass, but it's good to give to close friends and family. When I ship, I use tins packaged into boxes and they always arrive fine. I only send one box to my family so I don't mind eating the cost. You are right though, Canada Post is so expensive!

  41. 41
    Llana   December 18, 2009 at 8:02 am

    I spy with my little eye The MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK!! One of my favorites too. 🙂 <3

  42. 42
    Amy   December 18, 2009 at 9:36 am

    These adorable tags are just the thing I was looking for to dress up my hot chocolate kits, thanks.

  43. 43
    kickpleat   December 21, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Llana, it's indeed a favorite! A very well worn copy.

    Amy, glad I could help!

    Thanks for sayin' so, Geek + Nerd!

  44. 44
    Geek+Nerd   December 21, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Those tags are adorable and your suggestions are wonderful! Thanks so much.

  45. 45
    Anali   December 23, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Thank you for these tags! They're just perfect! Happy Holidays to you! ; )

  46. 46
    kickpleat   December 26, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Thanks Anali, happy holidays to you!

  47. 47
    eatme_delicious   December 26, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Cute tags! And so many great gift ideas.

  48. 48
    kickpleat   December 29, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    thanks, eat me!

  49. 49
    Tanya   December 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I love this post! I remember reading it last year, and am happy to have found it again this year. So comprehensive and HELPFUL!
    Thanks Kickpleat!

  50. 50
    Jen   August 15, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Thank you so much! I know I’m finding this much later but I’m already starting to think about Christmas gifts 🙂 Great printables, list, and ideas! I so appreciate people who take so much time to put together things like that for the blogosphere. Where did you get those brown boxes? I can only find white baker’s boxes!

  51. 51
    kickpleat   August 15, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Jen, I purchased the boxes here in Vancouver, but I’m sure you could find them online somewhere!

  52. 52
    Julie   May 21, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I’ve seen cute, disposable mini loaf pans at The Cooks Warehouse. Sur La Tab may also sell them. Thank you for the free printables!

  53. 53
    Kelly   July 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I love your printables and I can’t wait to look at the recipes! Great job!!!

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