14 recipes that make tasteful holiday gifts

 Photo: Flickr, Mike Mccune

You could spend hours combing the Internet in search of gifts for every person in your life. Or, you could hit up the supermarket once and cook, bake, preserve and pickle your way into your friends' hearts.

Let your cooking skills be your gift guide this holiday season. Edible gifts are a personal and inexpensive way to treat your friends and family, and many recipes can be made in large batches.

This season, give the gift of cheesy scones, pickled peppers and fresh baked cookies. Your bank account will thank you.

1. Pickled Jalapeños

Peppers like jalapeños are in season summer through fall, and can be pickled and enjoyed all winter long. Be sure to disinfect your jars and lids in a dishwasher or in very hot water before adding the pickled peppers.

2. Honey and Olive Oil Roasted Nuts with Rosemary, Vanilla and Sea Salt

Roasted nuts are a perfect snack to serve with cocktails and simple to bake in large quantities and divide into gift bags. Just be sure to check for nut allergies among friends before gifting.


3. Moroccan Preserved Lemons

These are a staple in Moroccan cooking, but can be used to add a concentrated lemon flavor to any dish. Though they are simple to prepare, they must be made about 4 weeks ahead of time.

4. Refrigerator Pickles

When we think about pickles, we often think of cukes. However, this recipe for pickles also includes cauliflower and spring carrots and scallion. Feel free to take out or add in herbs you think will play well with the flavors of the vegetables.

5. Cold-Brew Iced Coffee

While hot coffee might seem like the obvious go-to during cold winter months, cold-brew iced coffee is too flavorful to cut out until spring. It has a more nuanced flavor than hot coffee, and is less bitter because it has never been heated. Best of all, it's laughably easy to make in huge batches and package in jars for friends. Just choose your favorite coffee, steep overnight, strain and done.

6. Jalapeño Cheddar Scone

When considering the pounds of butter and sugar that go into holiday desserts, a savory pastry is a welcome addition to the serving table. Use your favorite aged cheddar and fresh jalapeños for these salty scones.

7. Rosemary Cheese Crackers

Homemade crackers are simple to bake in huge batches, and a delicious snacking food. These cheese crackers are topped with rosemary for a more aromatic flavor.

8. Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil, and Parmesan Muffins

Similar to savory scones, these muffins feature cheese and vegetables rather than fruits and sugar. Bake off full-size batches for close friends, or package mini versions to bring to holiday parties.

9. Apple Crumble

People love desserts that can be baked and packed into jars. Plus, you'll have a use for all the left-over fruit from apple picking season. Bake, cool, seal and attach with directions to re-heating before heading to holiday parties.

10. Brown Sugar Chocolate Fudge

Rich fudge is simple to cook for a crowd and can be sliced into large bars or small, bite-size pieces. Package pieces in cellophane bags tied with ribbon.

11. Pumpkin Bread

Bake off a few loaves of spiced pumpkin bread for your closest friends. Wrap carefully in parchment paper and tie with a bow, or gift the bread and the loaf pan if you're feeling generous.

12. Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone has a different idea of what goes into the "perfect" chocolate chip cookie. These ones are chewy, and are loaded with brown sugar and butter, which generally hit all the marks for even the most discerning cookie lover. Gift stacks of these in cellophane bags, tied with colorful ribbon.

13. Pecan Pie Pops

If baking off an entire pecan pie is a more expensive and labor-intensive undertaking thank you'd like, try pecan pie pops. Just press pecan pie filling into rounds of dough, attach oven-safe cookie sticks and bake.

14. Homemade Granola Bars

Your friends will be grateful for something healthy to eat in the midst of a season full of heavy fats, sugars and salt. Bake off a few batches, slice and wrap like a gift in parchment paper. Tie with a bow and gift.

This first appeared on Mashable.