11 Holiday Gifts from Your Kitchen


Cherry-Almond Coffee Cake

This cake makes a beautiful gift or a lovely cake to serve to guests. It freezes well and it is very easy to make two cakes at once. I like to purchase new springform pans and give the pan and cake as a gift with a bright-red bow tied around the outside of the pan. It also makes wonderful breakfast fare.

  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cherry pie filling
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a nine-inch springform pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until creamy. Add the extracts and mix well. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In alternating turns, add the dry ingredients and sour cream to the butter mixture, mixing well after each addition. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and add half of the cherry filling. Gently swirl the batter mixture with a spatula. Spoon the remaining batter carefully into the pan and top with the remaining cherry filling. Sprinkle the almonds on top of the filling and gently press them into the batter. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake should have slightly moved away from the sides of the pan. Cool pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and serve warm.

Vanilla-Peach-Pear Muffins

These are my favorite muffins in the whole wide world. They combine three of my favorite things, peaches, pears and vanilla. These muffins make perfect gifts because they really should sit for at least 24 hours after baking to allow the flavors to develop. Really ripe fruit works best in this recipe. A basket filled with these muffins and a jar of pear butter or peach-pear jam is marvelous. They are also pretty good with a smear of cream cheese and a dab of raspberry jam.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 ripe Bartlett pear, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 ripe peach, peeled, pitted and diced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease or line 12 muffin cups. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla until well beaten. Mix in the milk and butter. Fold in the pear and peach chunks. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Place the batter in the prepared muffin cups and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the pans to cool and store for 24 hours before eating.

Cranberry-Almond Biscotti

These cookies are excellent with coffee or hot cocoa. For gift giving, place in a basket with a selection of coffees, teas and cocoas. Add in a few mugs, tea cups and saucers - or jams and jellies - for a gift anyone would be thrilled to receive.

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and egg whites until thick and lemon colored in a separate medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the extracts. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in the almonds and dried cranberries. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide in half and pat each half into a log approximately 14 inches long and one-and-a-half-inches wide. Place on a cookie sheet and bake 30 minutes, or until firm. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Cut biscotti into half-inch slices. Place the slices on the cookie sheet and bake for an additional 20 minutes, flipping over midway. Cool the slices on wire racks and store in an airtight container or freeze.

Christmas Orange-Hazelnut Biscotti

These biscotti are similar to the above biscotti, but with a richer orange flavor and luscious bits of candied cherries for holiday spirit.

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons pure orange extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 3/4 cup coarsley chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied red cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied green cherries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. In a separate medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs and egg whites until thick and lemon colored. Whisk in the extracts. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in the hazelnuts and candied cherries. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide in half and pat each half into a log approximately 14-inches long and one-and-a half-inches wide. Place on a cookie sheet and bake 30 minutes, or until firm. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Cut biscotti into half-inch slices. Place the slices on the cookie sheet and bake for an additional 20 minutes, flipping over midway. Cool the slices on wire racks and store in an airtight container or freeze.

Skillet Cornbread

This is a unique gift that I enjoy buying for friends or housewarming parties. I purchase an antique (or new) 10-inch cast-iron skillet to cook the cornbread in and make that part of the gift. I tie a red bow around the handle and give a mix for my favorite chili with the beans and spices in separate bags, or even make a batch of chili, stew or soup to give them, if I know that they are especially busy this season. The cornbread is a snap to make (you can even use a mix, and I will not tell) and it makes a very thoughtful gift. I jazz up the cornbread for the holidays, but you can make it plain. Include the recipe and reheating instructions on a decorative card.

  • 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons diced red peppers
  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease the frying pan with one tablespoon of the melted butter. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs briskly until well blended. Beat in the milk, oil and remaining (three tablespoons) melted butter until well mixed. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix the egg mixture, peppers and scallions into the cornmeal mixture until it is just moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared frying pan. Bake the cornbread for 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cornbread in the skillet. To reheat, cover the top of the frying pan with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Hour Herb Bread

This fragrant herb bread is perfect for mini-loaves, which are excellent for gift giving. You can use your favorite fresh or dried herbs in this recipe. The recipe below is my favorite blend.

  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package fast-rising yeast
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In large bowl, whisk together two cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast and herbs. Heat the water, milk and butter until it is hot to the touch (125-130 degrees). Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Mix in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for four minutes. Divide the dough in half. Gently shape each half into small loaves and place in two greased 5-1/2 x 3-1/2-inch mini-loaf pans. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover with a dish towel and place the loaf pans in a large shallow pan that is half-filled with hot tap water for 15 minutes to raise the dough. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped. Remove the bread from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

Quick Baby Focaccias

I think that it is good to have a collection of recipes that are easy to make in a hurry both for quick homemade gifts and for panic food when guests drop in. This is one such recipe. It tastes marvelous, and no one will ever know that it came from a can, unless you forget to hide the can.

  • 11 ounces canned or thawed frozen soft bread-stick dough
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried basil
  • 2 finely minced shallots
  • 1 finely minced garlic clove
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease the cookie sheets. Gently form the dough into eight five-inch circles. Drizzle each circle with olive oil. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over dough. Bake for eight to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cranberry Orange Spice Cake

This traditional spice cake is jazzed up a little bit with cranberries for a festive holiday gift. I use my own relish in this cake, but you can use a commercial relish. This is also a wonderful way to use up any leftover cranberry relish.

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups cranberry-orange relish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a tube pan. Cream the shortening until fluffy. Beat in the sugar and egg and mix until light and creamy. Stir in the dried cranberries and pecans. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl and add to the shortening mixture. Stir until well blended and add the cranberry-orange relish. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean.

Apple Sauce Scones

I love buying an antique tea cup and saucer and making a basket of fine teas, honey sticks, jam and scones for gifts. These are one of my favorite scones to give to friends. During the holidays I like adding dried cranberries, as well, for a more-festive touch.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in margarine until mixture is crumbly. Stir in the cheese. Add the apple sauce and stir until just barely moistened. On a floured surface, knead dough gently five or six times. Place the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet and press into an eight-inch circle that is about a half-inch thick. Cut into wedges and separate slightly. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm. To reheat, wrap tightly in aluminum foil bake in a 350 degree oven for five minutes, or until warmed through.

Herb, Onion and Pepper Bread

Here is another time saver. When you are in a hurry, frozen bread dough makes this a quick gift to whip up.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1 pound frozen white bread dough, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in heavy, small skillet over medium-low heat. Add scallions, onion, rosemary, thyme and sage; saute until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Place the dough in medium bowl and add the herb mixture and pepper. Knead until well combined. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Pat dough into a rectangle and roll up into loaf shape and place in prepared pan, seam-side-down. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free area, until doubled. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 25 minutes. Turn the bread out onto a rack and cool completely.

Pear, Fig and Date Muffins

These fragrant muffins have a unique and tasteful combination of flavors. You can also add one cup of your favorite chopped nuts for increased texture.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped dates
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped peeled and cored pears
  • 1/2 cup diced figs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the milk, beaten eggs and melted butter. Mix together gently until the batter is just moistened. Add the fruit and sugars and stir just enough to evenly mix. Spoon the batter into greased or papered muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the muffins rise and are golden brown.

Like this? Want more?
preview
Connect with Us
Follow Our Pins

Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.

Follow Our Tweets

The very dirty truth about fashion internships... DUN DUN @srslytheshow http://t.co/wfewf

On Instagram

Behind-the-scenes pics from iVillage.

Best of the Web