One of the things I like to do for Christmas is to make treats for people as gifts. It started in part as necessity while I was in grad school–I couldn’t afford to give gifts to everyone I wanted to, but I could make treats. I’ve always made our traditional family Christmas cookies, but then started to want to give different kinds too. In some ways, I have been a victim of my own success. Now people are hoping for my baked goods each year. As much as I like to vary what I give, there are a few standard categories–cookies, cake, nuts, candy, or biscotti.

At home with Kat and cat!There are so many fun ways to package these as gifts. You can buy great printed clear plastic bags, treat bags, takeout containers, or mason jars. Some years I have done very simple packaging, putting the treats in a plastic food storage bag and then in a paper lunch bag. Then I folded down the top of the paper bag, punched two holes in the folded top, and tied ribbon through in a bow. Last year I gave some people spiced nuts in plastic bags together with a wooden bowl all in a gift bag. It was simple and (hopefully) delicious. I still haven’t quite decided on what I want to do for this year yet. Here a few of my favorites or ones I want to try.  If you have a recipe you like to share as a gift, let me know.

Happy Holidays from my kitchen (and Emma cat)!

Both the Union Square Bar Nuts and the Cinnamon Toast Pecans are favorites. I always like recipes from Smitten Kitchen, so I think her “Sugar and Spice Nuts” might be on my roster this year.

Union Square Bar Nuts
Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts
Cinnamon Toast Pecans

Savory Treats
My Mom used to make Chex Mix for my Grandfather for the holidays. We were always happy when she had leftovers. I haven’t made either of these treats, but they both sound promising. They’d make a nice accompaniment to a gift of a cheese board or small appetizer dishes.

Holiday Snack Mix
Gruyere and Hazelnut Crackers

The Winter Bark has been a big hit when I’ve made it. Last year I sprinkled on some dried cranberries too. The nice thing about bark is that you can play with the toppings and not have to worry too much about the results.  The Super Crunchy Chocolate Peppermint Bark might be at the top of my list this year, however. Yum!

Winter Bark
Super Crunchy Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Cookies and Biscotti
I have more holiday cookie recipes than I know what to do with! I have often made macaroons for Christmas gift giving. Though I haven’t made these here, the recipe sounds great. Biscotti travel well and hold up longer than other cookies. The Pecan Cranberry Biscotti are my personal favorite, but I’m eager to try the Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti too.

Snow-Capped Macaroons
Pecan Cranberry Biscotti
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Breakfast Treats
Last year we received hot cocoa mix as a gift and it was such a lovely treat. Pairing that with this pumpkin granola would be a lovely hostess gift.

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix with Mini Marshmallows
Pumpkin Granola