10 Ideas for Delicious DIY Gifts

food: quick takes

You don't need an army of elves—or a sleigh full of money—to make these tasty offerings.


By Dawn Perry and Charlyne Mattox
Photos by Paul Sirisa Lee Prop Styling by Liz Adler Food styling by Dawn Perry

1. coconut and pistachio bark

Hands-On | 10 min Total | 1 hr, 10 min Makes | 6 4-ounce gifts

Spread 1 1/2 lb. melted semisweet or bittersweet chocolate on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with 1 1/4 cups each toasted unsalted pistachios. Chill until firm, about 1 hr. Peel off of the parchment and break into pieces. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

2. spicy citrus olives

Hands-On | 5 min Total | 1 hr, 10 min Makes | 6 1-cup gifts

Remove the zest from 1 lemon and 1/2 orange with a vegetable peeler. Combine with 6 cups mixed olives, 3 cups olive oil, 6 sprigs thyme, and 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper in a medium saucepan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 1 to 2 min.; let cool. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

3. hot pepper sauce

Hands-On | 15 min Total | 1 hr Makes | 6 1/3-cup gifts

In a blender, puree 15 halved red jalapeños, 1 quartered red bell pepper, 1/2 cup each distilled white vinegar and water, 1 tbsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. kosher salt until smooth. Heat 1 tbsp. canola oil in a large saucepan. Add the pepper mixture and 2 tbsp. cornstarch. Simmer, whisking, until thickened, 2 to 3 min. Strain; let cool. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

4. Cheddar crackers

Hands-On | 15 min Total | 3 hr Makes | 6 10-cracker gifts

With a mixer, beat 2 cups room-temperature unsalted butter, 4 cups grated Cheddar, and 4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper until combined. Mix in 4 cups flour and 1 cup rice cereal. Form into 4 1 1/2-inch-diameter logs; chill until firm. Slice 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 350 degrees F on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets until light gold, 18 to 20 min. Store at room tmperature for up to 1 week.

5. Herbed goat cheese

Hands-On | 5 min Total | 5 min Makes | 6 1/2-cup gifts

In a food processor, blend 2 10.5-ounce logs goat cheese, 8 ounces room-temperature cream cheese, 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper until smooth. Add 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1 tbsp. chopped thyme, and 1 small chopped clove garlic; pulse to combine. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

6. Olive Oil Granola

Hands-On | 10 min Total | 2 hr Makes | 6 2 1/4-cup gifts

Toss together 6 cups rolled oats, 2 cups pepitas (hulled pumpking seeds), 1 cup honey, 1 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, and 1 tsp. each pure vanilla extract and kosher salt. Bake on 2 rimmed baking sheets at 300 degrees F, tossing occasionally, until golden, 35 to 40 min.; let cool. Mix in 2 cups dried cherries. Store at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

7. limoncello

Hands-On | 20 min Total | 5 days Makes | 6 2-cup gifts

Remove the zest from 10 lemons with a vegetable peeler; combine with 2 750-ml. bottles vodka in a large pitcher. Cover and keep in a cool, dark place for 5 days; strain and discard the zest. Simmer 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water in a large saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves, 4 to 6 min.; let cool. Stir into vodka mixture. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

8. butterscotch sauce

Hands-On | 15 min Total | 2 hr Makes | 6 1/2-cup gifts

Melt 1 cup unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add 2 cups packed light brown sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until smooth, 2 to 3 min. Add 2 cups heavy cream. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 12 min. Stir in 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; let cool. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

9. maple pretzel nuts

Hands-On | 10 min Total | 1 hr Makes | 6 2-cup gifts

Toss together 6 cups mini pretzels, 2 cups oyster crackers, 2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts, 2 cups cashews, 1 cup pure maple syrup, 1/4 cup canola oil, 3 tbsp. dry mustard, 2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1 tsp. cayenne pepper. Bake on 2 parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets at 325 degrees F, tossing once, until golden and glazed, 25 to 30 min; let cool. Store at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

10. mango chutney

Hands-On | 20 min Total | 1 hr, 20 min Makes | 6 1-cup gifts

Cook 1 chopped red onion in 2 tsbsp. canola oil with 1 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger and 1 tsp. mustard seeds in a large saucepan over medium-high, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 min. Add 8 chopped mangos, 1/2 cup each sugar and golden raisins, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Simmer, stirring, until the liquid is slightly thickened, 8 to 10 min.; let cool. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

For gift packaging similar to that show here, to go containerstoe.com and specialtybottle.com.