Homemade Christmas Hamper

Woohoo! It’s that time of year again. Maybe you have found that perfect gift, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’d like to include something a little extra, a little homemade.

Maybe you’re the kind of person who just keeps coming up with little gifts right up till the big day, because hey, it’s only once a year. Well I am too, so here are some quick and easy homemade Christmas gifts for those special people in your life.

1. Cheat’s Alphabet Cookies

Cheat's Alphabet Cookies made with leftover pastry

These cookies really came from when I made my Grapefruit Tart. I had quite a bit of pastry leftover because I made a double batch by mistake, and didn’t really want to make yet another tart. So what do you do? Why, roll out the remaining pastry and cut alphabet shapes! A great way to bake with the kids and teach them their alphabet, and have NO FOOD WASTE. Best part is, these taste like the most buttery, crumbly cookies ever!

2. Flavoured Salts

Citrus Salt

Every home cook worth their – ahem – salt, has a thing for flavoured salts. It’s just a thing, I don’t try to explain it. So if you have a friend who’s an avid cook, why not give them a jar? And they’re so simple to make! You just need a blender – not a food processor because it just pushes the salt around the bowl – or a spice grinder – a blender will give you a larger batch – rock salt and what you’d like to flavour your salt with.

This year I’ve gone with grapefruit – I had so many! – and had about 2 tablespoons of zest for 400g of salt, and rosemary – fresh rosemary, rock salt, blend, then dry out in a low oven at 140C for about 30min or until the salt is no longer damp to the touch. If these are a bit straightforward for you, then why not try my bloody mary salt, complete with real tabasco!

3. Flavoured Butter

Just like flavoured salts, flavoured butters can be extremely useful in the kitchen, AND preserve the extra herbs summer is giving your garden but you can’t finish eating. Simply use a food processor to blend salted butter with garlic and your herb cocktail of choice till thoroughly mixed through, then use clingfilm to shape it into a log to be kept in the fridge for 3 weeks, or freezer for three months.

My favourite combinations include Sage and Garlic, Black Garlic and Lemon, Or Coriander, Lemon and Garlic!

4. Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Ginger bread cookies decorated in various ways sit on a cooling rack, on red fabric

Though you can eat gingerbread any other time of the year, it seems to be extra special at Christmas time. So if you’re a fan of the chewy gingerbread cookie – is there any other? – then why not try my recipe for this cookie-cutter-friendly dough? Just make sure they don’t run away from you now!

5. Grapefruit Marmalade

Grapefruit Marmalade

The best part about summer has got to be the abundance of fruit in season. And what better way to make sure that your loved one can enjoy it all year round than to make it into a jam or a marmalade? This year, I made a Grapefruit Marmalade, but if you’re the more traditional sort, why not try this raspberry jam – no added pectin, and can be made with frozen raspberries!

6. Jam Drops

Finished Jam Drops

Want to make the gift of jam last a little longer? Well jam drops are an easy – and kid-friendly! – way to push the envelope! Even a 4-year old can make it. Find the recipe here!

7. Chocolate Hot Sauce

I luuuuurrrrvvveee hot sauce, and was super excited when William Harcourt-Cooze of Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory was nice enough to share his recipe for Chocolate Hot Sauce! Great on eggs, or you know, any other part of your life that needs hot sauce. (WHICH IS EVERY PART!!)

8. Crocheted Sushi

Crochet sushi sitting on a sushi mat

Or, if you’re more crafty, you can always tease your loved ones by making them some sushi. Toy sushi. These little plush cuties are made with leftover yarn, and stuffed to create sushi-sized toys that you just wanna eat! So simple – I know, because I made them for the Queensland flood appeal a few years back. And why stop there? With crocheted Oreo Coasters and the like, there are heaps of free instructions online to help you throw together a last-minute special touch to the Christmas stockings around you.

9. Christmas Hamper

Christmas Hamper

And why not put all of these homemade gifts together into a Christmas Hamper? And if you’d like to save some dollars, you don’t even need to buy a basket. Simply wrap a takeaway container with some brown paper, and stuff the inside with some coloured tissue paper! Then top with your homemade gifts and if you want to make it look extra professional, wrap in cellophane and add a bow on the top.

Merry Christmas you guys!

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