DIY Holiday Gifts Advent Calendar
Making your own food gifts for the holidays not only saves money but is a real expression of generosity. Every day we’ll reveal a new DIY food gift that you’ll still have time to make and will keep until the holidays. Check back every day for a new project!
This project only takes about an hour of prep, plus overnight brining. Make a batch ahead of time and store until Christmas. Brine the onions, then pack them into jars with a spiced pickling liquid and process the jars to seal them. These pickled onions will add class to anyone’s home bar set-up.
This is an after-dinner drink that takes about six days of steeping time but keeps for weeks in the freezer until it’s time to give it away. Simply soak fennel fronds and seeds in high-proof alcohol, then add sugar syrup. Fans of ouzo or sambuca will appreciate its licorice-y flavor.
A seasoned salt that only takes about an hour to make. Toss sun-dried tomato pieces with Tabasco and Worcestershire, dry them back out in the oven, then grind with salt and celery seeds. It’s great for rimming a glass of its namesake cocktail, or sprinkled on scrambled eggs.
This supereasy seasoned salt takes 10 minutes of work, plus overnight to dry. A big batch will last well through the holidays. Mix lemon, lime, and orange zest with kosher salt and leave it out to dry. Its bright, fresh flavor is great sprinkled on fish or used as a rub for chicken.
Our recipe for tonic syrup (the primary ingredient in our DIY spiced tonic water project) takes about 40 minutes of work plus two nights of steeping. You’ll mix together aromatic herbs and spices with water and agave syrup and simmer it, then let it infuse. Fancy tonic is all the rage these days—even cooler is to make your own!
It takes about 10 minutes to make this bark, plus time for it to cool, and it lasts three days stored in an airtight container. You’ll melt together chocolate with a toffee bar, mix in pumpkin seeds, then spread it all onto a baking sheet. It has an unexpected bit of heat from cayenne, and is a supereasy project.
This Italian Christmas cake takes five hours, but most of that time is for rising and baking—hands-off stuff. You’ll make a yeasted dough and bake it in a traditional fluted pandoro pan. It’s an impressive gift that is best eaten fresh, so make it the night before you plan to give it away.
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