Make Ahead Food Gifts

Thinking of creating something special as gifts to give family and friends? Think a bit on what the perfect gift would be to make, send or deliver. One that would bring smiles and some holiday cheer.

Holiday Cookies

It's no secret that food is the way to our hearts and is an underrated way to show someone how much you love them. And whether its a tin of cookies or brownies, a bottle of liqueur or a basket filled with homemade treats, an item that YOU made may be the most anticipated gift you give family and friends.

Holiday Cookies

One of my sisters delicious cookies (almond shortbread) which she makes each year for a cookie exchange. Check out my Cookies, Cookies, Cookies blog post for recipes.

I've personally made all kinds of cookies (hands down chocolate chip and oatmeal are favorites), quick breads and pound cake, jars of jam, and of course granola as food gifts. I've received lemon curd, biscotti, lemon bars, cookies, fruitcake and candied orange peel as gifts, which were all terrific.

1-2-3-4 Pound cake

My friend Ruben waited eagerly each year for a box of homemade cookies. He'd start dropping hints in the fall..."I just know if you make cookies, you'll send me some." Ruben was first introduced to my Moms homemade pound cake and chocolate chip cookies when he and my sister attended City College in New York City. She'd bring these to college and he was forever hooked. 

This year I tried my hand at making vanilla sugar and vanilla extract with the assistance of my sister. Check out my blog post Pat Learns to Make Vanilla Sugar.

Vanilla Sugar

Making Vanilla Sugar

Homemade marshmallows are nothing like store bought. I’ve made them twice and each time I’m reminded how extraordinary they are. These would be great to make with a group of friends. Package them in clear cellophane bags tied with a festive ribbon.

Homemade Marshmallows

There are countless posts about making homemade gifts for the holidays. I've gathered a few links which are probably more than you'll need, but they're fun to read and dream about making for the future.

Make Ahead Food Gifts

Delicious Homemade Food Gift Ideas

Edible Holiday Gifts

40 Homemade Holiday Food Gifts

And finally, fruitcake. Love it or hate it? I like this one.

Using naturally sweetened dried fruits and a curing time of 6 to 7 weeks ensures a beautifully flavored fruitcake that's even tastier than it is infamous. This recipe makes 4 mini loaves for easy gift-giving!

Smart Cookie Fruitcake

Let's not forget the kiddos. Here's a wonderful idea from blogger Candace Boyd of Food Love Tog. These would be great to bring along to a Thanksgiving gathering where children are going to be guests.

Thanksgiving Food Fun for Kids

Whatever you make, make it with love. THAT gift is most appreciated.


Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food and lifestyle company. Pat's Granola is sold online at and is also available at selected Northeast Ohio businesses including:

Troubadour Coffee Roasters

Sports and Spine Physical Therapy

Locle Box

Made Cleveland

Nature's Oasis Lakewood

Happy Cows Group Share Happy Cows Group Share 

Sweet Bean Candies Sweet Bean Candies

The Roaming Biscuit


The Corner at The Van Aken District The Corner at The Van Aken District (12/21) 


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