5 DIY Foods That Can Play Double-Duty as Really Cool Gifts

By Jane Poretsky & Debra Liu

from me to youFinding the perfect presents for your friends and family can be tough (and expensive!). This year, why not save some of your hard earned money and make some delicious presents yourself? Handcrafted gifts made with love will make your mother proud. Here are some great gift ideas:

(1) Swirled Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Bark
Chocolate Bark

Ingredients: 12 oz each: white chocolate, dark chocolate, sprinkles of your choice (we used red ones),3-5 drops of red food coloring, 1 tsp mint extract (optional for peppermint flavored bark)


  1. Prepare a double-boiler to melt the chocolate.
  2. Separate white chocolate in half, and then put each half (6oz) into a small heat-proof bowl. Pour the dark chocolate in another bowl.
  3. Melt each bowl of chocolate over the double boiler or in the microwave (30 second increments, mixing in between).
  4. Add red food coloring and mint extract(if using) to one bowl of white chocolate.
  5. Pour the dark chocolate as a base onto a parchment-lined baking sheet that is relatively flat with short edges. We used a Pyrex in our video but it made removal more challenging. Use a thin spatula or the back of a spoon to spread out the dark chocolate base. It should be about 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Next add the white chocolate, and spread it thin. Be careful not to overspread so it stays white. Finally, pour pink chocolate over and repeat the same process. Use a fork to swirl all the chocolate together. Make sure the thickness does not exceed 1/2 of an inch, or else it won’t break apart. You need a large baking tray. If you are using something that is fairly small (8X13), you can halve the recipe.
  7. Sprinkle the chocolate with red sprinkles or desired toppings (dried fruits, nuts, etc) and set in the fridge until it has firmly set. This usually takes about 30-60 minutes.
  8. Once it has fully cooled, remove the chocolate from the fridge and break it apart into jagged pieces. Enjoy!
  9. To gift this bark, place it into a nice cellophane bag and tie with festively colored ribbons. Voila!

We’ll be posting a video on how to make Chocolate Bark soon so be on the look out!

(2) Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles (Photo Credit: Food Network)
Chocolate Truffles (Photo Credit: Food Network)

Ingredients: 11 oz bittersweet chocolate (I like Valrhona), 2/3 cup heavy cream, cocoa powder for dusting (use high-quality dutch processed)


  1. Chop the chocolate and place it into a large, heatproof bowl.
  2. Bring cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate.
  3. Stir with a whisk in concentric circles until the ganache is smooth and lump-free.
  4. Let the mixture stand until it has come to room temperature. Use a spoon or mini ice cream scooper to take out small rounds of the hardened ganache. Wearing latex gloves, rub it briefly between your hands to form a small ball. Do this until there is no more chocolate.
  5. Lay the chocolate truffles on a large, clean surface and use a sifter to dust cocoa powder over them.
  6. Keep them in the fridge for up to two weeks, although we know they won’t last that long outside of your mouth!
  7. For gifting, we recommend placing the truffles in a single layer, in a pretty tin. Make sure to line the bottom with some sort of tissue or waxy parchment paper.

(3) Chai Tea Mix in a Jar

Chai Tea Mix in a Jar
Chai Tea Mix in a Jar (Photo: Myrecipes.com)

Ingredients: 1 cup non-fat dry milk powder, 1 cup non-dairy powdered coffee creamer, 1 1/2 cups french vanilla non-dairy coffee creamer, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups unsweetened instant tea, 2 teaspoons ginger, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon clove, 1 teaspoon clove, 1 teaspoon cardamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg,  1 teaspoon allspice


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a blender.
  2. Put in jar. Decorate jar with ribbons and tags.
  3. Now, go give to your friends!

(4) Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar

Cookie Mix in a Mason Jar (Photo: Putitinajar.com)

Ingredients: 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar


  1. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  2. Place flour mixture in 1-quart jar. Layer remaining ingredients in order listed above, pressing firmly after each layer.
  3. Seal with lid and decorate with fabric and ribbon. Now, give to your friends!
  4. Attach this RECIPE to the jar:  Preheat oven to 375° F. Beat 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter, 1 large egg and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until blended. Add cookie mix and mix well, breaking up any clumps. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 – 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

(5) Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract
Homemade Vanilla Extract (Photo: reclaimingprovincial.com)

Ingredients: 5 whole vanilla beans, any type of alcohol (vodka is most common but bourbon, run or brandy can also be used), glass jar or bottle with cap. (Ratio: about 5 beans per 1 cup of alcohol)


  1. Split the beans lengthwise and place into bottle, pour enough alcohol to cover beans.
  2. Close jar/bottle and store in a cool, dry place for at least 8 weeks. Shake the bottle, at least once per week.
  3. To give as gift, you can add a ribbon to it!

Are you ready to make some awesome handmade presents that your friends and family will absolutely adore? Yeah, you are. Let us know how people like ’em!

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com


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