Homemade gifts don’t always get the best rap—mostly thanks to the boring jarred cookie mixes that were all the rage a decade ago and are probably still collecting dust in your pantry. But that doesn’t mean a DIY edible present can’t be cool. It’s just important to make sure what you’re doling out to everyone on your list will get used. Think: flavored salts, preserved lemons, and caramel sauce that’s good enough to eat by the spoonful.
This year, skip the chocolate bark and the fruitcake in favor of one of these seven innovative gifts. Options like cocktail bitters for the aspiring bartender and finishing salts for that friend who has gotten really into watching cooking videos on YouTube make for presents that are sure to please.
Store-bought curry powders are fine, but only homemade ones like this one from Minimalist Baker deserve to be gifted. Pair it with these cute inexpensive spoons from Diaspora for a quick and colorful stocking stuffer.
This recipe from How Sweet Eats will show you how to make not one, but four different cocktail bitters. They include dark and rich flavors like chocolate, which will make a great addition to any and all whiskey drinks, as well as light and fruity options for anything from a spritz to sangria. Gift it alongside one of these adorable cocktail stirrers and watch your friends go wild.
Salted Dark Caramel
No need to buy someone caramel when you could make this recipe from The Faux Martha instead—and with just four ingredients! Suggest your giftee use it over all different kinds of desserts, in their morning coffee, or even by the spoonful. And pair it with something that scoops like this cute silicone spatula. That way, they can dig right in.
Mini Brie and Jam Pie
Unlike some of the others on this list, this gift from Lady and Pups is one that’s meant to be eaten and enjoyed right away—or at least within a week. Whoever you give it to, be sure they know to keep it in the fridge and to bake it before eating for the ooiest-gooiest results. Give them stylish cheese knives, too, to make their experience even more enjoyable.
Flavored Finishing Salts
This guide from Love and Olive Oil breaks down how to make rose petal–, blueberry-, and Meyer lemon–flavored salts, but you can use it as a blueprint for infusing salt with whatever flavor you want. Heck, you could even make an individualized flavor for each of your friends, plus add one of these marble salt cellars, because of course.
We all have a friend (or many) who is totally obsessed with tea, and nothing could be more thoughtful than making them a tea blend from scratch. This recipe in particular from Country Cleaver will show you how to make five different blends, and the tools and know-how to improvise from there. Gift it with this nifty tea steeper for a present they’ll never forget.
Preserved lemons like these from My Darling Lemon Thyme aren’t the best food gift for everyone—only zealous home cooks will truly appreciate how great they are. In case your giftee isn’t sure how to use them—though, if they cook a lot, they probably are—suggest they chop the lemons to punch up everything from salad dressing to stews.