Goodies for Gifting

Share these homemade treats with loved ones this holiday season.

Recipes and Styling by Sarah McCullen | Photographed by Joe Worthem

Sweet and savory, these snacks can be cleverly packaged and gifted to family, friends, neighbors, teachers and others as a special way to express gratitude and share holiday joy.

Grampaw’s Pecans

After making his famous pie using the bounty from the pecan tree in his backyard, my grandfather roasted the remaining nuts to keep them from going to waste. Now, they’re one of our family favorites.

3 cups pecan halves

5 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F. Toss pecans with melted butter and Worcestershire sauce, and then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until fragrant, about 30 minutes.

Everything Bagel Crackers

Introducing your new favorite way to use “everything bagel” spice mix. These homemade crackers are a buttery, cheesy, salty dream.

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

4 tablespoons heavy cream

3 tablespoons everything bagel seasoning

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a food processor, add flour, butter, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and, if desired, cayenne pepper, and pulse until just combined. Add cheeses, pulsing a few more times, and then add heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition. Form dough into a ball, then divide ball in half. Using a rolling pin, roll 1 dough ball between 2 sheets of parchment paper until dough is about 1/16-inch thick. Sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning, pressing slightly so it sticks. Then, using a knife, cut dough into 1½-inch squares. Place on baking sheet, and bake until golden and fragrant, 20-25 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough ball.

Life of the Party Mix

One more handful is never enough of this bold, sweet and spicy nut-free snack mix.

3 cups rye bagel chips

3 cups pretzel sticks

3 cups cheddar cheese crackers

3 cups wheat cereal squares

3 cups rice cereal squares

¾ cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

½ cup honey

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 250°F. In a large bowl, stir together chips, pretzels, crackers and cereal. Stir together butter, Worcestershire sauce and honey in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine spices. Sprinkle half of spice mixture over cereal mixture.

Drizzle half of butter mixture over cereal, then stir to combine. Sprinkle with remaining seasoning, then drizzle with remaining butter mixture, and stir to combine. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet, and bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring halfway though. Transfer to parchment paper, and let cool completely.

Peanut Butter Breakfast Bark

This protein-packed granola crumbles into crunchy clusters with a subtle sweetness that mimics peanut butter cookies.

6 tablespoons natural peanut butter

¼ cup honey

2 cups uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a microwavable bowl, combine peanut butter and honey, and microwave until bubbly, 30-45 seconds. Add oats, salt, cinnamon and vanilla, and stir to combine. On a greased rimmed baking sheet, spread the oat mixture in an even layer, pressing gently. (Mixture should be well-packed to create clusters.) Bake until golden and fragrant, 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheet, and then break apart.

Merry Mix

This gluten-free popcorn snack combines classic flavors of caramel, dark chocolate and salty peanuts for a decadent dessert-like treat.

½ cup butter

1 cup light brown sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

¼ heaping teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 bags popped natural popcorn

1 cup dark chocolate chips

½ cup caramel-filled chocolate chunks

½ cup salted peanuts

Preheat oven to 300°F, and grease a large baking sheet. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, and add brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, and boil, stirring, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in baking soda and vanilla. Place popcorn in a large bowl, and drizzle with sugar mixture, tossing to combine. Spread popcorn mixture on baking sheet, and bake

45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread popcorn on parchment paper. In a microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips until melted, stirring every 20 seconds, about 1 minute. Drizzle chocolate over popcorn, then top with caramel-filled chocolate chunks and peanuts. Let cool.

Gift Packaging Tips

Use the gift-wrapping tips below to make these sweet and savory goodies even more special:

· Repurpose vintage Christmas cookie tins as gift boxes.

· Pack multiple treats into a cardboard container that has a divider to separate the snacks.

· Write on a magnolia leaf with a silver paint marker to make a gift tag.

· Tie natural elements such as evergreen branches or pinecones onto bows and ribbons for simple seasonal flair.

· Pack snacks in a Mason jar tied with ribbon or a cute coffee mug wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow.

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