Season's Eatings! 14 Homemade Holiday Food Gifts

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

DIY gifts are always the most thoughtful — especially the delicious ones! From candied “crack” nuts to 15-minute fudge, here are 14 ways to make the holidays even sweeter.

My husband calls these candied pecans “crack nuts” because they’re madly addictive. The best part? You only need four simple ingredients to make them — and if you start right now, you’ll be done in 15 minutes. GET THE RECIPE

Sweet, orange-scented and chock-full of cranberries and walnuts, this bread is perfect for the holidays. It also freezes well, so you can make several loaves and defrost as the season goes along. GET THE RECIPE

Calling all coconut lovers! These macaroons are delicious plain but even more irresistible dipped in chocolate. They stay fresh for up to a week, making them ideal for gift giving. GET THE RECIPE

Packed in a jar or pretty tin, homemade granola makes the perfect edible gift. This version, inspired by the granola served The Inn at Occidental in Sonoma County, CA, is packed with crispy clusters of old-fashioned oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and toasted coconut. GET THE RECIPE

This is an old family recipe that’s been passed down through the generations. It’s easy — just a bit of mixing and stirring and, in about an hour, you’ll have a house smelling of sweet autumn spices and two scrumptious, pumpkiny loaves. GET THE RECIPE

Caramel corn is easy to make at home and you don’t need a giant copper kettle or even a candy thermometer to make it. There’s only one problem: it’s utterly addictive. Seriously, don’t make this stuff unless you have the willpower of a saint or many friends to share it with! GET THE RECIPE

My son calls these biscotti “crunchy brownies.” It’s an apt description: biscotti are twice-baked cookies made intentionally dry and crunchy for dunking into coffee or tea, and these are made with a double dose of chocolate. When you dunk them in coffee or milk, they soften, becoming rich, chocolaty and decadent. GET THE RECIPE

Baked in large rounds to resemble the sun and cut into wedges, shortbread is traditionally served in Scotland on winter solstice, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. It’s wonderful with coffee or tea any time of day — and kids love it as much as grown-ups. GET THE RECIPE

A homemade bundt cake makes a lovely holiday gift — especially when it’s soaked in butter and rum! This recipe is a from-scratch version of the famous doctored-up Duncan Hines rum cake that my grandmother used to make. GET THE RECIPE

Mandel bread is a traditional Jewish cookie similar to biscotti. The difference is that it’s made with more oil or butter, so the resulting cookie is a bit richer and softer. You don’t need to dip it in coffee or tea to enjoy it — it’s delicious all on it’s own! GET THE RECIPE

The bread is tender and sweet-scented with a gorgeous ribbon of melted chocolate running through it that complements the banana flavor perfectly. Plus, it’s fun to make: you spoon the banana and chocolate batters into a loaf pan alternately, then artistically swirl the two together with a knife. GET THE RECIPE

From my upcoming cookbook, Once Upon a Chef, The Cookbook, these ginger cookies are a real crowd pleaser. Every year, my daughter and I bake them for her holiday bake sale and every year, they sell like hotcakes. Soft and chewy with a crackled sugar crust, they have just the right balance of spices to please kids and adults alike. GET THE RECIPE

If you’re a fan of pecan pie, you’ll love these pecan squares. A buttery shortbread crust and rich caramel-pecan topping make them truly over-the-top — the perfect hostess gift, treat for your co-workers or potluck dessert this time of year. GET THE RECIPE

If you’ve ever watched traditional fudge being made in a candy shop, you know it’s fickle: it must be heated and cooled to precise temperatures and then stirred “just so” to ensure success. That’s why I LOVE this Chocolate-Walnut Fudge from America’s Test Kitchen. Not only is it foolproof, it’s finished in 15 minutes! GET THE RECIPE