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Christina

Easy Edible Gift Ideas. Plus, A Recipe For To-Die-For Chocolate Chip Espresso Loaf

Is everyone as behind as I am with the holiday shopping this year? I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the fact that this year I have two kids instead of one or maybe it’s just because I dread going into stores this time of year. I love giving gifts, I just hate the chaos that is shopping around the holidays. Regardless…I still have a lot of presents to get and the thought it can be quite overwhelming.

You too?

Glad I’m not alone.

Lucky for you (and me), I have a plan!

This year, to minimize my stress level and help me check quite a few people off of my (ever growing) list, I decided to make a lot more edible gifts. Handmade gifts are always a hit, especially when prettily packaged. And let’s face it, baking up a big batch of cookies, jam or even quick bread can be way more cost effective and a whole lot less stressful than braving the lines at the stores. Plus, a handmade or edible gift, always seems more personal and more thoughtful than a gift card or money. I find that edible gifts are especially great as hostess presents and you can never have enough of those around this time of year. They are the perfect gift for the people in your life that you want to thank but you don’t know really well like teachers, mail people, doctors, babysitters, crossing guards, etc… And if you aren’t sure of their particular tastes, as long as you stick to something relatively neutral ie; cookies or candy, chances are, even if they don’t care for it, they can use it to entertain their own guests.

Some of my favorite Edible Gift Recipe Ideas:

Not Just Chocolate Chip Cookies- These babies are a delicious combination of sweet and salty thanks to some super secret ingredients (shh….pretzels and potato chips!).

Easy Orange Cranberry Sauce- A gift for the host/hostess who’s having Christmas dinner. It’s perfect alongside a Christmas turkey. Place the sauce inside a mason jar and tie with a pretty ribbon.

Homemade “Instant” Hot Chocolate Three Ways- The weather is getting colder and who couldn’t use a stash of yummy hot chocolate?

Espresso Marshmallows- Perfect gifted with the above hot chocolate or all on their own. Theses handmade marshmallows are easy to make and look and taste so gourmet.

Mini Butternut Squash Marshmallows-This recipe makes a whopping 72 muffins!! Toss a bunch of them into cellophane bags, tie with ribbon, add a tag and you have at least 3 or 4 edible gifts, ready to hand out.

This quick bread is perfect for the coffee and the chocolate lovers because, well, it has BOTH!!! The recipe makes two loaves and good thing because you’ll want to keep one for yourself.  It’s sweet but not too sweet, making it perfect for breakfast, snack or dessert. Wrap it up in some brown paper or waxed paper (see above) and tie it with a pretty ribbon and you are good to go. I had a little fun with the decorating and added a cheap dollar store fake flower and a Christmas ornament to show as embellishments to make it more festive and show you some possibilities for packaging. Have fun with it. Use what you have and customize it to the occasion. Don’t forget to attach a small tag and write a little note to the recipient and you are good to go. Happy Holidays!

Chocolate Chip Espresso Loaf

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3 tablespoons instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 9×5-inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter on high until light and fluffy. Turn speed to medium and stream in sugar and then the vanilla. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn mixer back onto the medium setting and add in each egg, one at a time, then the sour cream. Mix until well combined. With the speed of the mixer on low, pour in the dry ingredients. Stop the mixer and fold in the the chocolate chips by hand.

3. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove the pan from the oven and put it on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and place it on the rack to finish cooling. Each loaf makes 10 servings.

Christina Stanley-Salerno is a mama, recipe developer, food stylist, photographer and blogger atTakeBackYourTable.com. She loves cooking for and with her family. Life is hectic, but Christina is passionate about mealtime because she believes that family meals are the glue that holds everyone together. Creating simple, quick and healthy meals is her specialty and her trick to keeping the family meal a reality, even on busy weeknights.

Follow her on Twitter @TakeBackTables

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