I love gifting my baked yummies to friends and family. It’s delicious, thoughtful and on top of that, budget-friendly. But what treats make good gifts and how can they be packaged to create pretty bundles of happy surprises? Well, here are some tips and ideas that I’ve created using Smart & Final products that are simple and take just a little time to put together. If you would like a better view of the step-by-step images, please click on the pictures to enlarge.
First rule of food gifts – make your treats the center of attention by having them visible through the packaging. Why hide something that is so visually appealing? Cookies make great gifts, especially the perfectly round ones that stack so well on top of one another. For these Pecan Sandies, I decided that a clear bakery & food service bag would do the trick. To add some sturdiness and keep the cookies from tumbling over, cut a thick, rectangular piece of cardstock to be placed at the bottom of the bag before stacking your cookies. Then connect the ends of 2 twist ties to make a long fastener. Place the twist tie at the top of the bag, fold the extra plastic around the twist tie all the way down and bend the ends of the twist tie over the sides of the bag. Finish this easy bag of goodies with nice decorative cardstock and a message. So easy!
Second rule of food gifts – it doesn’t always have to be sweet. When gifting food, try something a little different like roasted, salted pistachios. These are so yummy and still a little fancy so they make perfect gifts. For this package, I used a soup container and lid. I admit, I did waste a single container to make the template that would be used to outline and cut cardstock to wrap around the container and be sealed with glue dots. But I think it was worth it for this nicely updated container. After filling the container with pistachios (make sure the pretty colorful nuts are on top), use a circle cutter to cut a hole in the lid while leaving at least a 1/2-inch border from the edge of the lid. Using a clear bakery & food service bag, cut a circle slightly larger than the hole of the lid and adhere with glue. Once the glue is dry, close the filled container with the lid. Using ribbon with the same thickness of the lid and a gift tag, tie a bow tight enough so the ribbon stays securely around the lid. Voilà! I fancy little gift of pistachios.
Third rule of food gifts – colorful and unique foods are always fun to receive. French macarons are the perfect example of this rule. They are so colorful and tasty, but rarely are enjoyed, so it’s even more fun to receive them as a surprise. So for these sandwiched treats, a small paper food tray is a great way to display the different cookies and fillings. Begin by disassembling a food tray and gluing the exterior of the tray to some pretty cardstock. Place a book on top and allow time for the glue to dry. Once dry, cut the four slits that were original to the tray and reassemble to its previous form using glue or glue dots (I like the glue dots because I don’t have to wait for it to dry). Fill the tray with all-purpose dry wax paper, place the macarons in the container and use a clear bakery & food service bag to wrap the tray. Add a message tag along with a twist tie for a finished package of goodies.
Fourth and final rule of food gifts – keep it simple. Sometimes the best treats to gift are those that are nostalgic. When packaging simpler items, make sure your decorations are minimal; this will give your gift the classic look that should be paired with a simple yet delicious desserts like bite-sized brownies. Fill a plastic deli container with your brownies. Before sealing the container with your lid, take a strip of fabric or ribbon that is slightly longer than the diameter of the lid and wrap it over the top, folding the excess material under the lid. Close the container with your lid; the fabric or ribbon will naturally tighten when the container is sealed for a nice look. Finish by adding a simple tag on top with a message.
Now, if you’ve made it this far in my post, you’ll get to enjoy this bonus recipe. 🙂
Eggless Double Chocolate Espresso Brownies
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp espresso grounds
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine 1/3 cup of the flour with water in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture is thick like gravy. Set the flour mixture aside to cool completely. (This can be placed in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling.)
Melt the butter and stir in the cocoa powder. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 cups of flour with the baking powder and espresso grounds.
Using a whisk, beat the sugar, salt and vanilla into the cooled flour mixture; then mix in the cocoa mixture. Now, add this cocoa mixture to the whisked flour and stir until everything is combined. Fold the milk chocolate chips into the batter.
Spread the brownie batter in the prepared baking pan evenly, sprinkle with nuts if you’d like and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan. Cut into 18 brownies.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed all the goodies I’ve share today and will be able to make fanciful food gifts for your loved ones. Make sure to check out your local Smart & Final for great packaging products that you can easily transform to match your personality like I did. If you use any of my tips, please share your link with me. I’d loved to see your creation.
Before I go, here is another something special just for you!
Now through September 20th, Smart & Final is giving away 10 $200 American Express Gift Checks, 10 $100 American Express Gift Checks and 20 First Street bags filled with First Street products and a $50 SmartCash card. Simply purchase one participating First Street item at your local Smart & Final and receive a unique code on your receipt. Then go to http://www.FirstStreetGrandEvent.com and submit the code to be entered to win!
For more information about Smart & Final, visit their Facebook page and follow @SmartFinal on Twitter. You can also find more details about the First Street Grand Event by searching #FirstStreetGrand on Twitter.
This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias. All opinions are my own.