I have been making my own Christmas presents for a long time. The vote for absolute favourite goes to chocolate truffles, which are often simply requested long before festive season is on the horizon.
They are easy to make from readily available ingredients, the recipe can accommodate any type of gluten free chocolate you prefer, either very dark and bitter or more sweet milk chocolate. The better ingredients you use, the better final product will be. These truffles are also a convenient present, which can be made up to three weeks ahead, and stored refrigerated in air tight container. Chocolate truffles can be presented informally on a plate, or packed in commercially available of self-made chocolate boxes.
I use the mixture of 2 different dark chocolates and French brandy – Calvados, in case I make alcohol version, but it is optional. I use pure cocoa powder for final dusting, but the choices for other dusting ingredients are unlimited, any finely chopped nuts or shredded coconut can be used, especially with milk chocolate. The recipe can be found here.
There are two more truffle versions I make. The first is healthier chocolate truffles, made with cooked red lentils and plenty other healthy ingredients. They still have deep chocolate taste and soft creamy texture, melting in your mouth, but with less calories. The recipe is here.
The second option in healthy range is chia truffles with other seeds, dried fruits and nuts, but without chocolate as an ingredient. The recipe was developed to accommodate specific list of ingredients, where lentils and cocoa are not permitted.
These healthy truffles can be made 1-2 weeks in advance with the same options for presentation. However, you have to be careful with the balance of coconut flour and cinnamon to make dusting mixture. If too much coconut flour is used, truffles become very dry when stored, especially if the container they are in is not sealed. I had to reuse some of these truffles to make a spread by adding more wet ingredients at the last minute, because I used more coconut flour, and it made truffles very dry, by absorbing a lot of moisture out of them.
The second popular vote goes to orange chocolates. Some of my friends like them even better than chocolate truffles. They are also not difficult to make. The only issue is to select gluten free chocolate which is more liquid or runny and not too thick when melted. With thick chocolate the coating is harder to shake off, and chocolates become chunky with too thick chocolate layers covering orange slice.
I use paper cases for mini muffins for orange chocolates presentation and place them vertically in deep boxes.
Variety of gluten free biscuits make delicious and beautiful presents, both in transparent bags, different size boxes or tins. All recipes, with specific tips for different biscuits, are published previously, and I will just mention the type of biscuits which are the best for presents, because of their appearances and minimal changes to taste and texture with storage.
Orange biscuits have sophisticated taste, but are easy to make. The main component for these biscuits is shortcrust pastry. Orange marmalade, pistachio nuts and Demerara sugar can be changed for any other similar ingredients of your choice.
Tuile biscuits are my choice for biscuit presents this year. I like them for their delicate and crunchy texture, that is kept indefinitely with storage, if Well and Good plain flour is used as one of the ingredients. They can be made using traditional Tuile templates, but also as free range shapes, which makes the process less demanding, but biscuits the same enjoyable taste and texture.
If you try to impress and ready to make a substantial effort, you can make a box of Genovesi dough biscuits. They look spectacular, but do not retain their texture with storage. They taste best in 2-3 days, and I do not recommend to make them even a week before.
Orange Marmalade and Orange Peel look very festive and are handy present for any occasion. They can be made well ahead, and kept in a pantry for many weeks. It is also very easy to present marmalade jars just by using the same wrapping paper as you do for other presents.
Orange marmalade and peel can be also made as a sugar free option with honey or other natural sweeteners. It makes especially nice present for people who are sensitive to any additives and preservatives. By simply using organic oranges and honey you can make delicious marmalade or jam to be enjoyed without any reservations.
Finally, two more substantial gluten free presents: fast and easy apple cinnamon and raisin loaf cake and fruit cake, demanding more ingredients and more time to make. They both are very tasty, and can be kept up to a week before given as a present. They both look very festive and can be presented either wrapped, or on a disposable cake tray, or even on a wooden chopping board, included as a present, too.
All I can say, that with a little effort you can make a delicious present for family and friends to be much appreciated. I am absolutely sure, that it will be tastier, healthier, and will cost you less, compared to any gluten free present you can buy.
Good luck and all the best for festive season preparations!
New recipes, published during the year, suitable for Christmas presents.
Jaffa cakes my this year favourite for presents.