Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

By
April Carter
Added
05 February, 2014

What better way to say 'I love you' than with a handmade gift? And an edible handmade gift really, ah, takes the cake. April Carter, author of trEATs, shares her tips and tricks for making beautiful and delicious gifts for any occasion.

One of my favourite things about baking is getting to share what I’ve made. Whether it’s a gift to say thank you, a way of celebrating happy news or something sweet to cheer up a friend, thoughtful, beautifully presented trEATs that taste as good as they look have a way of making people feel happy. Of course, you also get to sample lots of different recipes without the temptation of eating the whole batch yourself!

Most of us don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen, so with that in mind you’ll find plenty of simple and quick recipes in this book that don’t use too many different ingredients. My White Chocolate & Pistachio Popcorn recipe can be put together just before you go out, Gingerbread Bats can be baked in advance and decorated later, and Pomegranate & Vanilla Vodka can be made a couple of weeks ahead. Everyone appreciates the time that goes into making something lovely at home, even if it’s just an hour squeezed in at the weekend or a late-night baking session after work.

After all of your effort in the kitchen, it’s really fun to show off your trEATs with beautiful packaging and presentation. I always think that simple is best when it comes to food packaging and that you don’t need anything too fussy or expensive. I keep a good supply of baker’s twine in three different colours, some baking paper, medium-sized cellophane bags and some deli-style paper bags for keeping things flat. 

How to style your handmade gifts 

Beautiful styling can make such a difference. By thinking about how to package up your trEATs you’ll not only make sure that they get to their destination in one piece, but you can turn your batch of simple popcorn or cheese straws into a thoughtful and stylish gift.

When it comes to choosing packaging you don’t need to buy anything too expensive. Try to keep some baking paper, baker’s twine, cellophane bags and an empty jar or two to hand and you’ll be covered for most edible gifts.

Chocolate salami

Looking out for deli-style paper bags, cartons and cake boxes means that you won’t be stuck carrying empty cake tins home at the end of an evening. A cake box tied with string like an old-fashioned parcel is one of the best ways of keeping cakes flat whether you’re travelling by car or public transport. Patisserie bags with wide bases are useful for keeping boxes the right way up, and cotton tote bags can be folded away for the journey home.

If you’re making something for a special present, try to find vintage tins, unusual boxes or even egg cartons to package your trEATs in. Line boxes and tins with baking, craft or tissue paper and separate individual cakes and biscuits with cupcake cases or squares of baking paper.

Personalise your trEATs by hand-writing a message on a parcel tag tied with ribbon or string, or take a tip from artisan bakeries and use a rubber stamping set to print the name of the trEAT or person it’s intended for directly onto the paper, box or bag. Making labels for your cakes, biscuits and foodie gifts is a great excuse to buy nice stationery.

Oatcakes with Pink Peppercorns

Pairing different gifts can be a really fun way to give food too. Think about packaging up some Oatcakes with Pink Peppercorns with an artisan cheese, or Currant Scones with some jam. Look out for unusual boxes or tins and make up your own cookie selection – try arranging Tiny Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies on one side of the tin with Blackberry and Vanilla Linzer Cookies on the other. Or make sweet suggestions for how to eat each trEAT; one of the simplest and most personal foodie gifts that I’ve received was some dark wasabi-flavoured chocolate with a hand-written note on it that said ‘to be enjoyed with your evening green tea’ – one of my favourite drinks to have with chocolate. 

Most of all, have fun baking, making and sharing, and remember to keep a few trEATs for yourself as well.

Check out more edible gifts from trEATs by April Carter.

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