Seriously though, this is no small cost! So several years ago I decided to make presents for the teachers at a fraction of the cost of bought ones, and each year they are greeted with sincere delight and thanks. Here are some ideas and recipes of home-made edible gifts…
Firstly, a very easy, but terribly delicious bar of chocolate. Hotel Chocolate do a similar chocolate bar for £15, so already we are saving a fortune!
Melt a large block of good quality chocolate. I used Dairy Milk, and poured it into a square tin that has been lined with baking paper. Make sure the chocolate is at least 8mm thick. Bang the tin against a hard surface so the air bubbles in the chocolate rise to the top and burst. You may need to do this a few times.
Now melt two or three pieces of white chocolate and drizzle it over the chocolate. I want to make two bars from my chocolate, so I have left a gap down the middle where I will cut it later. Now use a knife tip to pull the white chocolate in swirls to create a marble effect.
It will take several more hours to dry completely.
When totally dried, peel away from the baking paper and cover with cellophane and add a ribbon.
Cellophane can be bought at craft shops or florists. I always think it is worth being lavish with your cellophane as it gives the appearance of grandeur!
250g Golden Syrup
Over a low heat melt the butter, syrup and sugar until completely melted. Add the oats, mix thoroughly and add to a tin. Cook in a 180 degree oven until almost cooked (abut 25 minutes). The middle should still be soft. Remove and let it cool. Flap Jacks will continue to cook once removed from the oven, so don't over do them!
I made this tray-bake, but had enough mixture to fill a mini muffin tin with rest. I find these little muffin cases great for children's sized bites.
Now for the wrapping:
This small jar is from Ikea for £1. It is such a lovely way to present food like biscuits or these little flap jacks. With a ribbon and a flower they are sweet gift for anyone.
And for the larger pieces of Flap Jack, or any other slice of tray bake, use a long piece of cellophane and a small square of cardboard as a base to wrap them up.
This only has 5 pieces of Flap Jack in but makes a lovely present for a friend.
Kitchen Craft. This pretty baking case is made from silicone coated card and allows you to bake your cake in it.
It kept its shape as I cooked my chocolate cake and once iced, covered in cellophane and decorated with a ribbon and a tag (which I added buttons to), creates a scrummy present for someones birthday.
And the final present is fudge using James Martins recipe.
I used this little wooden box that I bought for a couple of pounds in Hobby craft. I had previously had aspirations to decorate or decoupage the box, but now simply lined the bottom of each section with some tissue paper and placed the fudge on the top. Tissue paper looks pretty but also has the benefit of filling space if you haven't made quite enough fudge! You could do this with homemade truffles or sweets.
It certainly takes longer to make presents than buy them, but it so thoughtful to spend the time making a present, and in wrapping your gift beautifully you are taking pride in what you have done.