Home baked cookies, breads and cakes are always a welcome gift and can be quite gratifying for the baker as well. For me, this type of present feels more meaningful because I am actually giving the gift of my time, energy and effort.
Here are my top three budget-friendly bakes for this holiday season:
Bake a few loaves, cool and cut horizontal slices. Remember, how thick you cut determines how many portions you will end up with. If you really want to stretch the servings, cut the horizontal slices in half. This works great when the bread slices are situated with other treats on a tray on in a tin for gifting.
Most thrifty: Leave out the walnuts, except for just a nice sprinkling, a tablespoon or two, of finely chopped walnuts on top of the loaf prior to baking. This gives it a nicely finished look and saves $$.
Still the best bang for your buck, humble, affordable rolled oats are easy to find in any store. The cookie recipe calls for basic pantry staples and can be customized in the same way as homemade granola. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg…use your creativity.
Most thrifty: Leave out the raisins, or cut the amount in half and make them go twice as far.
Who doesn’t have carrots hanging around in the fridge? This is a super-easy, budget friendly recipe that is quite unique and retro–again, using pantry staples to turn out something special.
Most thrifty: Leave out the coconut. The coconut adds a nice textural element, but you wouldn’t miss it if you left it out.
Second most thrifty: Skip the icing. You will still have a nice, mildly sweet, tasty cookie–especially if you left in the coconut.
You may notice there’s no chocolate here. Or peanut butter, or almond extract or nuts. The simpler the recipe, the fewer the ingredients, the less expensive to make. The less expensive to make, the more you can make, the more you can share, the more variety perhaps you can work into your offerings.
The point here is to save money, whether you need to or you just want to.
The real joy of holiday baking for me is in the process. The spirit in which I devote the time, energy, and effort to create gifts to share. And this, my friends, is priceless.
Happy Holidays, however you celebrate!