These Southern homemade food gifts, complete with charming packaging and thoughtful details, will put a smile on anyone's face! Give them to your hostess, family members, or close friends
Lemon-Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread
These little loaves freeze (and thaw) wonderfully, so keep them on hand by the bushelful for last-minute gifts. Package the bread in a pint-size wood berry box from thinkgarnish.com (75 cents each) for rustic charm. Add high style for low cost by wrapping the loaves with fabric scraps. (We used a Bed, Bath & Beyond curtain panel, torn and frayed at the edges.) Tie on our downloadable gift tag with embroidery thread for a pretty finish.
Prepare batches of this spicy gift and divvy it up by the cupful. It's the perfect base for pork butts, ribs and more. And these small jars make charming gift wrap—they come with a wooden spoon, just right for dipping out spices. Find them at Hobby Lobby ($2.67 each).
Wickles Wicked Okra
Pick up a jar of Wickles Wicked Okra (made in Dadeville, Alabama) for the picnic-loving pal. This sweet-and-spicy pickled okra is just right next to a plate of barbecue or on the rim of a Bloody Mary; $5. simsfoods.com
Coffee Cake Pound Cake
Resolve to think beyond a ho-hum box of chocolates for a food gift. Instead, pass on this sweet treat, which marries two Southern specialties, coffee cake and pound cake, to create one buttery, best-of-both-worlds dessert.
Recipe: Coffee Cake Pound Cake
Vidalia Onion & Peach Relish
You will need a canner, jar lifter, and canning rack. Look for a 9- or 12-piece canning kit, which will include all of these pieces and more.
Get this look by using decorative craft paper and homemade gift tags. They add a touch of charm to canned gifts—slip a serving spoon into the twine for extra thoughtfulness.
- Recipe: Vidalia Onion & Peach Relish
Buttery shortbread and sweet toffee and chocolate make a delicious combination in this treat. Package some up in a dazzling container for a great, personable gift.
Recipe: Pecan-Toffee Shortbread
Ice Cream Scooper
Be sweet and pair this scoop with a pint of your favorite ice cream. The ice-cream parlor staple was invented in 1935 by Sherman Kelly while vacationing in West Palm Beach, Florida. Heat from your hand warms this water-filled handle to soften ice cream as you scoop. from $18.50; zeroll.com
Recipe: Pecan-Pumpkin Bread
For a charming fall gift that's more inspired than a bottle of wine, wrap a loaf of our moist Pecan-Pumpkin Bread in a pretty fall-inspired tea towel.
Apple-Pie Infused Bourbon
Recipe: Apple Pie-Infused Bourbon
Turn a plain bottle of hooch into a top-shelf indulgence, infused with sweet autumn ﬂavor. At 7 ounces, these cute corked bottles are the perfect size for gifts ($2.09 each; specialtybottle.com). You can also use mini mason jars or any other food-safe glass container with a lid.
Benne Seed Soft Pretzel
For a new twist on a hostess gift, try these buttery knots inspired by the Lowcountry. Pack pretzels in a decorative box or basket that the hostess can reuse, and line it with fabric. Mini country Dijon mustard jars (at worldmarket.com) round out the gift. Secure our custom label to a small wooden spreader ($19 for 4; table-matters.com).
Because a good Southerner doesn't let guests leave empty-handed. Recycled cardboard drink containers make perfect car carriers for the ride home—just stash a cellophane-wrapped snack in each slot. We gave our container a coat of white spray paint, glued on scrap fabric, and affixed a custom "Happy Trails!" label to the front.
Shortbread Cookie Sampler
Recipe: Chocolate-Peppermint Bars Recipe: Bourbon-Pecan Snowflakes Recipe: Cinnamon-Orange Squares Recipe: Sweet Potato-Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies Recipe: Key Lime Star Recipe: Cherry-Chocolate Thumbprints
Buttery bites make for well-received packages. We used a 9- × 6-inch box and inserted individual white treat boxes as dividers ($8 for six at kmart.com)
Pound Cake Truffles Sampler
These sweet little gems—our update on the ubiquitous cake ball—fit perfectly in 4-inch square jewelry boxes with mini cupcake liners (both found at crafts stores)
Cheese Straw Sampler
Wrap these savory bites in a fabric-lined 9- × 4 1/2-inch box. Make dividers out of corrugated paper or lightweight cardboard.
Hoppin' John Soup
3 Fresh Spring Vinaigrettes
Bottomless Vanilla Extract
Easy homemade vanilla extract is the gift that keeps on giving. Choose bourbon or vodka as your base, then let the vanilla bean do the work. The longer it steeps, the better the flavor.