How to make a last-minute Christmas hamper

Have you left your present buying until the last minute? Worry not – we have ideas for simple and speedy edible gifts.

How to make a last-minute Christmas hamper

It’s mid-December and you still haven’t bought your Christmas presents. You’ve missed online shopping deadlines, actual shops are closing all around you and panic is setting in – it’s happened to the best of us.  By this point, the idea of making traditional preserves or home-infused spirits are far flung notions best dismissed from the off, but it is possible to make your own gifts with only days to spare. Read on for ideas on how to create edible gifts at the eleventh hour.

Snappy sweets

CaramelsNow’s the time to employ cheats and plenty of them. These smart caramels are ready in five mere minutes. Pick up a pack of caramels from your local shop and utlilise storecupboard sea salt. If it’s too late to pick up the gold lustre spray, make up for it with pretty presentation. Greaseproof paper is your friend  neatly fold it into a sturdy parcel, or gather it in a rustic fashion and tie with a ribbon. If it’s good enough for artisan producers, it’s good enough for us.

A bowl of melted chocolate goes a long way. We love these pretzel bites - just stir cranberries and smashed pretzels into melted chocolate, spoon into mounds and leave them to set. The pretzel-crushing stage is particularly good for letting out that gift-based tension.

Nutty chocolate crunchFridge cakes can be whipped up using much the same method. This tiffin contains a mix of biscuits, nuts and fruit, and once nestled in the cold chamber it’ll set in two hours. Sticky stem ginger works beautifully as an ingredient too - if you like the spice of life, try these chocolate & ginger refrigerator squares

These pretty lollipops (above) use candy canes rather cleverly arranged into heart shapes and oven cooked until malleable enough to seal together. The set white chocolate centre festooned with edible sprinkles couldn’t be easier to achieve.

Clever gift jars

Rifle in the back of your cupboards for empty Kilner jars – or failing that, recycle used jam jars and cover the tops with pretty fabric secured with ribbon. Then, get to work on creating an assemble-only jar. Lavender flowers can be bought dried in jars and impact their flavour into sugar in quick time.

Cookie jarAlternatively, put together a jar of baking ingredients so your recipient can get stuck into a cooking project in those lazy days between Christmas and new year. These layered gingerbread and cookie jars contain all the ingredients needed to make delicious homemade biscuits. Don’t forget to include a tag with cooking instructions.

If you’re stuck for something to give children, these hot chocolate jars with edible snowmen are as cute as a button.

Crafty kits

Bespoke cooking kits couldn’t be easier to assemble. This mulled wine box contains all the ingredients you need to infuse wine to perfection, including a clove-studded orange and muslin bag of spices. Pick up a really good bottle of red to finish things off.

CamembertIf you have a fromage-loving friend, this camembert kit with boozy sultanas will be received with open arms. Again, don’t scrimp on the cost of the main component – there are plenty of fine Continental cheeses on offer in supermarkets in the run-up to Christmas.

Instant preserves

You’ll only need 15 minutes and two apples to prepare this storecupboard relish. Ideally it should be left for two or three days to infuse, so if you don’t have this amount of time on your side, go for a simple jam instead – this raspberry wonder is ready in under half an hour. As berries aren’t in season, head to the freezer aisle to find frozen fruit galore.

Feeling hot, hot, hot

Never underestimate the power of chilli. While usually infused spirits take months to come fully up to flavour, hot and spicy chillies will do the job in a few hours. This vodka is flavoured with chopped chilli, while for presentation a whole version is placed into the bottle.

Truffle shuffle

TrufflesChocolate truffles are the ultimate speedy sweet. The trick is perfecting your rolling technique – watch our video then get to work flexing those palms. If you don’t want to cover yourself in cocoa, use an ice cream scoop or teaspoon to help.

Go classic, or experiment with flavours – we’re big fans of a chocolate-chilli combination.  Don’t forget to coat them in something appealing. Try chopped nuts, desiccated coconut or colourful sprinkles. If you want to add a childlike kitsch charm to the truffle blueprint, try these bitesize snowballs packed with cake, biscuits, marshmallow and more.

For more present inspiration visit our Christmas gift page, plus you’ll find hundreds of festive recipes in our Christmas kitchen.

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