3 Quick and Easy Last Minute Christmas Presents on a Budget

Christmas is just around the corner and you realise you’ve spent far too much money on late night takeaways last term. You’ve got the whole family coming round tomorrow, a meet up with your friends and an awkward work ‘do’ at the end of the week. How are you going to get presents for all these people whilst keeping in budget?

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You don’t want to waste time and money on a present that’ll end up in someone’s Summer Fete Car Boot Sale next year. You better get creative! Making your presents is a sure fine way to ensure you keep to a sensible budget, whilst also impressing everyone with your ‘tasty treats’! Also, who doesn’t love food at Christmas time? Guarantee nothing goes to waste by making your friends and family these quick and easy Christmas presents!

Gingerbread Christmas Hanging Decorations

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Ingredients

  • 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g/4½oz butter
  • 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup

Method

  • Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  • Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  • Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes (pr whatever shapes you fancy!) and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them. Make sure you remember to put a hole at the top of each one.
  • Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations, if using.

  1. Take a small piece of ribbon, and tie it through the hole at the top of the biscuits. This will allow you to hang them on the tree!

Recipe found here

Make your own cookies in a jar

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Ingredients

  • 115 g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 150 g raisins
  • 165 g rolled oats
  • 125 g light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod

Method

  1. In a clean, dry 750ml jar, carefully layer up the ingredients in order, starting with the flour. Tuck the vanilla pod inside or tie it around the lid with a gift tag, after sealing the jar.

Jamie Oliver suggests 115g of butter and an egg to add to the mix, but you can make them vegan using a dairy-free alternative and oil!

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden at the edges but soft in the middle. Leave on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.

Recipe found here.

Vegan Brownies

Ingredients

  • 80g vegan margarine, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 120g dark chocolate
  • ½ tsp coffee granules
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 70g ground almond
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 70g glacé cherry (rinsed and halved)

Method

  1. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 31⁄2. Grease and line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment. Combine the flaxseed with 6 tbsp water and set aside for at least 5 mins.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the chocolate, coffee and margarine with 60ml water on a low heat. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Put the flour, almonds, cocoa, baking powder and 1⁄4 tsp salt in a bowl and stir to remove any lumps. Using a hand whisk, mix the sugar into the melted chocolate mixture, and beat well until smooth and glossy, ensuring all the sugar is well dissolved. Stir in the flaxseed mixture and vanilla extract, the cherries and then the flour mixture. It will now be very thick. Stir until combined and spoon into the prepared tin. Bake for 35-45 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean with moist crumbs. Allow to cool in the tin completely, then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container and eat within 3 days.

Recipe found here.

About the Author: Emily Ellerby-Hunt is our Food and Drink Editor and studies Theatre at the University of York.

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