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These Kid-Made DIY Food Gifts Will Win the Holidays

Delicious, fun, educational, unbearably cute: seven kitchen projects to warm every heart.

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Homemade gifts from kids pretty much can’t be beaten. Oh, and they taste amazing? Even better. You can keep things incredibly simple—who doesn’t love the intoxicating smell of an orange studded with whole cloves? Or you can get more elaborate and go for the kind of homemade cakes and cookies that endear kids to one and all, even if they suspect that some of the total haul may have disappeared before gift-giving time. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite ideas—for both younger and older kids.

For the little ones:

DIY mixes in a jar
There’s something charming about a mason jar layered with the dry ingredients needed to whip up chewy, rich brownies, decadent hot cocoa, or a comforting winter soup. Once you measure the amount of ingredients, kids can easily help by dumping them in, creating a pretty pattern. As a finishing touch, have your child decorate the lid with markers and tie a cute bow around the jar. Instant happiness.

Homemade dog treats
Don’t forget the family pet. (They know. You know they know.) It’s easier than you probably think to make homemade dog treats: essentially hard biscuits flavored with peanut butter. Using this simple recipe, kids can roll out the dough on their own and cut the treats into cute shapes. (Pups forgive any imperfections.)

White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels
This festive holiday treat looks impressive. But in reality, a toddler can handle most of the work once you’ve helped to melt the white chocolate chips. A quick dunk in the chocolate and a roll through crunchy bits of peppermint, and you’ve got a gift anyone would be thrilled to receive.

Want More Fun? Check out the Little Sous Kitchen Academy!

Mixed nuts
Nuts are perfect. Packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber, they’re also tasty, portable, and versatile. Making a spiced nut mix is another easy task for tiny hands, and you can experiment with all sorts of combinations. Pour ‘em into a cute jar, and you’re good to go. Get the recipe here.

Need something more challenging for older kids? We’ve published some amazing recipes this year, many perfect for gift-giving.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Adults outgrow some candy. (You don’t see many grown-ups pawing cotton candy at the county fair, for example). Chocolate peanut butter cups, however, transcend. The blend of milk chocolate and creamy peanut butter is a classic combo that appeals to all ages. Although there are plenty of store-bought versions, nothing tops homemade. Get the recipe here!

Sea Salted Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies
These may just be the best chocolate chip cookies you will ever eat. Food writer Nevin Martell spent a long time engineering this recipe so it would be sweet like a classic Tollhouse, but also nutty, salty, deeply rich, and with a slight chewiness, thanks to the use of bread flour. We dare you to eat just one at a time.

Chocolate Carrot Cake
This rich, moist cake, like its non-chocolate brethren, comes together in a snap. Don’t be tempted to grate the carrots with a food processor: Although a microplane takes more time, it’s well worth it to achieve the cake’s soft texture. If you can find a mild olive oil (not extra-virgin), it will contribute to a lovely crumb, though it’s optional—vegetable oil will also work. Simply wrap it up in seasonal plastic wrap and you’ve got a killer holiday gift.