Gift Guide: For the Wanna-be Chef

While picking out gifts for a knitter took a little guesswork, coming up with gift ideas for the cook/ baker in your life was really fun. Food gifts are my favorite gifts to give, because there’s something for everyone and it can fit whatever budget you have. You can go super fancy schmancy, or do something DIY. Whichever way you go, you’ll be able to find something fun for the cook or baker in your life.

Cookbook Gifts

Favorite Cookbooks:

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: It’s no secret that I love the Smitten Kitchen blog, but I also love Deb Perelman’s cookbook (when she announced she was writing another I could barely contain the excitement). So many of my go-to recipes come from this cookbook– pie crust, flat-roasted chicken with tiny potatoes, margarita pizza, and tiny but intense chocolate cake, just to name a few. There are also some really tempting recipes that I have on my to-cook list: chocolate raspberry rugelach, apple cider caramels, vermouth mussels with oven fries, leek fritters… my mouth is watering just thinking about them.

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book: This is my Mom’s go-to gift for bridal showers, weddings, going-away-to-college parties, you name it. She likes to say that it’ll teach you how to boil an egg or how to cook up something really fancy, so it’s great for both a newbie or a more experienced cook. I can’t even tell you how many of my Mom’s go-to recipes come from this book, so it’s always a solid cookbook choice.

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: I’ve had my eye on this book for a while– I haven’t been able to visit the Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop in Brooklyn, but I like to imagine that I could bring a little bit of Brooklyn to my Houston kitchen with these pies. Plus pies are one of my favorite things to bake, and I secretly want to learn all the pie-making secrets so I can be the Grandma with pies that will make you weep. That’s a totally normal goal, right?

A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in my Farmhouse: I love Mimi Thorisson’s blog Manger, and I’m crossing my fingers that this will be under the tree for me on Christmas morning. The photos are gorgeous, and the recipes look delicious- although they’re definitely more suited for a Saturday night dinner party instead of a week night dinner (but I don’t think anyone plans to “whip up” a French recipe for a weeknight… do you?) Luxurious, fun, and fancy– perfect for dinner parties when you want to feel French without buying a plane ticket.


 DIY food gifts

Favorite DIY Foodie Gifts:

DIY Glittered Wooden Spoon: This tutorial for a wooden spoon with a DIY glittery handle is adorable. You can make a few in different colors, and I think they’d be great as a stocking stuffer. They’re girly and fun, and I don’t think anyone would dislike these (unless they don’t like glitter… or happiness. Just kidding, it’s ok if you don’t like glitter. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one).

Spiced Maple Glazed Pecans: This recipe from Honey & Jam is great for stocking stuffers or coworker gifts (I’m planning on making these and taking them to work with me). They’re spicy, sweet, and salty, and gluten free, so they’re perfect for group gifts. (Note: I would check with your coworkers to see if anyone has a nut allergy before you bring them in!)

Printable Cheesy Gift Wrap: I love picking out little food gifts like cheese, condiments, spice mixes, flavored coffee, or beer in different flavors and making little “kits” — for example, since  my dad loves grilling, I might pick European beers, a marinade, and a spice rub for a grilling kit. (If you’re too rushed/ nervous to pick out your own kit, Eat Boutique! has some great gift boxes, although they can be a little pricey. But still a great option.) These cheese wrap templates would be adorable to wrap up any cheeses you get for your kit, and I think it’d be really fun to wrap up each part of your kit so they have little pieces to unwrap.

Herb Honey:  I love the idea of infusing honey with herbs and packing it up in cute jars and giving it out as gifts. I know honey can be a little expensive (especially if you’re buying raw or local honey), but depending on the size of your jars I think you could definitely get a lot of bang for your buck. Plus I think herb honey would be fun for mixing into tea or baked goods, since the herbs would add a whole other layer of flavor.


Baking Accessories

Favorite Bakeware Gifts:

Disclaimer: buying someone cookware or bakeware can be tricky, because they might end up with duplicates (or triplicates). Or if it’s something really big they might have a hard time finding a spot for it in their kitchen storage (especially if they live in an apartment with a tiny kitchen). So I would definitely ask if they have any specific cookware needs before buying anything really nice or that would take up lots of space. That being said, here are some of my picks for bakeware that would be really fun and (fairly) space efficient.


Nature Dessert Plates: I can’t get over how cute these dessert plates are, and I think they’d be really fun gifts for any bakers you know (or to add to your own list). It can’t hurt to have a cute plate for your favorite baked goods, right?

Scone Pan: Scones are a big deal in my family. My Dad makes scones for Mother’s Day and Christmas morning brunch every year and I “borrowed” my parents’ scone pan as a sophomore in college, until they eventually bought me one for Christmas. This is the scone pan we use, and the scones come out perfectly every time. (I’m sure this pan would be great for cornbread or tea cakes too.) Perfect for tea parties, brunch, and Sunday breakfasts.

Pride and Prejudice Cookie Cutters: These Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy cookie cutters are obviously perfect for book lovers and anglophiles, but the Printmeneer shop has lots of adorable cookie cutters. These are great if you’re looking for some unique cookie cutters, and they’re affordable too!

Mini Madeleine Pan: I haven’t made a madeleine before, but they seem like the perfect treat for brunch or a tea party (along with the scones of course). I’ve been dropping hints to Teddy about this pan, so maybe I’ll making mini madeleines soon!


I tried to include a little bit of everything on this list, but the possibilities really are endless. I hope this gives you some fun holiday gift ideas!

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