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60 Secret Santa Food Gifts

Your Secret Santa will love these cookies, candies, breads, jams and other festive treats.

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Santa’s Elf Cookies

These rosy-cheeked elf cookies make a showstopping addition to your holiday cookie tray. Practice makes perfect to get the royal icing design just right! —Josh Rink, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Caramel Chex Mix Exps Tohca19 38190 B03 14 3b Rms 2

Caramel Chex Mix

This wonderfully crunchy snack is loaded with cereal, pretzels and nuts—and coated with a not-too-sweet brown sugar mixture. Package this up as gifts, or set out a bowl at your party and watch it disappear by the handful. —Samantha Moyer, Oskaloosa, Iowa
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Mrs. Claus Cookie Pops

These cute Mrs. Claus pops would be great on a cookie platter or as a holiday gift or party favor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Swedish Spritz Exps Thca19 30099 C09 13 5b 4

Swedish Spritz

A touch of almond extract gives these spritz wonderful flavor. For Christmas, you could tint half of the dough with red food coloring and the other half with green. —Irmgard Sinn, Sherwood Park, Alberta
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Sand Art Brownies

A jar of this attractive layered mix produces a yummy batch of fudgy brownies that are dressed up with chocolate chips and M&M’s. If you need a quick gift for a neighbor or teacher, this is a delicious solution. —Joan Hohwald, Lodi, New York
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Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Blondies

I converted these blondies to be gluten-free so that my family could enjoy a comforting dessert. We were really craving brownies one night, and this cakelike treat hit the spot! They’re a great spin on gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. —Becky Klope, Loudonville, New York
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Homemade Peanut Butter Cups Exps Hmgrds18 39581 B06 21 4b 5

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

I like using pretty mini muffin liners and topping these homemade peanut butter cups with colored sprinkles to coordinate with the holiday we're celebrating. People can't believe how simple it is to make this irresistible candy with gooey peanut butter centers. This is how to make homemade peanut butter cups. —LaVonne Hegland, St. Michael, Minnesota
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Butterscotch Rum Raisin Treats Exps Cbz16 191821 D05 20 6b 19

Butterscotch-Rum Raisin Treats

I love making rum raisin rice pudding around the holidays. Those flavors inspired this recipe. Crispy rice cereal adds crunch, but nuts, toasted coconut or candied pineapple could do the job, too. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Christmas Hard Candy Exps Cbz16 179 D04 27 5b

Christmas Hard Candy

When you make a batch of this beautiful jewel-toned candy, your whole house fills with the wonderful scent of mint or cinnamon. My mom always makes this candy, and people request it every year. She puts it in clear jars with a holiday calico fabric on the lid. Now I've started making it, too.—Jane Holman, Moultrie, Georgi
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Macadamia Coconut Caramels Exps Thca19 138803 E08 16 4b 3

Macadamia & Coconut Caramels

I collect cookbooks from all over the world and use them to create new dishes. These smooth caramels have a scrumptious and exotic flavor. —Sharon Delaney-Chronis, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes Exps Ft19 247266 F 1206 1 3

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

These indulgent vegan chocolate cupcakes have no butter, eggs or dairy milk, but you'd never guess it. This recipe is perfect for potlucks and family gatherings that include guests with food restrictions. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Honey Walnut Delights Exps Tohcaj19 179923 C03 12 3b Rms

Honey Walnut Delights

Even after being frozen, these no-fail cookies stay moist and taste freshly baked. They are among my best holiday giveaway treats and are so easy to make. If you prefer, you can use other nut varieties, such as pecans or almonds. —Jessica Clemens, Wimbledon, North Dakota
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Kourambiethes

My daughter-in-law gave me this recipe. Her grandmother was born in Greece and bakes these cookies for special occasions, including Christmas.—Carol Dale, Greenville, Texas
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Elf Cupcakes

Rich and buttery vanilla cupcakes have a tender crumb and make a perfect base for these whimsical elves lost in fluffy frosting. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Nutty Sticky Bun Candies Exps Thd17 161074 C08 10 8b 7

Nutty Sticky Bun Candies

Save room on your holiday treat trays for these sweet and salty spirals. Oh, and hide some for yourself, too. They'll be in high demand! —Josh Carter, Birmingham, Alabama
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Old Fashion Gingerbread Exps Tohca19 54463 B03 19 7b Rms 3

Old Fashion Gingerbread

My dad would always tell me his mother made gingerbread with hot water and that it was dense and rich with molasses. Over the years I looked for such a recipe, to no avail. Then one day I was given a book compiled by an elderly woman who recalled recipes from her childhood in Virginia, and there it was! I made one slight change, substituting shortening for lard. For gingerbread lovers, this classic version is wonderful, whether you eat it hot and dripping with butter or at room temperature.
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Peppermint Chocolate Almond Crisps

Peppermint, chocolate, lemon and almonds give these cookies a delightful holiday flavor. My husband's office staff love these cookies, and I make sure to send a plate every year. —Jamie Seifert, Windermere, Florida
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Pistachio Quick Bread

I love making many of these special loaves to give away for the holidays. They also freeze well so it is easy to pull out for unexpected guests. —Judy Fischer, Green Bay, Wisconsin
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Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies Exps Ft19 242596 F 0814 1 2

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

Even without butter or eggs, these vegan peanut butter cookies are still soft and chewy. No one will be able to tell they're vegan! If you want a little extra texture, feel free to use chunky peanut butter or add ¼ cup crushed peanuts to the dough. —Katie Bandurski, Shorewood, Wisconsin
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Pumpkin Sage Beurre Noisette Cookies Exps Thca19 221120 E02 27 5b 1

Pumpkin Sage Beurre Noisette Cookies

In a world of pumpkin spice flavor, these fluffy cookies are my top choice. The infusion of fresh sage gives them a surprising savory note. You can use mashed sweet potatoes or yams instead of the pumpkin if you prefer. —Jill LeMasters, Ravenna, Ohio
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Peppermint Swirl Fudge

Indulge in candy-shop flavor with these rich swirled squares. For Christmasy color, I add crushed peppermint candies and red food coloring. —Suzette Jury, Keene, California
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Norwegian Cookies Exps Thca19 3653 C10 16 4b 4

Norwegian Cookies

This recipe was passed down to me from my mother-in-law. The soft sugar cookies are a favorite with our four children. —Karen Skowronek, Minot, North Dakota
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Creme De Menthe Cupcakes Exps Thn16 198751 C06 21 8b 6

Creme de Menthe Cupcakes

We use creme de menthe liqueur (the term means "mint cream" in French) to add a cool touch to these impressive mascarpone-frosted cupcakes. —Keri Whitney, Castro Valley, California
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Fruitcake Christmas Cookies Exps6158 Crc2375008d08 17 4bc Rms 3

Fruitcake Christmas Cookies

As holiday gifts, these rich fruit-and nut-filled cookies are pretty and practical. These are great make ahead Christmas cookies —the taste actually gets better over time! —Julia Funkhouser, Carson, Iowa
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Saltine Toffee Bark Exps135853 Thd143241a01 22 2bc Rms 3

Saltine Toffee Bark

These salty-sweet treasures make delightful gifts, and their flavor is simply irresistible. The bark is like brittle, but better. Get ready for a new family favorite! —Laura Cox, Brewster, Massachusetts
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Cherry-Almond Tea Mix

Our family enjoys giving homemade gifts for Christmas, and hot beverage mixes are especially popular. This flavored tea is a favorite. —Andrea Horton, Kelso, WA
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Homemade Holiday Marshmallows

This marshmallow recipe was my grandpa's favorite. At Christmastime, he would be busy making homemade marshmallows for his family and friends. —Diana Byron, New London, Ohio
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Three-Chocolate Fudge

I make this fudge at Christmastime to give to friends and neighbors. That tradition started years ago when I made more candy than my husband, three sons and I could eat, so we shared it. It's a tasty tradition I'm glad to continue. —Betty Grantham, Hanceville, Alabama
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Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Every time I make these wonderful cookies, the spicy aroma takes me back to my childhood. I helped Mom make them and delivered them to neighbors. —Kara Cook, Elk Ridge, Utah
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Swirl Cinnamon Bread Exps Hbmz18 135154 C07 12 3b 5

Swirl Cinnamon Bread

If you like cinnamon, you’ll love this quick bread! It’s crusty on top, soft and moist inside. Make extra loaves for the holidays and give them to family and friends. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Candied Pecans Exps Hmgrds18 19500 B06 08 8b

Candied Pecans

I pack these easy candied pecans in jars tied with pretty ribbon for family and friends. My granddaughter gave some to a doctor at the hospital where she works, and he said they were too good to be true! —Opal Turner, Hughes Springs, Texas
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Peppermint Meringues

Peppermint Meringues

Peppermint lovers won't be able to get enough of these light and airy delights. They make terrific Christmas gifts or lovely treats to pass around when guests drop in. —Dixie Terry, Goreville, Illinois
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Christmas Pickles Exps Tohca20 21870 B03 11 1b

Christmas Pickles

A dear family friend made these pickles for decades. I've adapted the recipe a bit over the years, but in my heart they are still “Dr. Rhodes’ pickles.” These morsels are delicious any time of year, but the green, red and white hues of the pickles, cherries and onions make them ideal for Christmas gift-giving—and it's a tasty twist on the classic Christmas pickle tradition. —Patricia Martin, Shelby
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Chocolate Dipped Beverage Spoons Exps Hcbz21 41741 B05 20 7b

Chocolate-Dipped Beverage Spoons

These make a cute gift when wrapped individually in cellophane, tied with colorful ribbon and displayed in a Christmas mug. To set the chocolate quickly, chill dipped spoons in the freezer. —Marcy Boswell, Menifee, California
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Maple Pecan Tarts

I absolutely love pecans. I combine them with maple and vanilla to create the ultimate tart, made even richer with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. —Redawna Kalynchuk, Barrhead, Alberta
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Orange Ancho Spiced Nuts Exps Tohx18 135462 D10 27 4b

Orange-Ancho Spiced Nuts

Get ready for a flavor adventure. These nuts offer a tasty combination of orange, ancho chili pepper and chocolate. The pepper gives a smoky taste. Increase it to add more warmth.—Leigh Doutt, Pueblo West, Colorado
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Herb Romano Cheese Wreath Exps Fbmz18 172537 C05 11 1b

Herb & Romano Cheese Wreath

After the wreath is baked and cooled, it can be wrapped in foil, placed in an airtight plastic bag and frozen until you are ready to use it or give it away. Add some whipped butter on the side and it’s the perfect gift. —Linda Padia, Wauna, Washington
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Peppermint Candy Sandwich Cookies

I love to include a little homemade treat in teacher's gifts and hostess gifts. These delicious lovelies come together in 15 minutes, and never fail to charm. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
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Gluten And Dairy Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread Exps Ft19 227132 F 0723 1 12

Gluten- and Dairy-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread

After learning of gluten and dairy issues in our family, I knew I had to re-create our favorite sweet bread. This gluten-free bread can be made using a premixed gluten-free flour or your own homemade blend. We use coconut milk to make it dairy-free, but any type of milk works! —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Butterscotch Brownie Mix

Most people have butter, eggs and vanilla on hand, and those ingredients are all you'll need to turn this mix into a panful of butterscotch brownies. —Macey Allen, Green Forest, AR
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Turtle Snack Mix

A decadent turtle sundae I had at a restaurant inspired this sweet-salty snack mix. Just try to stop at one handful! —Priscilla Yee, Concord, CA
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Slow Cooker Pear Butter Exps Sdon17 176628 C06 29 3b 5

Slow-Cooker Pear Butter

This is a tasty spread for toast, muffins, biscuits or any of your favorite breads. It is easy to make and has a rich pear flavor with hints of cinnamon, star anise and lemon. —Geraldine Saucier, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Spiced Rum Fruitcake Exps Sddj19 221360 B07 19 3b 3

Spiced Rum Fruitcake

This fruitcake not only can be made weeks ahead, it tastes better that way! You can substitute Brazil nuts, pecans and hazelnuts for the walnuts—or use a combination of nuts. —Jason Boor, Manchester, New York
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Spiced Eggnog Rum Cookies

One year, when I had a lot of eggnog on hand, I created a new holiday cookie recipe. The flavor is subtle, but somehow it transforms regular sugar cookies into something special for the holidays. —Mark Banick, Turner, Oregon
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Homemade Spicy Hot Sauce

I created this spicy recipe one day using what I had available from my garden: hot peppers, carrots, onions and garlic. The carrots make this recipe stand out. —Carolyn Wheel, Fairfax, Vermont
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Pistachio Cranberry Bark Exps Sddj18 30268 B08 03 9b

Pistachio Cranberry Bark

I picked up this bark recipe at a Christmas sweets swap hosted by a woman in my Bible study group. My family, friends and I think it's just divine. Even my dad, who's not big on candy, loves it. —Susan Wacek, Pleasanton, California
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Almond Chocolate Biscotti

My neighbors look forward to getting my gifts of these chocolate-covered cookies. I love that this chocolate biscotti recipe is such a cinch to make. —Ginger Chatfield, Muscatine, Iowa
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Cashew Brittle

I like this quick and easy recipe because it doesn't require a candy thermometer. It also makes a wonderful gift for nut lovers on your list. —Rhonda Glenn, Prince Frederick, Maryland
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Easy Truffles

Our smooth, creamy bonbons are so divine you may be tempted to save this recipe for a special occasion. But with just a few ingredients, they're easy to make anytime. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Three Chip English Toffee Exps Thca19 15296 E08 16 2b 7

Three-Chip English Toffee

With its melt-in-your-mouth texture and scrumptiously rich flavor, this is the ultimate toffee! Layered on top are three kinds of melted chips plus a sprinkling of walnuts. Packaged in colorful tins, these pretty pieces make impressive gifts. —Lana Petfield, Richmond, Virginia
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Chippy Chocolate Cookie Mix

I've had this simple recipe for a long time and got the idea of layering the mix after seeing similar gift mixes in stores. I have yet to meet the person who doesn't rave over the cookies. I sometimes use M&M's in place of the peanut butter chips. —Francine Wingate, New Smyrna Beach, Florida
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Homemade Christmas Jam Exps47214 Cp143300c02 04 1bc Rms 2

Homemade Christmas Jam

A few years ago, I hit upon the idea of presenting family and friends with baskets of homemade jam as gifts. With cherries, cinnamon and cloves, this smells and tastes like Christmas! —Marilyn Reineman, Stockton, California
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Cranberry Cookies with Browned Butter Glaze

I won a baking contest with these chunky glazed cookies that are so easy, even novice bakers can pull them off. What makes them special? Fresh cranberries. —Laurie Cornett, Charlevoix, Michigan
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Slow Cooker Candied Nuts

I like giving spiced nuts as holiday gifts. This slow cooker recipe with ginger and cinnamon is so good, you just might use it all year long. —Yvonne Starlin, Westmoreland, Tennessee
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Gentleman's Whiskey Bacon Jam

You can slather this smoky bacon jam on pretty much anything. It lasts only a week in the fridge, so I freeze small amounts for a quick snack with crackers. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Festive Holiday Fruitcake Bark

Every year I make brandy-soaked dried fruit for fruitcake, but I always make too much. When I tried turning the extras into candy, the result was a sweet and colorful bark for grown-ups. —Susan Bickta, Kutztown, Pennsylvania
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Pumpkin Bread with Gingerbread Topping

This yummy pumpkin bread won first prize in the Acorn Pantry Bread Contest. It melts in your mouth, and the recipe easily doubles for gift-giving. —Renee' Nanez, Frederic, Wisconsin
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Christmas Cranberries

Christmas Cranberries

Bourbon adds bite to this holiday standby, packed in a small heavy-duty glass storage container with a tight-fitting lid. Wrap in a vintage tea towel or cloth napkin, cinch with ribbon and adorn with small ornaments. —Becky Jo Smith, Kettle Falls, Washington
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Chocolate Dipped Orange Cookies Exps Sddj17 30484 16 C08 05 6b 3

Chocolate-Dipped Orange Cookies

These tender cookies are pretty to look at—and the combination of cream cheese, orange, chocolate and almonds makes them almost irresistible. —Linda Call, Falun, Kansas
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Creme de Menthe Truffles

I found this in a box of recipe clippings and decided to give them a whirl. I'm so glad I did! The minty flavor is perfect for Christmas. —Joe Mattes, Amana, Iowa

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.

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