Texas Living

Homemade Holiday Gifting Guide: 4 Wintry Baking Mixes

By Annie Wiles 12.15.21

Bring sweetness to your friends’ homes in decorative baking mix jars. Use a family recipe or try our guides for maple-oatmeal scones, oatmeal raisin cookies, buttermilk spice cake, and baked apple cider doughnuts.

The Barefoot Contessa’s Maple-Oatmeal Scones

These scones are both festive enough for a holiday teatime and easy enough for a cold school morning. Not that we’d ever want to challenge Ina Garten (how can you improve upon perfection?), but we like these mini adaptations of her larger triangular bakes. Find the original recipe here.

Baking Mix:

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Gifting Instructions:

  • Make the batter: Mix 1 cup cold butter with baking mix in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment on the lowest setting, until butter is in pea-sized bits. Blend ¼ cup buttermilk, ¼ cup maple syrup, and 2 eggs, then pour in quickly until batter is just mixed (dough will be sticky).
  • Make the scones: Roll out dough with plenty of flour to ½-inch thickness. Cut out 2-inch scones (should make approximately 16). Glaze with an egg wash and pop in the oven at 400 F for 20-25 minutes, until golden-brown on top.
  • Glaze: Blend ¼ cup maple syrup and ½ teaspoon vanilla into 10 tablespoons powdered sugar. Glaze scones when they’ve cooled slightly or when ready to eat!

Gift with: A fancy maple syrup!

homemade holiday gifts
Photo by Imani Chet Lytle

Quaker Oats’ Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

It defies all logic, but you can actually make the classic recipe from the lids of our oatmeal tins in even fewer steps with this baking mix adaptation. Find the original recipe here.

Baking Mix:

¾ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup raisins

Gifting Instructions: Beat 1 stick of melted and cooled butter, 1 egg, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla into baking mix. Spoon out cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 F until golden, 8-10 minutes.

Gift with: A nice bottle of vanilla extract!

Nana’s Buttermilk Spice Cake

This is my grandmother’s recipe, which she handwrote and has attributed to her Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house at Kansas State.

Baking Mix:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon clove
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt

Gifting Instructions:

Cream 1 cup sugar and ½ cup shortening, then beat in 1 egg. Add dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with 1 cup buttermilk. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes in an 8-by-10-inch pan. To make glaze, whip 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons softened butter; add splashes of buttermilk as needed until pourable. Pour over cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Serve when cake has cooled slightly and glaze has set!

Gift with: A pretty cake pan!

homemade holiday gifts
Photo by Imani Chet Lytle

NYT Cooking’s Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts

The perfect winter breakfast does exist. The only fiddly part of this recipe is getting the dough successfully into the doughnut tins, although this can be avoided by making them muffins instead. Otherwise, they’re surprisingly easy for how impressive they are — and you get the goodness of doughnuts without the messiness of frying. Find the original recipe here.

Baking Mix:

1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Gifting Instructions:

  • Make Batter: Cream 10 tablespoons butter, ¾ cup brown sugar, and ¼ cup sugar in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs one at a time and mix well. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add your baking mix and mix on low. Add apple cider in a slow, steady stream, mixing to combine. Scrape the bowl well to make sure the batter is mixed.
  • Bake: Spoon batter into greased doughnut or muffin tins (makes 12 of either). Bake at 350 F until golden-brown, 12-15 minutes for doughnuts and 15-20 minutes for muffins. Rotate the pans halfway through baking.
  • Dust: Whisk ½ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in the microwave. Let your bake cool 5 minutes, then unmold them from the pans, brush with the melted butter, and dredge them in cinnamon sugar while still warm.

Gift with: A good jug of apple cider!

For more from our homemade holiday gift guide, learn how to gift cookie boxes and holiday drinks.

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