If you’re lucky enough to have lots of friends, the cost of Christmas can really add up, but baking sweet treats for loved ones is a simple gesture that can tell someone special you’re thinking of them without emptying your purse. You can use pretty cardboard packaging and plastic-free or recycled plastic ribbons to make everything look festive. You may have to spend an hour or two in the kitchen cooking up yummy treats, but your friends will thank you when they sink their teeth into something delicious Christmas morning. Here are vegan winter dessert ideas you can gift to your friends.

Love & Lemons: Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars (vegan)

1. Love & Lemons: Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars (vegan)

Who doesn’t like this American-style flavour: the classic peanut butter and chocolate combo? But this version is much healthier than the non-vegan peanut butter cups loaded with confectioners’ sugar, so they’re almost guilt-free, right? 

These layered cookie bars have a peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie dough layer with a rich cacao, date, and walnut layer on top. They may be decadent but you’ll get in some nutrients and antioxidants with this sweet treat. They’re also sweetened with maple syrup and the natural sweetness of dates, so they don’t have masses of refined sugar.

They’d look lovely as a gift for friends in layered parcels.

View the recipe here.

Olive Magazine: Vegan lemon drizzle cake

2. Olive Magazine: Vegan lemon drizzle cake

Lemon drizzle cake is a traditional British staple and rightfully so because it’s delicious. But many versions are not vegan-friendly. Of course, you can adapt most recipes to make them vegan but this recipe uses rich vegan yoghurt for the fat content so it’s much lighter than when using a plant-based butter.

This zingy cake with a light crumb is sure to please your friend and they’ll be excited you’ve shared an entire loaf cake with them. 

View the recipe here.

Vegan Food & Living: White chocolate tarts with raspberries (vegan)

3. Vegan Food & Living: White chocolate tarts with raspberries (vegan)

For the more experienced baker, you may want to attempt beautiful mini tarts for your friends. These tarts have a smooth white chocolate filling and fresh raspberries to make a sweet and indulgent dessert that’s sure to impress. 

If you’re hoping for these tarts to last longer, you could use dehydrated or candied fruit for a beautiful touch. Freeze-dried raspberries (plus a little edible glitter) can look special too. Box them up and give them to someone special! 

View the recipe here.

Lazy Cat Kitchen: Vegan chocolate and salted caramel tarts

4. Lazy Cat Kitchen: Vegan chocolate and salted caramel tarts

Along the same lines as the white chocolate tarts, here’s another variation that people haven’t been able to get enough of for the last few years: salted caramel! These vegan salted caramel tarts are the kind of vegan dessert that your non-vegan friends will love too, the kind where if someone hadn’t told you they were vegan, you wouldn’t even know.

The recipe is a little more technical so requires a little more dessert-making expertise but once you make these, you’ll want to make them again and again. When boxing up, separate the layers with parchment paper. 

View the recipe here.

Vegan Food & Living, Almond butter brownies (vegan)

5. Vegan Food & Living, Almond butter brownies (vegan)

Brownies are some of the easiest desserts to gift (besides cookies and cookie bars) since you don’t have to worry about squishy fillings oozing out or the presentation being ruined. These brownies are decadent, moist, and chocolatey with a generous swirl of almond butter to give them that little something extra. The almonds and flax seeds give them that little bit of something healthy too.

View the recipe here.

The Minimalist Baker: Vegan whoopie pies (gluten-free)

6. The Minimalist Baker: Vegan whoopie pies (gluten-free)

Although Whoopie pies originate from the Amish in Pennsylvania and were commercialised in Maine (with a disputed origin history), these “pies” were created with remnants of cake batter and frosting and make a fun Christmas “cookie” to gift to friends, especially if they’re gluten intolerant. 

This vegan version is fluffy, tender, chocolaty, coconutty (if you’re into that), and perfect to satisfy any sweet-tooth cravings. The filling is made from coconut whipped cream. These don’t have a terribly long shelf but will last in the fridge for three to four days.

View the recipe here.

Jane’s Patisserie, Vegan chocolate chip cookies

7. Jane’s Patisserie, Vegan chocolate chip cookies

These impressively sized vegan chocolate chip cookies are a surefire hit. This recipe is based on a classic NYC cookie recipe but substituted with vegan ingredients. The baker uses plant milk in place of the egg (but you can use the flaxseed egg method, mashed banana, or apple sauce instead), a block of plant butter (not the kind that comes in a tub), and vegan Galaxy orange chocolate, but you can adapt the recipe to your taste by adding nuts, seeds, dried fruit, dark chocolate, etc. 

This recipe is relatively quick and makes a dozen decadent cookies. They’re really yummy and you can make different versions to make a variety box of cookies as the perfect gifted treat.

View the recipe here.

Healthy Helper: Not-so-trashy candy (healthy white trash vegan candy)

8. Healthy Helper: Not-so-trashy candy (healthy white trash vegan candy)

“White trash candy” is another sweet treat on the list that is a variation on an American treat that’s eaten (and gifted) around the holidays. It’s generally made of cereals (traditionally cheerios and Chex mix), pretzels, and M&Ms, all covered in white chocolate and made into a sort of “bark” that’s broken up into shards and placed in gift bags. Some people add additional chocolate and dried fruit (maybe in an effort to make it healthier?) but here’s a vegan dark chocolate version that’s friendly for UK pantries if you use these substitutes. 

Substitute Chex cereal for Shreddies and most British supermarkets sell Cheerios nowadays. In the UK, most people should be able to find dried cranberries (or a dried fruit substitute of your choice), mini-pretzels, and vegan chocolate chips (or a bar for melting). The baker recommends that other “mix-ins” can be added and substituted such as hemp seeds, pistachios, goji berries, cacao nibs, and granola. 

This treat would look perfect gifted in a preserves jar or mason jar.

View the recipe here.

Loving it Vegan: Vegan ginger cookies (gingersnaps) (can be made gluten-free)

9. Loving it Vegan: Vegan ginger cookies (gingersnaps) (can be made gluten-free)

Another cookie on the list is a winter staple with historical origins in England, Germany (lebkuchen), and Holland (speculaas). These vegan gingersnaps are gratifying and crunchy. When they bake, they have a pleasing crackle effect on the top and are sprinkled with sugar. Any friend would love these wrapped up in a doily and secured with a red bow.

These cookies can be stored in the freezer for up to three months and out of the fridge at room temperature for up to a week. The recipe also allows for a gluten-free version. The recipe yields twenty cookies and only takes around half an hour so it’s one of the fastest and easiest on our list. Why not shape them with a gingerbread cutter and decorate them with white icing too?

View the recipe here.

Olive Magazine: Vegan chocolate mousse

10. Olive Magazine: Vegan chocolate mousse

Although our final recipe on the list can be gifted, it’s more the kind of dessert you can make if you have your friend coming over for a dinner party around Christmas and want a delicious and easy dessert to finish off a fine meal. Who doesn’t love a decadent chocolate mousse but without the bloat-inducing dairy?

This recipe only contains four ingredients that you may generally have on hand: dark chocolate, silken tofu, a tiny bit of sugar, and some berries. It can be made ahead of time, popped in the fridge, and it takes only twenty minutes to make. It yields four pots of dessert and is a crowd-pleaser that’s fairly healthy as far as desserts go.

It can be gifted if you use airtight jars; however, it should be kept refrigerated and consumed the same day.

View the recipe here.

The takeaways

Do you like receiving baked goods as a gift? It’s always a treat to have a small pile of baked goodies to enjoy over Christmas whilst snuggled up in your favourite blanket, watching the latest episode of Selling Sunset and wishing Britain could be as warm as LA! Happy gifting and let us know on social media which of these recipes you’ll try!

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