2005_12_food_cookie_jar.jpgOkay, so the transit strike is screwing up your holiday shopping. It's time to get creative. Through the magic of Fresh Direct and/or a short walk to your local market/bodega/grocery/gourmet food shop, (and hopefully with the luxury of telecommuting) you can make last-minute gifts for those pesky folks still left on the list.

Every year around this time, Gothamist goes a little crazy in the kitchen with vats of butter, sugar, corn syrup, almonds and chocolate, whipping it up into batches of butter crunch toffee to give as gifts to friends and family. We're a little behind this year, so we're hoping to find a little time between now and the end of the week to make the toffee, along with a few other homemade treats, to bring along to our holiday festivities. We're also going to try a few new things this year, including some spiced mixed nuts, infused vodka (from the Vodka Cookbook) and if we have time, perhaps even the lemon gumdrops featured in Sunday's Times magazine.

2005_12_transtrikemini.jpgEpicurious has a few great ideas for homemade gifts, including granola (we might add that to the list as well -- might counteract all that butter and sugar), as does allrecipes.com, which even provides instructions for brownie and cookie mixes in a jar that are better (and cheaper) than the cutesy ones you can buy at Bed and Bath. So never fear, strike or no strike, you can wrap up your last few gifts from the comfort of your own kitchen.

What homemade gifts are you cooking up this year?