My “Southern Living” Holiday Food Gifts Made Dairy-Free



I know Christmas is just weeks away (can you believe it?) but the holiday spirit hit me early last summer. In June, Southern Living magazine asked me to create a bunch of new homemade edible gifts with gift wrap ideas for their December issue and – voilà – this beautiful issue is on newsstands now!

In my piece, you’ll find recipes for my Pineapple Margarita Mix, Hot Honey, Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls, and Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones with Molasses-Orange Butter. All the recipes are refined sugar free, except the Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake that the Southern Living team developed and included (which looks so delicious). Since I also made the recipes dairy-free, I wanted to get those two recipes that have dairy-free equivalents up on this site in time for your holiday gifts.

I hope you get a chance to pick up the magazine! And if you’re looking for a lovely gift, my first cookbook Food Gift Love: More Than 100 Recipes to Make, Wrap, & Share is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Happy holidays xo.

Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

Makes: 24 to 30 truffles

Preparation time: 45 minutes active time (up to 4 hours total time)


  • 8 ounces dark chocolate (60% or higher)
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut cream (thick part from a can)
  • 4 tablespoons Bourbon
  • About 3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped


  1. Chop the chocolate into 1/2-inch pieces. Add it to a medium-size glass, ceramic, or metal bowl (that will fit in your fridge). Set aside. 
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream and bourbon just to a simmer, and then remove from the heat. This will take no more than 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate. Give it 1 minute to melt, then stir vigorously to make sure the cream and chocolate are thoroughly blended. Let the mixture cool. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm. If you cannot make the truffles immediately, the mixture will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  4. When ready to make the truffles, chop the pecans and set aside on a shallow plate. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  5. The chocolate will melt in your hands as you go, so work quickly and prepare to get dirty. Drag a small warmed teaspoon (dipped into hot water and then dried) through the truffle mixture to pick up about 2 teaspoons’ worth. Using your hands, press and pinch each spoonful into tiny balls – don’t worry about making them perfectly round. Place them on top of the chopped pecans. Each time you fill up the plate, stop, wash your hands, and roll each ball in the pecans – you can further press the chocolate into a ball shape during this phase – and place them on the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the chocolate mixture is gone.
  6. When all the balls are formed, place the baking sheet in the fridge for 1 hour or the freezer for 10 minutes until firm. Enjoy them now, gift them, or store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Gift Wrap:


  • Cardboard jewelry box or a box that’s already festively decorated
  • Wrapping paper
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Parchment paper
  • Candy wrappers
  • Ribbon or string
  • Tag


  1. Wrap the top and bottom of an old cardboard jewelry box with festive wrapping paper per the following instructions (or buy one that’s already festively decorated):
  • Measure the box to determine the size of your wrapping paper. Add the width of the bottom to the height of both sides of the box to arrive at a total. If your total is 9 inches, double that measurement to 18 inches. If, for example, your box is square, cut a piece of wrapping paper to 18 inches by 18 inches. If your box is a rectangle, add up the width of the bottom to the height of both sides of the other side to arrive at a total. If that total side is 12 inches, than double that measurement to 24 inches. In this rectangle box example, you’d cut a piece of wrapping paper to 18 inches by 24 inches.
  • Lay out the wrapping paper (pretty side down) on a flat surface. Place your box in the center of the paper. With scissors, cut a straight line in the wrapping paper to every corner of the box. There should be two cuts per corner; remove the excess paper at each corner after making the cuts. Fold up one side of the paper over and into the box, pushing it snuggly against the interior side. Tape it into place with clear tape. Repeat with the opposite side.
  • Turn the still untapped long side of wrapping paper to be in front of you. Fold both tips over toward each other, taking care to make a crease that leaves several inches of the paper unfolded (the unfolded piece should be twice the size of the height of the box). Fold that piece up, over, and into the box, pushing it snuggly against the interior side. Tape it into place with clear tape. Repeat with the opposite side.
  • Repeat steps A through D for the top of the box.
  1. Cut a piece of parchment to the exact measurement of the base of the box. Press it into the interior of the box.
  2. Place enough candy wrappers on top of the parchment to fill up your box. Place a ball in each wrapper until all are filled.
  3. Seal the box. Write “Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls, Happy Holidays!” on a gift tag. Wrap the box with ribbon or string, threading through the tag.

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones with Molasses-Orange Butter

Makes: 8 large scones

Preparation time: 45 minutes active time


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons maple sugar
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil (in solid form) or unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 2 large eggs, separated (reserve the white for brushing on top of scones)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plant milk or whole milk
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato, roasted or from a can
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/2 cup Molasses-Orange Butter, for serving (recipe follows)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it with a little coconut oil.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Cut the coconut oil into small pieces and blend quickly and lightly into the flour, using your fingertips. Don’t let it melt on your fingers.
  4. Stir in the yolks lightly. The yolks will leave tiny yellow clumps throughout the bowl.
  5. Stir in the cranberries. 
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, sweet potato, and extract until well combined. Lightly stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing just until the dough holds together without crumbling. Add additional milk, if needed.
  7. Pour the dough onto the center of the parchment and – using the parchment paper or oiled hands – form it into a round. Slice the round into eight large uniform pie-shaped pieces, pulling them apart slightly as you cut. Brush the tops with the egg whites.
  8. Bake the scones for 20 to 24 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool before serving with Molasses-Orange Butter. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Molasses-Orange Butter

Makes: 1/2 cup

Preparation time: 5 minutes


  • 1 stick vegan butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon molasses
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, only if using unsalted butter


  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Taste and, if using unsalted butter, add more sea salt, if desired. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Gift Wrap:


  • Rubber spatula
  • Small ceramic bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Old basket
  • Scissors
  • Large square piece of fabric, 30-inches or more
  • Gift tag
  • Kitchen twine


  1. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the butter to a small ceramic bowl and smooth out the top. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to gift.
  2. Cut the handles off an old basket that will hold all the scones snuggly.
  3. Spread the fabric out on a clean table, with the pretty side facing down. Place the basket in the center of the basket. Fold up two opposite corners of the fabric and tuck them into the interior of the basket to cover the base and provide a snug platform for the scones. Place the scones and ceramic bowl with butter into the basket, arranged in such a way that the butter is viewable.
  4. Grab the two opposite corners of fabric, pull them up over the basket and tie into a handle for the gift.
  5. Write “Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones and Molasses-Orange Butter” on a gift tag. Thread kitchen twine through the tag and tie around the topknot handle, trimming any excess string.

Developed by Maggie Battista, author of “Food Gift Love: More Than 100 Recipes to Make, Wrap, & Share” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) and the forthcoming “A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry and Made Me Love Me, At Last” (Roost Books, 2019)

Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic StudioFollow Maggie Battista on Instagram.