It’s that time of year – that time when I am up to my nose in holiday baking. Although I bake all year round, there is just something different about gifting something sweet, baked with love. Cookie exchanges, company holiday parties, family gatherings – there is no lack of sweets during the holidays. And after years of practice, I’ve come up with some sure fire ways to make holiday treat gifting a breeze. So this year I’ve decided to share with you my top 6 tips for holiday gifting.
There is nothing worse than running out of a necessity like flour or butter during a cookie baking marathon! To alleviate a last minute grocery store run (or two), start by reading through your recipes and make a list of all the ingredients you will need. Check recipe bake and decorating times to give yourself plenty of time (just in case the first batch doesn’t go as planned). Purchase all the tools, gifting bags and boxes you will need to distribute your treats. Then when it’s time to bake, make sure to pre-heat your oven and prep any necessary ingredients (like -toasting nuts, chopping chocolate or softening butter).
2. Choose wisely
Sites like Pinterest are great for holiday treat inspiration, but make sure you aren’t biting off more than you can chew – nothing kills the holiday cheer than a cookie failure. So choose tried and true recipes that you know will work the first time around. Also, if you aren’t a strong decorator yet, try a recipe where the flavor is the star. A personal holiday favorite of mine are Chestnut Chocolate Cookies. The chestnuts add notes of sweetness, richness and a nutty, earthy flavor that complement the chocolate cookie perfectly. Lastly, choose cookies/treats that are sturdy and easy to gift. Don’t choose a very delicate cookie, like a lace cookie, because they might not make it intact.
3. Know your audience
It’s important to know who you are gifting your sweet treats to. Nut allergies, gluten intolerance or just personal preferences can turn your thoughtful gift into a thoughtful re-gift. There is nothing wrong with asking someone to give you a list of their top 5 holiday sweet treats. This way you have a few options, so they are still surprised, and you will steer clear of any allergies or dislikes.
4. Bake in bulk
Brew a large pot of coffee and put your favorite holiday playlist on repeat, because you are baking in bulk this year! In the long run, it will save you time and effort to choose one or two of your favorite cookie recipes and bake a few batches of them. This goes back to ‘Planning Ahead’ but do all the math ahead of time. Make sure if you are making multiple batches, you enough semi-sweet morsels to make 100 of your Grandmothers famous chocolate chip cookies. It’s much easier to just take over the kitchen for an afternoon (and in my case the living room too) that way everything is cooled, decorated and ready to pack up together.
5. Choose the right box (or bag) for the job
Take a look at your treat selection and make sure you have the right box (or bag) for the job. A sturdier cookie, like a sandwich cookie or a chocolate chip cookie, does not necessarily need the protection of a box. Stronger cookies look adorable in clear gifting bags, like the Christmas Holiday Sweet Swap Clear Treat Bag. Make everyone feel special by finishing off the bag with a festive bow and a personalized holiday message. For something delicate, like a spritz cookie or a decorated gingerbread boy, you may want to choose a sturdy Cookie Presentation Kit. With fun holiday patterns and clear viewing windows, these boxes will show off your treats while keeping them from breaking.
6. In a pinch? Gift ingredients and tools!
Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to devote to a cookie baking marathon. So rather than gifting baked treats, gift all the ingredients and tools needed for their own baking marathon! Baking is a great way to build memories around the holidays. And an all in one baking gift, like the Roll-Out Butter Cookie in a Bag, would alleviate the stress sometimes associated with holiday baking. Start by mixing all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, etc.) and pour them into a cute holiday bag. Then, attach a hand written recipe card with the rest of the ingredients and the instructions. Lastly, include some tools, like cookie cutters, icing decorations or sparkling sugar, to help your loved one make some special holiday memories of their own.
So now that you know my tried and true tips to easy holiday gifting, there is no reason why you can’t do this yourself– and yes, I know the holidays are only a week away! Like I said, if you plan ahead, do a little snooping and give yourself a few hours in the kitchen, holiday gifting will be a breeze this year. May your ovens be warm, and your treats be delicious. Happy Holidays!