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Sweet Treats For Holiday Gift Giving? Need help with ideas...

I've decided to make treat boxes for all of my coworkers this holiday season. I read the posts about packaging, but does anyone have any suggestions for delicious treats to put in the boxes (something beyond sugar cookies)? This sounds crazy, but am making treat boxes for 180ish. So, am going to try and spend Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the kitchen to get everyone's boxes out to them on the following Monday. Any recipes/ideas for candies, bonbons, yummy treats are appreciated!

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  1. I started testing recipes for me holiday baskest this weekend. Currently, I plan to make all of the foloowing before Thanksgiving and decide which I want to include:
    Mini bundt cakes (7-Up cake)
    Mini gingerbread muffins
    Homeade oatmeal cream pies
    Pecan bars
    chocolate coated toffee
    7-layer bars
    World Peace cookies

    2 Replies
    1. re: Honey Bee

      Sounds like a great basket! What are World Peace cookies?

    2. chocolate peppermint bark - YUM - so easy to make and so much less expensive than buying it at William Sonoma. Just melt some good quality dark chocolate and spread it on a jelly roll pan. Wait for it to harden and then melt some white chocolate and pour it over the first layer. Then, crush up some soft peppermint (I get King Leo candies by the tub at Costoc - $5.99 for 500) and distribute it over the white chocolate layer (wait until that layer is a little cool but still a little soft so that the colors don't run) Then break it into chunks and either bag or box it. Fabulous and minimum work!

        1. Spiced or candied nuts.

          1. Here's a great thread on everyone's favorite Christmas cookies: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/335732

            1. I plan on making mendiants for coworkers with whom I'm not particularly close, but to whom I still want to give something. Simple and charming. I might include a little note as well as to the origins of the name.


              1. Thanks everyone for the great suggestions...any more out there?

                1 Reply
                1. re: shelbyeileen

                  Chocolate Decadence cookies by Alice Medrich, are to die for!!!! Just put it in search, and the recipe will come up. Nothing wrong with her Best Cocoa Brownies either.....I just made them for my grandkids and they loved them. I didn't add nuts as kids don't seem to like them, but if it was for me I would.

                2. i have an amazing recipe for almond buttercrunch that i got from a woman i used to work with... if you're interested, let me know and i will post the recipe.

                  it's basically toffee with toasted almonds, covered in dark chocolate and then rolled in more almonds... to die for!!!

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: missfunkysoul

                    I would like this one if you don't mind! It sounds addicting!

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      Almond Butter Crunch

                      2 sticks butter
                      1 1/2 cups white sugar
                      3 tablespoons corn syrup
                      3 tablespoons water
                      1 1/2 cups chopped toasted almonds (toast @ 375 for 10min)
                      8oz chocolate (i like semi-sweet or dark)

                      Heat butter, sugar, corn syrup + water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until temperature reaches 300 degrees. Stir in 1 cup of the almonds + immediately spread in a buttered 13"x9" pan + let cool. Turn out on to wax paper. Melt chocolate in microwave on high for 1min, stir + nuke 1min more. Spread 1/2 the chocolate on one side + sprinkle with 1/2 the remaining almonds, flip over (carefully!), repeat on the other side, let chocolate set + break into pieces.

                      your coworkers will be like putty in your hands after this ;)

                        1. re: missfunkysoul

                          Can someone describe butter crunch to me? Is it different than peanut brittle or toffee?

                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            it's just toffee w/nuts, coated in chocolate and rolled in nuts.

                            1. re: missfunkysoul

                              missfunky-can you tell me approx. how much one recipe produces (enough for maybe 10 gifts?)
                              Thanks for the great idea!

                            1. re: missfunkysoul

                              I've made almond toffee for the holidays and it's become a family staple.

                              1. re: missfunkysoul

                                I would love to see that recipe. It sounds like just the thing to make my dad for Christmas this year....

                              2. Chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks rolled in crushed nuts.

                                Peanut brittle, but made with one or more different nuts. I didn't like the pecans so well in there, but almonds, walnuts, and cashews all work well.

                                Dried fruit slices dipped in chocolate.

                                World's easiest candies: Mini-Rolos, set on top of mini pretzels, stick in a warm oven until the Rolos get a bit mooshy, pull out and squish top down with a nut half.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: weezycom

                                  pretzel sticks: I use the "rods" and dip first in melted and slightly thinned caramel candies. When set, dip in melted choc and top with nuts.

                                  Salt and Sweet heaven. People go nuts for these.

                                  1. re: weezycom

                                    what did you use to thin the caramels? How far in advance can you make them?

                                    1. re: weezycom

                                      to play off your Rolo idea, we do the same thing with hersey kisses and red and green M and M's. If you have kids, it's easy for them to help with these.

                                    2. biscotti and chocolate dipped spoons for coffee.

                                      1. Aside from mini-loaves of Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread, my largest hit last year was little ribbon-tied cellophane wrapped bags of "Streusel." Everyone said the same thing--This is my favorite part... Cake is a vehicle for streusel! I eliminated the middle man :-)

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Emme

                                          I love this gingerbread. What size mini loaves do you use? How many loaves does one recipe make and do you adjust the temp? I made this last year and would love to give mini loaves as a gift this year.

                                          1. re: nissenpa

                                            I just make the traditional mini-loaf disposable pan size available at the market... I usually also make multiple batches at once, but I'd estimate that 1 batch makes about 4 to 4 1/2 loaves... Hope that helps.

                                        2. My standby's are always pistachio brittle, mini pecan pie muffins, mini pumpkin applesauce muffins, and pretzels dipped in a really nice chocolate. I fancy it up with drizzles of white chocolate or nuts. The chocolate makes a huge difference and people rave....

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Mattkn

                                            Ooh, could you share the recipe for mini pecan pie muffins please? It's a muffin, not a pie -hmm, sounds interesting! The pistachio brittle sounds so good too, I'd love a recipe too, but if it's too much trouble just the muffin recipe - thanks!

                                            1. re: morebubbles

                                              Sure thing...I've got my kitchen packed up right now and I'm out of town....give me a few days and I'll post for you.

                                              1. re: Mattkn

                                                No problem, Mattkn, I'll wait! Thanks.

                                          2. Ummm... fleur de sel toffee, marshmallows, brownies with peanut butter frosting. I'm actually thinking of doing savoury pickles this year. A bit sugared out...

                                            1. One of my favorite cookie recipes is a lemon sugar cookie, rolled around a hershey's kiss, then baked. I'll see if I can find my actual recipe. That was a family fave!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: SweetPea914

                                                Do you have the recipe? Those sound great!

                                              2. I made a recipe for Martha stewart Rum balls and they were a huge hit. If you're interested, say so and I'll try rephrasing the recipe. They were to die for and totally easy. Baking involved.

                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Mattkn

                                                    Warning- HIGHLY ADDICTIVE. I also add about 1/2 cup golden raisins - remind me of the rum balls I had as a little girl from the hungarian pastry shop down the street from my grandfather's house. Some people make them with candied fruit peels, but I'm not a big fan of those. Enjoy!!


                                                1. I make cookies and candies for my holiday boxes. The cookies rotate but the ones that repeat are: lemon stars, apricot foldovers, champagnbrod (a Danish butter cookie with apricot jam filling) and craisin pistachio biscotti. The candies are: almond buttercrunch, white chocolate craisin pistachio bark, fruit rinds-lemon, orange and grapefruit and huge amounts of caramel corn. The caramel corn we bag for the teachers at the school where my husband works. The rest I make for 40-50 people. For a smaller group of people I also make bar nuts.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                    Lemon stars, and the Champagnbrod butter cookie, wow! I am deep in my Holiday project right now! May I have the recipes for these two delightfully sounding cookies please?

                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                      AGM_Cape_Cod's lemon stars are indeed wonderful! I still have this recipe bookmarked from last year's thread (where I was the one who begged for it).



                                                      1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                        Thanks! These sound really good to me!

                                                  2. Lebkuchen would be a good choice, and you'd even be able to fulfill the requirement of leaving them in a tin for two weeks before serving. My recipe calls for a cup of chopped blanched almonds, 1/3 cup of candied orange peel, the finely grated rind of a half lemon, the crushed seeds of three cardamom pods, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 1/4 c flour, and 1/2 tsp baking powder. Caution: bake on parchment paper and allow to cool for a few minutes before detaching them. Traditionally, they are baked on rice paper, but I don't know where to get this (Chinatown?)

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Amanita

                                                      no fat of any klind? (my recipe calls for butter)

                                                    2. Homemade individually wrapped caramels and toffee.

                                                        1. Hi shelbyeileen, I thought you might be interested in these sugar cookies before you toss the idea aside. I'm doing the same thing, and making sweets, chocolates, caramels, and I've gotten so many good ideas from everyone. But I made these last week and I got really good feedback from everyone about how they were so good and just the right size.
                                                          take a look http://flickr.com/photos/7220939@N03/...

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                            Chef thanks for the suggestion, but I make a lot of cookie cutter shaped crackers for my little one and am cuttered out.

                                                          2. Not a recipe, but a suggestion. Stay away from anything that you have to roll out and/or use cookie cutters on. With the amount that you are aiming for, those will take forever! Several years ago, I went to a friend's house to help her with cookies that she was giving as gifts to co-workers. That girl was ready to kill herself before she was even a quarter of the way done! She did sugar cookies with sprinkles. Has not done anything like it since and will never again. Stick with bars and many of the other options that people have suggested. They are great!

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: WildSwede

                                                              It's a little different from the other suggestions, but a small bag of scone mix (just mix all the dry ingredients) and then include the recipe.

                                                              Also, I get the pretzel grids, put a Hershey's Kiss on them and microwave until soft, then press an M&M into them. Very tasty.

                                                              One question for you, ShelbyEileen, what are using to package everything?

                                                              1. re: MaryDC

                                                                I did the scone-thing last year and it went over famously! Great suggestion!

                                                                1. re: MaryDC

                                                                  MaryDC am thinking that I'm going to use smallish 1/2# and 1# candy boxes for packaging.

                                                                  1. re: MaryDC

                                                                    My cousin's daughter gave us all Cowboy Cookie ingredients and a recipe a couple of years ago. At first I thought it was dumb, but I finally made them and they were great. It also looked nice since she put the ingredients in layers in a big glass jar.

                                                                  2. re: WildSwede

                                                                    I hear you. She is making I think she said 180 packages. These are a tad bit time consuming, but they are great gifts in little bags, not too sweet, and tiny. Maybe for someone else!

                                                                  3. I made italian theme baskets a couple year ago, and they were a big hit - I made limoncello (started in Oct), homemade biscotti and tarelli (the tarelli recipe from the Artisan Bread Baking cookbook, made a week before distributing the baskets), herbed olive oil, and dipping spices (found the recipe on the web).

                                                                    Last year, I went a lot easier - I canned applesauce, made salt caramels and granola, and marinated maraschino cherry in godiva chocolate liquor (these are so yummy!!!

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                      What did you use for the bottles for your limoncello? I have a great recipe but am looking for smallish but stylishly cute bottles. Does that make sense?

                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                        I used glass bottles I bought at Michael's one year (the 'bumpy' glass kind for olive oil/vinegar) with corks. The last two years I have used old bottles from yard sales - interesting clear bottles, at the most a dollar a piece.

                                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                          Would love to have the recipes for the limoncello, is it real lemony

                                                                          1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                            I gave out limoncello a few years ago, and I got bottles from the Container Store and decorated them with little labels and ribbon.

                                                                          2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                            I just bought a bunch of bottles for a homemade vermouth project online--if you google you can find places that are selling bottles for like .30 a piece, and even with shipping they're pretty reasonable. FYI.

                                                                        2. Preserved lemons. I want so badly to make these for my, ok I hate this word "foodie" friends. But I want to do something like that for special gifts.

                                                                          Oh and a really special request. Can all you SO Talented people take pictures of your treasures, it really helps me (such a visual person) but really would love to see all your efforts!

                                                                          25 Replies
                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                            Chef Chicklet, you can make preserved lemons for me! This is just the kind of thing that I never get around to making for myself, and you can't buy good preserved lemons for love nor money. You could add a jar of olive tapenade or a red-pepper relish for a great Mediterranean-themed gift. I'd like two, please!


                                                                            1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                                              Wouldn't that be a picture! Fabulous color as a gift. I'd happily make it for you! And some hearty homemade breads or crackers, I'm with you, I'd rather have this than jewelry! Just tie the jars around my neck and call me happy!

                                                                              1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                                                Oh it gets better than I could of imagined. In going through some of my "magazines and cutout special recipes" I came across an interesting recipe for Preserved Kumquats" it is done very much the same as the lemons with salt. I saw star anise, and perhaps cinnamon sticks in the cute little locked down jam jar.
                                                                                Me, I don't know what they taste like, anyone????

                                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                  Do you mean kumquats? I don't know how they taste preserved, I'm sure quite good. I have eaten a couple of them raw, just like that, out of curiousity, they have an intense 'concentrated orange' flavor... Try em! Could you share the preserved kumquat recipe pl-e-e-ase? I was just thinking about kumquats today, like could they work as a jam...

                                                                                  1. re: morebubbles

                                                                                    Sure give me a day to look it back up, I can do that. Its pretty much salt, kumquats, salt salt, and I think a few other. I wanted to compare it though very much, to the preserved lemon recipe I have. I have lemons that are coming around, and I want to make that too. I had no idea they tasted like orange... hmm. But see what a gorgeous present, I have no idea how to use them do you? I mean the preserved ones? On lamb, chicken little slice, or for cooking?

                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                      No problem. Preserved as in salty, hadn't thought of that.
                                                                                      And I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wirte something that was obvious, just that it's crazy how much concentrated flavor is packed into one of those little things.
                                                                                      The preserved lemons, or kumquats, would make a wonderful gift, quite right.

                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                        kumquats have a very sour flesh, but the skins and seeds are sweet! So you get an intense sour rush the first chew or two, then the skin and seed sweet tones come in and the flavor balances out. They are great!

                                                                                        Just try to find organically grown ones, as the conventional growers use insecticides and fungicides designed to be absorbed INTO the porous rind! Since kumquats aren't peeled as oranges are before eating, you want to be sure you're not eating sprayed fruit.

                                                                                    2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                      My friend made preserved kumquats last year that tasted very much like Toodie Jane describes. Intense burst of flavor, chewy, sour-sweet. Oddly, I don't recall tasting any salt. And it seems to me that the kumquats were soaked in more of a syrup rather than in a brine. They were gorgeous.

                                                                                      1. re: clepro

                                                                                        Not so odd. Because come to think of it, I'd bet it was candied kumquats she made. My mistake.

                                                                                    3. re: AnneInMpls

                                                                                      Preserved Lemons
                                                                                      – a tart salty flavor, great on grilled tuna or preserved lemon strips added to pasta. Each time you use the lemons, replenish with oil (cover) and you always have enough for later.


                                                                                      2 Lemons cut into 8 wedges each
                                                                                      2 ½ T kosher salt or coarse salt
                                                                                      1 tsp sugar: mix lightly. Place in a wide mouthed jar with tight fitting lid. Mix in 1//4 C fresh lemon juice, cover tightly and let it stand at room temperature for 1 week, shaking the jar once a day, and turn it upside down each time. Add ½ cup olive oil. Store it in the fridge for 6 months. Add oil to jar as needed, (every time you use the lemons) Will keep for 6 months.

                                                                                      Preserved Kumquats- use on grilled chicken, lamb or seafood or salad. Great Middle Eastern and African flavors.

                                                                                      Jar that holds 3 ½ to 4 cups
                                                                                      Kumquats – 3 cups slit lengthwise
                                                                                      Salt -1/2 C kosher salt
                                                                                      Sugar 1 T sugar
                                                                                      Water 3 T capers
                                                                                      For another flavor
                                                                                      Star Anise 6 star anise

                                                                                      Directions: rinse the kumquats add all to a jar, drain the capers, cover in the airtight jar and freeze 8 hours. Place the jar upside down, 24 hours, user and chill for a month, turn the jar every 2 to 3 days to keep the salt distributed evenly. Makes 3 cups.

                                                                                      Kumquat Red Pepper Relish

                                                                                      4 preserved kumquats, with t or 4 capers, chop coarsely discarding the seeds. Drain and chop 1 jar of roasted red peppers. Mix 2 garlic cloves-minced. In a bowl mix kumquats, capers, ground cumin,1/4 tsp red pepper. Serve or cover and chill up to 3 days. Makes ¾ cup.

                                                                                      Use on spinach salad. Baby spinach washed and dried. ¼ cup of fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice, 1 T olive oil, and ¾ cup of kumquat pepper relish.

                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                        kumquat with capers! This looks fantastic. Thank you

                                                                                    4. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                      Hi, Chef Chicklet!

                                                                                      Would you share your limoncello recipe and your preserved lemons recipe? I'd better get busy on holiday preparations. Thanks!

                                                                                      1. re: cookingschool

                                                                                        Yes! Mind you I got this from my dear Italian friends. The family had traveled a few years ago back to their village and got their family recipe. After a dinner of homemade zuchinni ravioli (the most tender), and other delightful dishes, they brought out the limoncello for the finale. It was in this gorgeous thin bottle (OOOOh how I wanted that bottle!) It was icy cold, they poured the limoncello into these tiny beautiful appertif glasses and we drank it all. I felt so honored and at the end of the evening they gave me the recipe all written out.
                                                                                        What a night. I fell in love with Limoncello that night.

                                                                                        1. re: cookingschool

                                                                                          of course I am having a problem finding it. I was copying it for a friend last time I had it out. Shoot. It's here just give me a few hours!

                                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                            Found it!

                                                                                            7 Thick skinned lemons – cleaned
                                                                                            1 Bottle of Vodka
                                                                                            2 ¼ Cups sugar
                                                                                            2 1/4 Cups of water

                                                                                            Wash lemons in hot water first. Remove the peel with a vegetable peeler, remove all but the white pith, scrape with a knife and put the peels into a 2 QT jar.Add ½ of the vodka and stir. Cover the jar and date it, store it in a dark cabinet room temperature.

                                                                                            After 40 days, take out the Vodka Lemon mixture. In a sauce pan set over high heat, stir the sugar and water together and boil for 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool completely in the pan, 10 minuttes. Add the syrup to the Vodka-lemon mixture along with he other jar and note the finish date. Return it to the cabinet for 40 days.
                                                                                            At day 80 remove the Limoncello from the cabinet. Strain the mixture, discard the peel. Pour into clean unused bottles with caps or decorative corked bottles. Store the bottles in the pantry, store one in the freezer until ready to use.

                                                                                            Makes approx. 1.5 Quarts
                                                                                            For the holidays start no later than 9/1

                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                              Thanks! This looks wonderful. I think I'll do some lemoncello for springtime gifts. (Or I could give it out in December with a "Don't Drink Until..." tag!)


                                                                                              1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                                                                I know we should of been making this in September at least, I totally forgot. I drank this Limoncello and it was delicious. I can tell you that it a perfect almost dessert ending to an Italian meal. So much fun, they even had opera on in the background. Something they love and listen to anyway everyday. I was so appreciative of the whole dining experience and after the dinner they showed us pictures of exactly where their little family village is. And of course everyone came to see them since they are related to the like the whole town! So cool. ..
                                                                                                So annInMpls, when you make this do me a favor, think of them and raise your glass!

                                                                                                Also wanted to add that its probably a good idea to use a fairly decent vodka, maybe not Grey Goose but Kettle One or such.

                                                                                              2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                Thanks so much! Just to clarify....after you add the simple syrup to the vodka lemon mixture, which has been sitting for 40 days, you say to add it to the mixture along with the other jar. Do you mean that you add the other half of the bottle of vodka? Well, here goes for Easter.....

                                                                                                Thank you again, for the recipe!

                                                                                                1. re: cookingschool

                                                                                                  yes I reread the recipe, that is what is saying. So you only use half the first 40 days. Not the syrup. All that happens in the beginning...

                                                                                                2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                  Chef Chicklet - do you suppose using some extra lemon peel (maybe use 10-12 lemons?) could make up for a lack of planning on my part?

                                                                                                  1. re: kmr

                                                                                                    krmr, sorry just saw this today. I don't know about increasing peels for sure. I know that the rule I use in preserves/jams is not to double the batch. There is an additional note on the recipe that says do to double it use 15 lemons. If you get going on this now, you should be close I would go for it, and open one bottle for myself to test and if I had to let them know the date to use then.Lame but it's my plan over here... good luck I hope this is so enjoyable for all!

                                                                                                  2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I will definitely be working on a batch this weekend :)

                                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                      I know it's not traditional, but how do you suppose it would do with an equal amount of key lime peel instead of lemon? And when you say add the other jar, do you mean the other 1/2 bottle of vodka? (think someone else may have asked already?)

                                                                                                      1. re: dinner belle

                                                                                                        Gosh, I think that this question came up the night we were drinking it. My friend who made this and the dinner did think it was possible. Limoncello is a regional drink specific to an area, so they might wince a bit. But why not try it. I bet it would make a killer key lime pie!
                                                                                                        Yes add the other half of the vodka, that is what the recipe reads.
                                                                                                        Well I hope all of you make this, it will be fun to see the results. I tasted some awesome awesome intense limocello. Remember, its just super, intensely lemon flavored, shots of great vodka!

                                                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                          Few years too late here but to answer the lemon-lime question, by all means yes! :-) A while back, I was given a large box of organic limes, so I zested the limes and then juiced them out (a nice gallon for future use...hoorah!), then made a double batch of lime liqueur/cello with the zest. The result was fantastic...sweet, tart, delicious. Since I had a liter of limoncello from last year, I mixed a half-liter of the lemon and a half-liter of the lime, and it tasted wonderful right away but it should be really mellow by next summer. :-)

                                                                                              3. I do jams -- maybe a set of 3 125 ml bottles for some, or 1 or 2 of that size for others. I tend to do red and green -- I have a cranberry orange conserve that I use, and lime marmalade is a staple at my house. Real easy ones: port wine jelly, ginger jelly (my favorite) -- or most jellies. they're really easy to package -- a cellophane gift bag and some ribbons and you're good to go. I do this for the teachers for my kids'school -- very popular.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: mwright

                                                                                                  Would you share your ginger jelly? Do you think that and pomegranate would work well?

                                                                                                  1. re: mwright

                                                                                                    Could you also share the cranberry orange conserve? I would love to try that one out!

                                                                                                    1. re: amishad

                                                                                                      Sorry amishad,I just noticed your note. There are two threads that have similar gift like things going on in them and I guess I though I posted it already. Anyway!
                                                                                                      Here it is, enjoy! Beware it is delicious and addictive on turkey ham or cream cheese and avocado sandwiches, or with turkey, dressing, mayo and this conserve.
                                                                                                      good stuff!

                                                                                                      Cranberry Conserve

                                                                                                      2 bags fresh cranberries- cleaned and washed
                                                                                                      1 ½ Cup baker’s sugar
                                                                                                      1 C orange juice – fresh or frozen
                                                                                                      Zest of 1 orange
                                                                                                      ½ C water
                                                                                                      1 T fresh lemon juice
                                                                                                      2 T grand marnier

                                                                                                      1. Simmer the cranberries with the sugar and oj over med heat – 15 minutes
                                                                                                      2. Add orange zest & water, simmer another 15 minutes
                                                                                                      3. Berries will pop and thicken as it cools. Once its cool transfer to jar(s) or pretty bowl. GREAT on sandwiches!

                                                                                                      If you are to make this in batches for putting up, process as any jam in hot water bath.

                                                                                                  2. Applesauce or apple butter, perhaps? If you're planning to do a variety of things, it's something that could cook on the stove while you're baking things in the oven. And it'll last longer than baked goods.

                                                                                                    For sweets, I think chocolate five spice cupcakes, ginger gems and rainbow stollen are pleasantly unexpected:

                                                                                                    Something important to remember is that not every treat has to be sweet. Something savory would probably be most welcome: spiced nuts, herb jelly, or just about any savory preserve would work.


                                                                                                    I hope these help!

                                                                                                    1. ....just found this Pecan Clusters (uses popped corn) recipe while looking for baking supplies...its sounds fabulous, and as soon as I can get some of the special sugar, I'll try it and report back. This could be made in large batches and 1 cup portions put into cello gift bags (have you seen Martha's gorgeous paper-backed versions available at Michael's craft stores? Wow.)

                                                                                                      recipe: http://www.indiatree.com/recipes/othe...

                                                                                                      goodie bags: http://www.marthastewartcrafts.com/de...

                                                                                                      Standard Caramel Corn using corn syrup would be good as well. Again, makes large quantities and is easy to make. Kids can help. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/280485

                                                                                                      1. Another vote for no cookie-cutter cookies, especially if you are bulk-baking. Your kitchen will get far too warm if you are baking and cutting at the same time and you will curse yourself or anyone else within 100 yards.

                                                                                                        If you do want to do cookies, look for refrigerator cookie recipes, so that you can make the dough in advance and either refrigerate for a few days, or freeze for a few weeks. To defrost, you just leave in the fridge overnight and all you have to do when you are ready to bake is slice and pop in the oven.

                                                                                                        There is a fabulous recipe for raspberry white chocolate bars on the Land 'o Lakes website. Instead of baking in a 13 x 9 pan, I do it in a 10 x 15 cookie sheet. The bottom crust is still quite thick and they are FULL of butter.

                                                                                                        Also, the Nestle toll house cookie recipe, done as a bar cookie is fun. I sometimes do half semi-sweet and half white chocolate and people seem to like it.

                                                                                                        If you need packaging, try www.nashvillewraps.com.

                                                                                                        Good luck.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                                                          To be honest I hadn't thought of cookies at all...but refrigerator cookies that is a great idea. I wouldn't be quite as crabby if I cut hundreds of mini cookies out ahead of time. Will do a test batch. Thanks for the idea!

                                                                                                          1. re: shelbyeileen

                                                                                                            I second the refrigerator cookies. I tend to make a few batches, while I have the ingredients out, and freeze them in freezer bags.

                                                                                                            Defrost either on the counter for a hour or so, or in the fridge for a few hours and happy baking! Oh, and the other thing, instead of slicing them and cutting through chocolate chips or whatnot, I use a cookie scoop. Goes pretty quickly.

                                                                                                        2. I like to make the good, old-fashoned Kraft Fantasy Fudge recipe that's on jars of Marshmallow Fluff (or whatever they're calling it these days). I just make it with plugra, ghirardelli's chocolate and good-quality vanilla. It's easy to make and fudge is a standby in our family. Last year, I packaged that with mistletoe that I gathered from local trees, where it grows wild as a parasite, so it's good to remove it. This year I have peach preserves from my prolific peach tree that I'm adding to the package.

                                                                                                          1. What about chocolate truffles? There's no oven time involved and variations are easy to make(covered in nuts, cocoa or coconut)...just the hand rolling that would take a bit of time.

                                                                                                            1. Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti. I made with hazelnuts instead of walnuts and Oh.My.God. INCREDIBLE


                                                                                                              1. Biscotti! My friend always gives me her home made chocolate and almond biscotti. It's divine. A grown up treat too! Wow... that's quite an endeavor you're planning. Best of luck... don't hurt yourself! :-)

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                                                                                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                  Biscotti is a great idea too! It sounds good right now on this cold and windy day...

                                                                                                                2. I usually make my magic microwave fudge. I have several variations on the "family classic" but I usually make maple walnut and chocolate almond. Fudge is great to send as it's farly sturdy and can be stacked, unlike baked goods with frosting or topping that may get damaged.

                                                                                                                  Let me know if you'd like the recipe :)

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                                                                                                                  1. re: eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife

                                                                                                                    Eastcoastgirl westcoastlife, I would love the recipe. I usually stick to chocolate but would love to branch out and make maple walnut. Thanks!

                                                                                                                  2. Candied ginger dipped in dark chocolate. I didn't make them, I received them as a gift from someone who did make them for the holidays. Not everyone is a fan of ginger and dark chocolate, but for those who are, this will be a memorable treat!

                                                                                                                    1. What about pecan tassies? There mini pecan pies made in the mini cupcake tins. They are very easy to make, and kids can help press the dough into the tins. I prefer these to traditional pecan pie, and can sometimes eat 15 in one sitting. (Don't tell anyone : )

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                                                                                                                      1. re: mtleahy

                                                                                                                        I just came across a recipe for these and another for carmel tassies. I think that that's a great idea! Lovely little finish with a cup of coffee after dinner.

                                                                                                                      2. homemade hot chocolate mix is always great (and peppermint flavor is nice too)

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                                                                                                                        1. re: pamd

                                                                                                                          Would you mind posting your recipe? TIA

                                                                                                                          1. re: debby

                                                                                                                            these are 2 good ones....the cayenne depends on your taste, but IMO adds something nice

                                                                                                                        2. Melt chocolate (I use almond bark from Wal mart, white or dark) in the microwave. Add salted mixed nuts, honeycomb cereal and mini pretzels (I buy it all at the $ store) and stir well. Pour onto waxed paper. WHen hard break up and bag.

                                                                                                                          Also - the oyster crackers mixed with oil and ranch dressing mix are always a hit. You can buy the crackers at the $ store and mix in a large bowl OR a brown paper grocery bag.

                                                                                                                          1. I make chocolate covered Oreos...they are easy and taste great. Melt white chocolate chips and dip the Oreo...place on baking pan and then refrigerate. That's it. I put these in super cute bags from Box and Wrap and give as gifts to co workers, friends, and neighbors. They also make great teacher's gifts. Here's the link for the cello bags.


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                                                                                                                            1. re: km0519

                                                                                                                              i did a bunch of variations on these one year, but used Jo-Jo's from Trader Joes...

                                                                                                                              -vanilla cookie/ vanilla creme - brushed the cookies with warmed and slightly thinned raspberry preserves, and let soak in; then dipped in white chocolate

                                                                                                                              -vanilla and chocolate cookies - brushed cookies with espresso/rum, dipped in dark chocolate then drizzled with white

                                                                                                                              -vanilla or chocolate cookie - brushed with grand marnier dipped in preferred

                                                                                                                              -vanilla cookies - muddle sugar and mint leaves, add lime juice and rum - brush cookies and dip in white chocolate or dark

                                                                                                                              i supply from Papermart ( http://www.papermart.com ), but The Container Store also has fun bags, boxes, etc., as does Michael's.