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Let the Holiday gift ideas begin!!!

Please share all ideas from mail order favorites, homemade goodies to creative food related gifts. Who's giving out what??

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  1. I'm giving out bottles of homemade limoncello! It's mellowing out with the sugar syrup in it right now so it should be perfect in time for the holidays.

    1. I'll start. My grandmother died at 99 this fall and I plan to make a small cookbook of her personal recipes for my cousins. Refrigerator rolls, pecan pie, cold-oven pound cake, "pecan kissies", butterscotch slices (THE childhood cookie jar cookie), pudding, etc. (somehow they all seem to be sweets, huh?) My homemade gifts are always completely unappreciated as far as I can tell, but I am undaunted. Surely they can't disrespect MaMa ;-)

      2 Replies
      1. re: danna

        How are you doing your small cookbook? I would love to do this for my family as well.Since both sisters don't know how to cook, they always call me to email them recipes or ideas.

        1. re: travelchow

          Not sure yet, as I just had the idea this week. I expect to write it and insert photos in WORD, and print it on my color printer on some sort of fancy paper. The actual binding I have not yet decided on. Possibly really heavy cardboard, pierced with grommets, and tied together w/ a crochet chain (my grandmother didn't knit, she crocheted). A trip to the art supply store is in order.

          It's a good excuse to make goodies, so I can get some photos.

      2. For my co-workers, I'll bake French butter cookies and meringues (the former uses only egg yolks and the latter uses the whites that would otherwise go to waste). The cookies and meringues go into separate gift tins and I stick on a label with something on the order of, "From Deenso's Kitchen," and list the ingredients (not the recipes).

        In addition to the cookies and meringues, I'll stew prunes in Beaujolais, to be packed into pretty glass jars for my bosses. These need to be refrigerated, so I'll indicate that on the gift label, as well. Fortunately, the prunes can be done a few weeks in advance, so that will probably be my first post-Thanksgiving weekend project and I'll get to the cookies and meringues the following weekend.

        I can't believe it's actually time to start thinking about this stuff!

        1. I do batches of cookie dough (all kinds) and wrap them in parchment paper. I do them every year so everyone looks forward to it. and then i usually do one other thing. in the past...salted caramels, rosemary shortbread, hot chocolate mix. this year will be a mexican-style chocolate sauce. i always think of the liquer thing too late.

          1. I will probably be doing what I did last year which was using Ina Garten's recipes, slightly modified, for Granola and Chocolate Truffles. I packaged both in tins and, though I was nervous as it was one of my first attempts at a homemade gift, was relieved when it was such a big hit. My uncle actually went out, bought the ingredients and had me come over and make a batch of granola last time I was in town.

            1. I do baked gifts. Since I don't have a ton of people that I give food gifts to, it's not a real killer. I usually poke through my cookbooks and select 5 or 6 kinds of cookies/bar cookies/brownies and bake them for the freezer, or, in the case of sliced refrigerator cookies, freeze the logs of dough. I try to keep in mind not to make too many that look/taste similar, for example, not two with jelly filling/nuts/chips, not two chocolate cookies, etc. Sometimes I do toffee also. I try to make sure there is a color variance, so sometimes I do sandwiched spritz cookies, using leftover ganache for filling and dipping the edges in colored nonpariels. Then, when I am invited somewhere, I make up a platter of homemade cookies, wrap in cellophane, tie with curling ribbon and attach a holiday ornament.

              For the friends whose house I go to on Christmas Eve, I do a fun, semi-decorative cake along with the cookies, or find something extra-special for the cookie tray. Last year I did some really cute little houses made from graham crackers that Martha Stewart had on her site to decorate this "special" tray and one year I did a Buche Noel with merengue mushrooms. It's getting to be a challenge to come up with something different every year. The key with any of this is to use good ingredients--Madagascar vanilla, nothing low-fat or non-fat, no store-brand butter, sour cream or cream cheese.

              I live in a doorman building with an attended garage and although I am sure the cash part of the gifts is more appreciated, I know the building staff looks forward to my "snack tray."

              Since the cookies have been frozen, before I put them on a platter, I heat the oven to about 250, turn it off, then place the cookies on cookie sheets in the oven, to bring them back to life. I try to keep plastic trays around, but if I get caught short, I cover a cake cardboard with aluminum foil. Sometimes Bed, Bath and Beyond runs a special where they have these 12" Libbey or Anchor Hocking (I forget which) glass trays with a christmas/snowman design in them and I put the cookies on that, or I go to Crate & Barrel or the Container Store right after the holidays and pick up some gifty containers and/or trays and/or ornaments for the next year. There are also doilies that have a slight coating, so grease stains don't show.

              Guess it's time to start looking through the cookbooks and check out Landolakes, Hershey, Nestle, etc. sites.

              1. This year I am giving nice jars of homemade dark hot chocolate mix and dry chai mix. Perfect for the holiday season!

                Here is my recipe for dark chocolate mix: http://christonium.com/culinaryreview...

                and my recipe for a wonderful dry chai blend - it taste just like the one you buy in the store but costs only a fraction of what you would pay!

                1. NON-EDIBLE: There are 7 of us in our estate settlement dept. ...and we all love red wine...SO--I am trying to concoct making a trivet made of wine corks...that is my goal! I bought one dark green wooden picture frame today at Michael's (a craft store) along with a cheapo blackboard with a wooden border...will be trying these out this weekend with the wine corks to try to construct a "hot plate" or trivet.