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Homemade food related gifts - for office

AmblerGirl Nov 25, 2007 02:28 PM

I am part of a small department in my office (less than 10 people) and I would love to give everyone a small homemade food gift for the holidays. I'm looking for something inexpensive to make that I can wrap beautifully for a "wow" visual impact. Any suggestions?

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  1. cayjohan RE: AmblerGirl Nov 25, 2007 02:49 PM

    Homemade Scottish shortbread is often very well received, simple to make, delicious, and sturdy enough for various gift situations, even without tins for packaging.

    Homemade truffles are also nice and have the "wow" factor, but can be expensive for the real high level varieties. I have a cheater recipe that I use that I hesitate to cop to, but will share the low-brow version if you'd like. (Caveat emptor - the cheater recipe may disqualify you as a CH! :-) )

    7 Replies
    1. re: cayjohan
      Honey Bee RE: cayjohan Nov 26, 2007 03:32 PM

      Does it invlove cream cheese and Oreos?

      1. re: cayjohan
        AmblerGirl RE: cayjohan Nov 27, 2007 04:46 AM

        Now I am very intrigued by this low brow truffle recipe! Please share!

        1. re: AmblerGirl
          Honey Bee RE: AmblerGirl Nov 27, 2007 06:06 AM

          I have never tried them, but after reading some rave reviews on another thread I copied the recipe. Let me know if you make a batch.
          Oreo "Truffles"
          8 oz. cream cheese
          1 pound Oreos
          1 pound milk or dark chocolate
          1/2 pound white chocolate
          Grind Oreos to find powder in food processor. With a mixer, blend cookie powder and cream cheese until thoroughly mixed (there should be no white traces of cream cheese). Roll into small or large balls and place on wax-lined cookie sheet. Chill 45 minutes.
          Line two cookie sheets with wax paper. In double-boiler, melt milk or dark chocolate. Dip balls and coat thoroughly. With slotted spoon or fork, lift balls out of chocolate and let excess chocolate drip off. Place on wax-paper-lined cookie sheet. In separate double boiler, melt white chocolate. Using a fork, drizzle white chocolate over balls. Let cool.
          Store in airtight container, in refrigerator.

          1. re: Honey Bee
            LisaN RE: Honey Bee Dec 4, 2007 02:39 PM

            My friend makes these all the time for small gifts. Everyone loves them. I've eaten then, and they are good. Make sure to use real Oreos, they aren't as good with knock-offs.

            She has even gotten green melters to dip them in for St. Patricks, red drizzle for christmas and valentines. I'll try and attach a picture to show how she presents them.

            1. re: LisaN
              foxy fairy RE: LisaN Dec 16, 2007 06:52 AM

              On another thread, someone suggested making these with Peppermint Jo Jos from Trader Joes. I have three boxes waiting..

            2. re: Honey Bee
              masala maci RE: Honey Bee Dec 17, 2007 02:18 PM

              tried these, they were great. next time I'm going to soften the cream cheese, mix them longer in a stand mixer, instead of using my hand mixer, and perhaps use toothpicks instead of the slotted spoon.
              My question is do you think they would freeze well?

          2. re: cayjohan
            cayjohan RE: cayjohan Nov 28, 2007 12:37 PM

            Here it is - just never admit it!

            Melt 1 bag (standard size for say a cookie recipe, can't remember the # of oz.) of semi-sweet choc chips
            Blend in one container pre-made chocolate frosting (just the regular ol' frosting, not the super-creamy stuff) - y'know the Duncan Heinz or Pillsbury cans
            Blend in whatever extract you choose to use, to taste - our favorites are almond or orange or maple, but the sky's the limit.

            Let cool until workable, make into balls, roll in your aesthetic choice of exterior coating: powdered sugar, cocoa, chopped nuts, etc.

            Very flexible, obscenely easy, and most people love them. I am chagrined to say they are a mainstay in my holiday gift giving. But heck, a gal's gotta have SOME free time! :-)

          3. Non Cognomina RE: AmblerGirl Nov 25, 2007 05:53 PM

            A jar of home made pickled persimmons, or a home made liqueur like limoncello or cranberry vodka can be very festive and easy to make.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Non Cognomina
              masala maci RE: Non Cognomina Nov 30, 2007 05:04 PM

              I've made this coffee vodka in past years and its super easy, but you have to make it now so its ready for the holidays:
              Make a syrup by simmering
              10 tbsp instant espresso
              2 1/2 cups water
              2 cups sugar
              1 vanilla bean or 2 tbsp vanilla extract
              after simmering for an hour let it cool completely
              then add to
              1 qt vodka (the better the vodka, the better it turns out)
              Make sure its thoroughly mixed and then but in individual mason jars or decorative bottles and seal. It should be ready in 2-3 weeks and is great w/ coffee or over ice cream.
              Age in sealed jar 2 to 3 weeks

            2. j
              Jen_in_NJ RE: AmblerGirl Nov 27, 2007 05:13 AM

              Every year I bake TONS of Christmas cookies and candies and always give them as gifts to co-workers and other collegues. I even have had my kids make chocolate covered pretzel rods decorated with sprinkles to give to their wide group of friends.

              Like I tell them "everyone likes food!".

              This year I am using the Chinese take-out box look for the "wow" factor.

              1. foodseek RE: AmblerGirl Nov 28, 2007 07:17 AM

                I love giving special herb (basil,rosemary) vinegars-tarragon in particular as holidays gifts. Look for interesting bottles at Cost Plus, Smart and Final for the wow factor -I especially like the ones with the goose neck type spring closures. Vinegars keep well and are appreciated by many. I make mine up this week since they need about 3 weeks on the windowsill to meld flavors. Many sites have exact recipes, including www.recipesource.com

                1. s
                  Shelley07 RE: AmblerGirl Nov 28, 2007 02:38 PM

                  I have had the Oreo truffles before and they are beyond delicious. It is amazing how sometimes the simplest ingredients create something so wonderful (reminds me of my grandmothers Cheezwhiz and white bread pinwheels with bacon...so yummy but ingredients sound so blah!. I'm also all about the budget and this recipe looks like it will meet my needs. I'm looking for some cool ways to package up my simple treats (love that wow factor). I found some really neat ideas at http://www.thinkgarnish.com. I think I'll use some of their cool ideas to add some wow to my Oreo truffles! Thanks for sharing the recipe

                  1. s
                    shaebones RE: AmblerGirl Nov 30, 2007 10:05 PM

                    Homemade Granola in festive celophane bags w a Xmas ribbon tie.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: shaebones
                      stellamystar RE: shaebones Dec 4, 2007 01:57 PM

                      Ohhh..Granola is a good idea.

                      Good Old "Puppy Chow" never fails. There is a plethora of treats at the chex.com site. I love chex mix...:)

                    2. o
                      Oh Robin RE: AmblerGirl Dec 4, 2007 02:14 PM

                      I love to do bar cookies because it's one pan and they package beautifully. Chocolate chip blondies, brownies, white choc/macadamia or lemon. A clear cellophane bag and a ribbon and they will rave.

                      1. a
                        anzu RE: AmblerGirl Dec 4, 2007 03:22 PM

                        I make rum balls and roll them in different things. They are easy to make and usually a hit. This year, I'm going to try walnut brittle for something different. There was a recipe in the holiday edition of Cooking Light.

                        1. s
                          Shayna Madel RE: AmblerGirl Dec 4, 2007 03:23 PM

                          I would do cookies or toffee in cellophane bags, tied with curling ribbon. If you can find small, unbreakable christmas ornaments (at a big-box store, Target or Walmart, maybe), you can tie an ornament into the center of the ribbon. If not, you can tie a candy cane into the center of the ribbon. It's more fun to do different types of cookies, but it's easier to do all the same, as they will stack easier in a cellophane bag. People seem to love the toffee, by the way.

                          Take a look at www.nashvillewraps.com for all sorts of wrap/boxes/bags and related items. They are reasonably priced and the stuff is delivered pretty quickly. Hit stores a day or two after the holidays and buy containers, ribbons and ornaments at half-price for the following year!

                          1. danhole RE: AmblerGirl Dec 6, 2007 01:16 PM

                            FYI - I sent a package of my famous cayenne pretzels to my husband's small office last Christmas. One of the guys took a bite and said these are good, what are they. When DH replied cayenne pretzels, he started spitting it out. He is allergic to cayenne! So now I list the ingredients on the package to avoid poisoning his co-workers!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: danhole
                              Honey Bee RE: danhole Dec 7, 2007 08:16 AM

                              Made your cayenne pretzels when you generously shared the recipe in an earlier thread. Very tasty!

                              1. re: Honey Bee
                                danhole RE: Honey Bee Dec 7, 2007 10:24 AM

                                Thanks Honey Bee! My pleasure to share.

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