Food52's Managing Editor Brette Warshaw is throwing no-stress weeknight parties for anyone, anytime, and (almost) every kitchen. You're invited.
Today: The game plan for getting those edible gifts made this year: a cider, chili, and cookie party.
Making crafty, beautiful edible gifts -- perfect candies and homemade limoncello and jars of preserves and sacks of truffles -- has always sounded like a really great idea, right? But remember last year, when you bought all those things to make homemade nutella, and then you binge-watched season six of Alias for the third time instead? Or the year before that, when you talked about making vermouth in your basement, and then remembered, after nobly hunting down the right-sized bucket, that you, in fact, did not have a basement?
It's easy to dream about making awesome edible gifts. It's a lot harder to make these gifts actually happen.
Which is why you're going to throw a party, to get your edible gift-making out of the way. You'll invite your friends over, the ones that like to feel crafty, too. And you'll make it easy for everyone: You'll bake the cookies in advance, you'll give them mugs of chili, you'll make spiked cider. And at the end of the night, you'll have tins and tins filled with beautiful gifts -- and a new tradition.
Up to two weeks before: Make the Holiday Cut Out Cookies; they'll get even better with age. (But if you wait until the night before, no sweat; they'll still be good!)
Up to four days before: Make your Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies. Eat one every day before your party, because you deserve it.
Two nights before: Start soaking your beans.
The night before: Make your Smoky Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili, and keep it in the fridge. It'll get even better overnight.
Party time! Get your cider on the stove, and keep it on low throughout the night. Warm up your chili. Hand out bowls and mugs. Repeat.
When the cookies have been decorated: Eat a few. No, eat many. Feel accomplished, and have some more cider.