Use This Strategy to Make All Your Edible Gifts in One Fell Swoop

December 20, 2016

We love doling out edible gifts for the holidays, so we're sharing five recipes you can make with a dozen eggs that'll pack up pretty. This article is funded by the American Egg Board.

We're only halfway through December and I've already overcommitted to more edible holiday gifts than my one oven can handle (you, too?). There are multiple gift exchanges; there are care packages to loved ones far away; there are birthday gifts for those who must share their personal day-of-life celebrations with the larger "holidays."

To make sure I get everything checked off my list in time, I like to schedule a weekend baking bonanza: Come Saturday at 8 A.M., I suit up in my apron and bake between 5 and 7 recipes over the course of two days (you can also do this a couple days before the holiday if you have the time off). I then divide the batches, mixing and matching to make edible gift "variety packs."

Photo by James Ransom

These bundles are goodie treasure troves, with treats for every recipient's preference—whether that's for chocolate or citrus, cake or cookies, crunchy or smooth. And no one gets hit with an entire box of one type of cookie they can't possibly finish on their own.

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To choose the recipes I want to make, I like to impose a filter that makes the selection process easier and narrow the grocery list while maintaining variety. A dozen eggs is a natural limit: I can buy a carton at the store knowing they'll all get used up and that I won't have to tap into my normal supply, reserved for scrambling and soft-boiling.

The 5 recipes in the image above add up to exactly 12 eggs—no yolks or whites left unaccompanied. And you don't have to roll out cookie dough or crimp pie crust or cut butter into flour, either. They're naturally packageable and they're all sturdy enough to hold up for at least 3 days, whether you're sending them across the street or state lines.

With these five recipes, you'll get...

  • 30 to 40 cookies
  • 36 blondies
  • 1 1/2 cups lemon curd
  • One 9-inch cake
  • 12 muffins (skip the glaze if you're packing these up to ship)

...which is easily enough for four generous packages (and you'll get to keep any cookies and blondies that "didn't turn out quite right" for yourself).

And if that combination doesn't appeal to you, more ideas right this way:

What's your strategy for making tons of edible gifts at once? Tell us in the comments below!

We're sharing five recipes you can make with a dozen eggs that'll pack up pretty. This article is funded by the American Egg Board—visit for more recipes to bake and gift this season.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Divaj
  • tia
  • AntoniaJames
  • Afsana Liza
    Afsana Liza
  • drbabs
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Divaj December 24, 2016
Thank you for posting this wonderful information baking holiday gifts! I'll be a much more efficient baker - love the comments too, very helpful! Your website is great! Thank you!
tia December 21, 2016
My sister, mom and I do this every year. This year we did 8 dozen (or more) each of 10 different treats over 2 days (last year, we figured out the hard way that 10 dozen each of 10 different things is WAY too much to handle). We don't have any criteria other than "must not be fiddly" and usually have five or six repeats (there are three that get made every year and have since my mom was 16 and started this).

Mom does the math weeks before and sends out a list of things we need. Mom gets the butter and usually has the flour and sugar, my sister and I hit the grocery stores for non-perishable items and then drive to my parents' house the first weekend in December for Cookie Weekend. It's my favorite holiday tradition.

One point, though. We wouldn't be able to pull this off in the time allotted without a convection oven. Being able to bake 3 full sheets of cookies is crucial or we'd never finish.
AntoniaJames December 20, 2016
I make 10 different treats (not counting berries in syrup, jam and marmalade canned in earlier months) to deliver in 15+ boxes to be shipped, plus more for neighbors and parties nearby, so "one fell swoop" is simply not possible. In October, I plan what I'm making. I don't use a single or even more than one ingredient as a criterion, except perhaps as a factor in ensuring variety. The weekend before Thanksgiving, I soak fruit in rum for the Jamaican Black Fruit Cake to be baked on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I make up my ingredients master list for shopping and take care of it then. Also on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, using the same cutting board and knife (!), I chop all the nuts and fruit for 3 dozen mini panforti + one 8" one (several different recipes). At the same time, I measure and mix the flour and spices and put them into quart containers. During that week, on two evenings (when a basketball or football game is on the radio), I'll make the panforti. I chop the chocolate while they're in the oven.

The following weekend, I measure all the dry ingredients + spices for the various cookies into well-labeled quart-sized containers. I manually chop all nuts-- I have a nifty old-fashioned chopper which is ever so efficient--and finely chop in the food processor whole boxes of Trader Joe's chocolate cat cookies and schoolhouse cookies for bourbon balls. The crumbs go back into the cookie containers.

During the week, I make the dough for all the cookies on Monday evening and refrigerate it. This makes the cookies taste better, in addition to making the whole process much easier at the end of a long work day. The next night, I shape cookies that need to be shaped, and roll out the dough in sheets, cutting cookies that need to be cut, and put a huge pile of cookies cut on parchment into the fridge. The next night I bake, in volume production, the cut and shaped cookies, and make the dough for the two kinds of bourbon balls. The cookies that need to be dropped into confectioners' sugar get their first coat (always dust that kind of cookie twice, at least 8 hours apart). The rest are set aside. The next night I shape and roll the bourbon balls first thing and set them aside. I bake Lebkuchen (in bars, baked like Leckerli), let it cool slightly, cut it into big strips, and then brush with a glaze (citrus scented with the syrup from the candied orange peel I made in November to put into cakes, panforti and cookies) and let sit overnight. I roll the bourbon balls and then roll them in their first coating of sugar / cocoa. I make the bottom layer of peppermint bark and crush candy canes.

The next night (Friday), I roll the bourbon balls in sugar / cocoa again and decorate -- very simply -- the rolled and cut cookies. I finish the peppermint bark. I put together the cardboard boxes for shipping and make sure all addresses are organized. (I click'n'ship using USPS so most addresses are in my account online.) If I didn't do it the weekend before, I wrap all the jam, berries, etc. in bubble wrap and put them into the shipping boxes. The next morning - Saturday - I put all the treats into small to medium boxes, pack the shipping boxes, print out the labels and take the boxes to the Post Office. I spend no more than 1.5 hours each evening and about 2 hours on Saturday morning, not counting the 10 minutes it takes to drive to the Post Office, walk all of the pre-labeled (postage paid online) boxes in to drop them off, and then be on my merry way. Neighbors get their plates of goodies later that afternoon.

As I always say, simple project management. Not so hard. ;o)

P.S. I reserve and freeze about 10% of the dough, and ingredients for bourbon balls, to put together a second tranche for parties, and for when my sons and their friends arrive later in the month.
drbabs December 21, 2016
You are awesome.
luvcookbooks December 21, 2016
I read your ideas, cut back 90%, and feel proud of myself!
Afsana L. December 20, 2016
Love this! So useful - thank you.