Besides the obvious joy and merriment that surrounds extra family time, shared meals, and heightened cocktail enthusiasm throughout the holiday season, my favorite part of all is the gift giving. And by this, I mean thoughtful gifting to 250 of my nearest and dearest as a way of spreading cheer to all.
For the last ten years, it’s been a blast putting effort into a holiday gift package that goes out to my friends and family around the globe. Some years it’s one of my recipes with all of the dry ingredients and tools needed enclosed. Some years it’s my newest cookbook with a heartfelt note. Regardless of the contents, it's always catered to what I think they’ll enjoy the most while cozied at home during their well-deserved break. And I always, always accompany a personalized card to each recipient.
I think this year's gift box is one of my best yet. The theme—yes, there's always a theme—is hot; each box was filled with my favorite hot things. First up: Batali Bros’ Hot Sauce, made from a very exclusive recipe (I was sworn to secrecy by my boys). There was also Franzese Italian Hot Chocolate (plus some Grappa and a few mugs, of course), and coming in hot to soak up the booze is my Grandma Batali’s biscotti recipe, famous among my family and every member of our neighborhood posse growing up. My grandmother, in her traditional Italian ways, has always been my heart in the kitchen. To share that love with my friends and family, I printed her recipe for biscotti on a tea towel, inspired by one I saw on a trip to Greece with Susi and my sons this summer.
So whether it’s a quirky gift picked out from a vintage store because it reminds you of your dog walker, or a carefully curated box of favorite things, the spirit of the season lies in the gift of giving thoughtfully. Buone feste!
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto
- 3/4 cup hazelnuts, skin on
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips