Holiday Winners (Sweet Edible Gifts): Wondering if you discovered any real "keepers" this past holiday season, specifically for sweet treats. ;o)

I'm looking for new ideas for next year for gift-worthy December holiday treats. I've been making pretty much the same things for years, and felt this year that I've fallen into a bit of a rut. Items that hold well for a week or two, and ship well (i.e., won't arrive as a pile of crumbs) would be particularly helpful. Thank you, everyone. ;o)



cookinginvictoria January 5, 2015
AJ, great question! I feel like I am always making the same things and should consider making some new recipes next year. :)

This year I made the mini loaves of your scrumptious Kentucky Whiskey Bread and shipped them to friends and family in Canada and the States. I can also attest to the deliciousness of Merrill's White Chocolate Snowflakes. However, in my next batch, I think that I will increase the amount of peanuts. I posted a photo on my Instagram account of these cookies, and Merrill said that she added pretzels and raisins to her recipe this holiday season, both of which I think would be excellent additions. These cookies travel very well.

The other cookie that I make every year and ship very successfully is tastefood's Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies Last year I made and shipped hardlikearmour's Vanilla Bean and Pink Peppercorn Icebox Cookies They are delicious and very festive looking -- I decorate them with pink sanding sugar.

I also make and ship bags of holiday granola based on the genius recipe but often add a holiday twist (pistachios for the nuts, dried cranberries or dried cherries for a hit of fruit, sometimes some orange zest for flavoring, etc.). Wanderash's Ancho Chile Cinnamon Chocolate Bark is irresistible and travels well.

I always plan to make the food52 marshmallows but haven't gotten around to them yet. Maybe next year? It would be fun to give them as gifts with the Smitten Kitchen hot cocoa mix.
keg72 January 5, 2015
I absolutely agree about the Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies -- those are terrific!
AntoniaJames January 5, 2015
cookinginvictoria, thank you for this detailed and (as always) helpful response. All sound terrific. And yes, you really MUST make the marshmallows. I bought a stand mixer, for the first time in my life, just so I could make that recipe. (My sister had made some and sent them as gifts a few weeks after the recipe was posted, which was when she joined Food52.) Love the idea of sending it with hot cocoa! (Although I must say that the Alice Medrich method of making hot cocoa with good chocolate, water and milk is my go-to these days, so I'd send chocolate with the recipe, most likely.) ;o)
aobenour January 2, 2015
AJ I shipped apple butter and blueberry jam I canned in the summer all over the U.S., along with biscotti and chocolate oatmeal cookies. Everything held up very well. In the past I've done homemade caramels and toffee bark with success.
AntoniaJames January 5, 2015
Great ideas, aobenour. Toffee bark? That sounds amazing. Do you have a recipe you can link or otherwise share? Thank you so much. ;o)
luvcookbooks January 2, 2015
AJ, this year I made lebchuken, crystallized the citron and candied fruit peel to flavor the cookies. I also rendered the small amount of lard called for in the old German recipe. Since my husband's family is German, I felt like the cookies had any layers. A lot of time (and anxiety) went into the lard, candling and crystallizing and I was honoring their tradition. This sounds like the kind of project youigjt enjoy, w your own theme(a).
AntoniaJames January 5, 2015
Meg, I'd love to see your lebkuchen recipe. I've made lebkuchen over the years, using homemade candied orange peel and crystallized ginger from the store. ;o)
Windischgirl January 2, 2015
I usually make an assortment of cookies from a variety of countries. This year's hits were the World Peace Cookies from Dorie Greenspan (on this site), and the Graybeh, and the Spice Cookies from Ottolenghi's "Jerusalem " cookbook. This year, I put each cookie in a mini-muffin paper liner before placing it in a tin or sturdy decorative box, which added a layer of cushioning for shipping.
For other great sweets recipes that only improve with age, I can recommend the lebkuchen, marzipan, and cookie recipes from Sarah Kelly Iaia's book, "Festive Baking: Holiday Classics in the Swiss, German, and Austrian Traditions". I typically use those recipes, just decided to mix it up a little this year.
AntoniaJames January 5, 2015
Thank you, windischgirl. I'm going to run down Iaia's book, which sounds perfect. (My mother made many traditional holiday cookies from Germany.) Will try to find the Ottolenghi recipes, too! ;o)
Susan W. January 2, 2015
A different twist on baked goods, but I made vanilla and bottles it in ADORABLE 8 oz flip top bottles. I made cute labels, tied pretty ribbon and included a cute jingle bell. I also made ghee for everyone which I do every year. Those were in short little Italian flip top jars. I may or may not have broken the law by mailing the vanilla.
AntoniaJames January 5, 2015
Susan W, where do you get the little bottles? I made a quart of vanilla extract in October, thinking I'd give some of it away, but never got around to getting the bottles to do so. Thank you! (And I love the idea of the jingle bell. Cute, indeed.) ;o)
Susan W. January 5, 2015
AJ, I got both of these from Amazon. I use the 16oz for kombucha and the 8.5oz for the vanilla. I was hoping the small one would be fancy like the big one, but oh well. I'd link to the seller, but can't from my phone.

Susan W. January 5, 2015
AJ, I got both of these from Amazon. I use the 16oz for kombucha and the 8.5oz for the vanilla. I was hoping the small one would be fancy like the big one, but oh well. I'd link to the seller, but can't from my phone.

keg72 January 2, 2015
I made these white chocolate snowflakes several times. People loved them, and they are SO quick.
AntoniaJames January 5, 2015
Interesting! And different. Will keep in mind. ;o)
cookbookchick January 2, 2015
Hi AJ! I made your brandy balls and sent some to my Food52 giftee who loved them, too. btw, I met your sister at our DC group holiday party. So glad someone mentioned who she was while we were all still there!
AntoniaJames January 5, 2015
cookbookchick, I'm so glad you were able to meet my sister (one of my all-time favorite cooks, who had the great fortune to take after my mother in about a dozen useful and important ways . . . . ) I would have so enjoyed that party! ;o)
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