Giving gifts from the kitchen makes more sense now than ever. With many of us downsizing, or giving gifts to people who have already done so, the addition of more tchotchkes to a household seems silly. After all, it is the thought that counts, so why not give something that won’t need dusting? Using personalized bags and boxes is fun, but the holiday bags from the dollar store work just as well.
Starting with chocolate, I have an original recipe that I call Double Dutch Brownies, you can make as a mix and give in a pretty jar. Just layer the ingredients in a jar perhaps like this one with a snowflake on the side, and give with the instructions on how to complete the recipe. This is from my Christmas in July event from 2016, updated with a free download of the mix and printable instructions to give with the mix – Gifts From the Kitchen 2016. See the post for detailed instructions with printables, and other ideas for mixes. But, to make it simple, if you just want the mix downloads, here they are – Double Dutch Brownie Mix and From My Carolina Home Gift Mixes.
For those who enjoy giving homemade baked goods, try my Cinnamon Banana Coffee Cake, and give in a festive bag to make the gift special. You could also try my Carmel Apple Coffee Cake, Orange Vanilla Bean Coffee Cake, Pumpkin Orange Bread or Fresh Peach Coffee Cake. Santa, please send me some Starbucks Christmas Blend to enjoy with these.
I know I keep talking about the Chocolate Covered Oreos, but truly they are wonderful. They were a big hit at the Christmas event for our Mini Club, and brought in a nice donation at the Silent Auction. I’ve already had several people ask for more next year. I packaged them differently for the auction.
I found that if I pressed the foil wrap with my fingers, the snowflake on the mold would show as a relief. The candy makers do this, so I did half of mine with just regular foil.
Alternating the foil wrapped ones with unwrapped ones made a nice presentation, then the bottom of the box was wrapped with clear plastic wrap and taped on the back. This way they stayed clean and sanitary while the bidding was going on.
Of course, a simple decorated bakery bag works just as well.
Now we need something new for this year. Making Christmas bright for the dogs in our lives is pretty simple, as the way to a dog’s heart is definitely through his (or her) stomach. I made these every year for many years, but when our last furkid passed, I stopped making them. This year, though, I drew the name in a Secret Santa swap of a friend with five dogs. So, I decided to make a batch again for her to treat her darlings, plus have a few extra for a couple of other special dogs. The best part is these are easy and use wholesome ingredients. Gather your ingredients and mix together.
Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness and cut with a dog bone cookie cutter, or other shape you may have.
Arrange on a baking sheet, and bake 12-14 minutes at 350.
Re-roll the scraps and keep cutting biscuits.
Cool on wire racks.
Package and give to your furry friends. These would be tasty for your feathered friends too.
Peanut Butter Dog Treats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (ensure your brand does not contain Xylitol)
1/2 cup shelled and cracked sunflower seeds (or use rolled oats)
1 cup evaporated milk
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix baking powder into flour, then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix together well. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead into a smooth ball, then roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with a cookie cutter into biscuits. Arrange biscuits on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Yields about 4-1/2 to 5 dozen, depending on the size of your cutter.
Download a pdf of this recipe – Peanut Butter Dog Treats. Isn’t this Santa Paws plate cute? The perfect server for the treats.
Lastly, for that cookie exchange or an edible gift, try my Fantasy Cookies. The cookies are so good you’ll think you are in another world! Dried blueberries mix with two flavors of chips in a soft and crunchy cookie that is irresistible. In fact, make two batches because there won’t be any left after the party! Try not to eat too many while they are baking, but I guarantee it won’t be easy. I made more of these just this week, and put them into tins. The one on the left is a gift. The tin on the right was my grandmother’s and she always used it for Christmas cookies left on the kitchen counter for anyone to sneak. I’ll keep it forever, remembering her cookies.
Do you like to bake during the holidays? Do you give gifts from the kitchen?