Holiday Baking Making Plans

Okay family and friends out there reading this post, avert your eyes. This is a complete spoiler alert, so go away, skip to a different post.

Starting last year I opted to make gift baskets up for my family and friends instead of trying to puzzle out individual gifts for each person. It worked out splendidly. In fact, I actually gave everyone the gifts I intended in baskets. The ones that got left with no gifts were the ones with unique handmade items.

Most of my family is in the place in their life where if they want something, they have the means to get it themselves. So I really like the idea of giving them a special treat that won’t add to their general household clutter. Yummy foods and small handmade useful thingies. That’s the way I’m going from now on.

the basket

  • a few select handmade things like an ornament,
  • a pair of useful handmade things, a nice little bundle of tasty baked items,
  • a jar of preserved something-something, and
  • a holiday card to spread some cheer.

These are the books I’m pulling from to get my handmade holiday making on.

For preserves:

Williams-Sonoma The Art of Preserving

I actually won this book from a giveaway on, the only giveaway on the internet I’ve every won. It turned out to be a great one to win. It covers some excellent preserving related topics, contains a nice tasty selection of jams/jellies, preserves/conserves/marmalade, sweet butters/curds, pickled fruits/vegetables, salsa/relishes/chutneys, and condiments/sauces. Loads of yum.

I’ve actually been having a pretty hard time deciding what I want to make. Since it’s not really a growing season around here, I’m looking for something I can pick up at the grocery store in bulk and would be unique as a preserve, something not easily bought off the shelf. So at first I thought about apple sauce, but didn’t really fall into my “unique” and “not cheap at the grocery store” plan. Digging around more in the book I realized it was right on the cover: preserved semons. They have a great little paragraph on ideas for using them, so around each jar I’m going to tie a little tag around it with the “ways to use” tips typed up.

PupSnacks: 35 Delicious and Healthy Recipes to Bark Home About

I got this book a few Christmases back because there’s a great recipe gift mix in the back of it. Like one of those mason jars with dry ingredients and the “how to mix and bake” included. Well, I made them for quite a few people and only about 50% actually made them, ha. So this year I’m going to just bake some tasty little treats for our tailed friends. I’m thinking the Christmas Dog-erations would be great.

Paris Boulangerie-Patisserie: Recipes from Thirteen Outstanding French Bakeries

This is my favorite baking book for fancy pants tasty treats. I haven’t made nearly enough recipes from it, but the ones I have are perfect. Last year I tried these wonderful almond based cookies–Sablés à la Cannelle (the best freaking cinnamon shortbread cookies)–and I’m definitely making those again. But because my mom loves shortbread cookies (You aren’t reading this are you, Mom? You better not be! Merry Christmas if you are.), I’m going to make these with some rice flour and butter substitute, just for her. For my sister (you better not be reading this either) I’m making a nice little batch of croissants. I haven’t tried the recipe before, so let’s hope it lives up to the deliciousness of the Sablés à la Cannelle.

Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies

This is a new one for me, but I’m pretty excited about it. There are literally 101 cookie recipes in here to bake and enjoy. Included are trendy cookies, classic cookies, for little ones, for adults, for health nuts, and nut lovers.

I’m definitely making the little cookies that look like mice. And I’m starting to take a real fancy to the Lemon Wreaths too. Yum. I’m thinking of one other cookie if there’s time, but I’m not sure. Have you baked anything from this delightful cookie collection?

One Last Thing: Bread of the Visit Club

(Mom you really better not be reading this. I sent her an email telling her to stay away from my blog in the lead up to Christmas.)

My mom’s diet is gluten and dairy free and is really missing her toast. So each and every time I visit (about every other month) I’m going to bring her a loaf of bread ranging from homestyle to rye to cinnamon raisin. I’m starting with one loaf and including a series of certificates for her to hold on to.

How do you handle your handmade Christmas? What is your go-to favorite Christmas cookie?

Happy holidays!


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