This Christmas, I decided to give a bunch of homemade presents. For some family members, I gave spice baskets with homemade vanilla extract and sugar. I found very reasonably priced bottles (that you didn’t have to buy in bulk or pay a buttload for shipping, since they were glass) at American Spice Company. I used mason jars for the vanilla sugar. I bought label sheets at Office Depot and designed the labels for them myself. Check them out!
I also made some homemade peppermint bark to put in the baskets.
Then, I bought Penzey’s Northwood seasonings and BBQ 3000 to put in the baskets as well. They were very well received!!
As for the coworkers, I baked sugar cookies using the recipe from Cookie Craft. I’d LOVE to post the recipe, but due to recent copyright issues I’m reading about in blogs, I’d rather not risk it. I would say this is a definite read for anyone who is interested in learning to decorate cookies! I adapted it to add almond extract, in addition to the vanilla extract and lemon rind called for in the recipe. It gave the cookies more of a sugar cookie flavor and less of a butter cookie flavor. This was the first homemade sugar cookie recipe that my fiance loved too! I FINALLY ended the search for the perfect recipe!
This recipe barely spread, allowing the cookies to keep their great crisp shape. It also rolled VERY easily. I never had a sticking problem, which is something I experienced with some previous recipes.
Left is not cooked, right is cooked for comparison of them holding shape.
I also made candy bark coated pretzels with Christmas M&Ms on top. These were a SUPER easy recipe. Just melt candy melts or bark, spoon into the middle of the store bought pretzels and top with 3 M&M’s.
Last, but not least, I made the infamous Oreo Truffles. To make more, I used 1/2 tsp. as a measuring tool for how big the truffles should be. These made a more decent sized truffle, and I made about 80 with the recipe this time.
Then, I put each treat in holiday cellophane bags, as pictured.
These went in cute little holiday take-out boxes that I found at Michael’s. I absolutely love how these all came out! I’m definitely doing this again for them next year. Probably with different treats, though.