Thursday, January 29, 2009

Holiday Baking Part 7: Gift Baskets

I can't always think of the perfect gift for someone.

There are those who I love, but sadly I don't spend enough time with to know their current interests so that I can figure out the perfect present.

I don't believe in regifting or giving someone something I'm not sure whether they will use, and I don't believe that simply spending money shows how much you care. But I also don't want to be viewed as stingy, and I do believe in giving something from the heart.

So the happy medium that I have come up with for these instances is to lovingly put together a basket of baked goodies, and include a gift card for a place that I'm sure the recipient will either enjoy or be able to find something useful. I think it shows the honest truth which is that although I don't know them as well as perhaps I should, I still care about them enough to make something from the heart, but also want to allow them to choose their own gift because they know better than I do what would make them happy.

These gift baskets are one of the main reasons I do so much baking at Christmas. I think it's fun to have a lot of variety!

This year I was wicked coordinated. I found these wonderful boxes with a snowflake print and a roll of matching wrapping paper. They were two piece boxes meant to hold a bottle of wine. I took each box and split it into its two halves and lined each half with wrapping paper (attached with a glue gun)

I really liked the shape of these boxes because they hold a tonne (last year I used tins and they didn't hold as much as I would have liked) and I could arrange everything in neat rows.
Here are the contents from left to write (top row first): Shortbread stars with yellow sprinkles, lebkuchen, pineapple Christmas cake (each slice individually wrapped), a container of lemon curd (I picked these up at the dollar store because they matched so well and had cute snowmen on them), and empty tart shells placed in a snowflake muffin cup. In the second row there are snowballs placed in silver candy cups, snowflake sugar cookies, apricot and hazelnut thumbprints and a couple of peanut butter balls placed in candy cups.

Recipes for everything except the shortbreads can be found below.

I wrapped the boxes with clear cellophane with blue snowflakes and tied it with a thick piece of silver elastic. I found little blue gift card boxes at Carlton cards which I punched a hole in the corner and attached to the elastic. The finishing touch was a silver name tag on each box.

I'm really happy with how these turned out!

One quick note about freshness: I figured out ahead of time how many baskets I would be making and subsequently froze the appropriate amount of goodies as soon as they were made. I thawed them out on the morning of Christmas Eve, assembled the baskets and gave them to their recipients on Christmas Eve afternoon. This was to ensure that everything was fresh since the cellophane around the box is not air tight.

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