Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Last Minute Christmas: Holiday Treats

grapefruit marmalade and blueberry lime jam, blogged by me here
lemon coconut bread from Baked Bree

Are you a little short on funds and time this year and still need Christmas presents? Bake up some treats for the people you love! Just take a little extra time to package them up carefully and they'll look sophisticated and make lovely gifts. I've compiled a few recipes that will look elegant when simply wrapped up with a bow or placed in a tin, and arranged them according to skill level/time. After they taste the treats, people are sure to ask for the recipe, so write it down on a index card and hole punch the corner so you can thread your ribbon through it before you tie it onto your gift.
These are just suggestions some to get you thinking. I like to try find recipes that use interesting combinations of flavors and are something that the recipient might not have tried before, but you could use old family favorites or whatever you like. Don't feel confined to cookies... quick bread or yeast breads, jams and jellies, pickled items, and candies are all surprisingly easy to make and would make wonderful gifts. All of these recipes can be made at least a week ahead.
Stay tuned for the next Last Minute Christmas post with gift and crafting tutorials.

Chocolate Earl Grey Truffles
Truffles are SO easy to make and everybody loves them! You can leave the Earl Grey out of this recipe, or substitute a different flavor, perhaps a touch of liqueur like Grand Marnier or Chambord. Disregard that step about putting the chocolate in a food processor.. if you use chocolate chips you should be just fine. I would also use Earl Grey teabags, that way I wouldn't have to take out a strainer for the hot cream, because I'm lazy and don't like to add extra things to clean up after.

Russian Tea Cakes
These are also easy to make and look dainty and elegant. You could substitute the walnuts for other nuts if you prefer, but I like using walnuts because they're much cheaper. They taste just as good, if not better, a few days after you make them.

Lemon Coconut Quickbread
You could also make a nice loaf marble pound cake, pumpkin bread, or banana bread. Anything! They all freeze really well. My dad absolutely hates coconut (and I love it), so I will probably end up making lemon poppy seed instead of this lemon coconut bread.

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
These cookies you roll up in parchment paper and freeze, then cut into slices so you have even, round cookies without having to roll them out. A quick way to get a nice log.. put the dough in an even line down the center of the parchment paper, and fold the parchment over the dough. Take a bench scraper and push the dough into the crease of the paper from above the parchment. I hope that makes sense, but it squishes all the dough together and you get a nice even thickness through the whole log. Take a permanent marker and write the date and type of cookie on the outside and pop it in the freezer.

Grapefruit Marmalade
A little more time is required for this, but it's not difficult. I love the look of home canned things, with the little square of fabric under the ring. I'll be making hot pepper jelly for some Christmas gifts this year. It tastes good over top cream cheese with crackers.

Salted Chocolate Caramels
If you feel comfortable with this recipe, try making homemade marshmallows. They taste amazing and are so impressive. You could also dip them in chocolate! There are other fun flavors you can do with caramel. I made honey lavender caramels one year and they were really good.

From Bakerella

Of course, there is the classic decorated sugar cookie. I saved this for last because honestly I think they're a huge pain in the butt and aren't worth it. But if you're feeling up to it, Bakerella provided a template for the Santa and elf cookies.


  1. Lots of beautiful ideas here - really good collection. Thanks for posting it :)

  2. I like the jam jars - such a cute way to use fabric scraps.