Monday, December 17, 2007

Gifts from the Kitchen

By now it's hardly a secret that I love to bake, and that I bake for the holidays. Last year my tiny kitchen turned into quite the cookie production line, which, upon reflection, was kind of crazy. This year, I've managed to take things to all new levels of craziness. I don't know what's come over me, but I can't stop finding new things to bake/make for holiday gifts...and what's *worse* - I continue to make them!

First up this year: instead of the usual cookie assortment, I decided to put together little treat boxes containing the perennial favorite snowball cookies, accompanied by two types of nuts- one sweet and one savory (because who doesn't need a little of both?), and two types of bark candy. The cookies are a given, and I thought the candy and nuts would be a fun change.

Treat box (clockwise from top left: cinnamon candied walnuts,
snowball cookies, spicy mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans),
dark chocolate-almond bark, and white chocolate-peppermint bark)

A sane person would have stopped there. As luck would have it, no sane people live in my house (sorry, boys) so after that I went on to make some rather adorable (if I do say so myself) and wonderfully fragrant mulling sachets.

Mulling spices (clockwise from top left: cinnamon sticks, cardamom,
cloves, black peppercorns, and star anise

I made enough to package some into a cute hostess gift, and others to give out as little gifts. I really enjoyed making these- I'm sure I will be making them again.

It would be nice if I could just leave well enough alone, but I seem to have been bitten by the holiday elf bug, because like I said- I can't stop myself! This weekend B asked me what I was doing and when I said, "baking cookies," he exclaimed, "MORE?" Um, yes. My current plan (early this morning) is to bake some pumpkin-cranberry bread tonight for the office...we'll see if that actually happens...I'll be sure to let you know.

Perhaps the craziest part of all is that I really do enjoy this- not the madness necessarily, but I really do love making things like this, packaging them, and most of all giving them. The fact that I create more work for myself than is called for at this time of year is abundantly clear, however, when the elf bug bites, I am defenseless. Those elves sure know a sucker when they see one!

17 comments:

jillian said...

Oh my, my mouth is watering over the treat box! I think it's wonderful you find the wherewithall to make all these wonderful gifts!

mle said...

Wow! those are wonderful treats! the variety is quite impressive.

Disentangled said...

lovely as usual!!

kat coyle said...

sweet stuff from a sweet elf

Kara said...

Oh the sweetness...yours and yours treats!

mary said...

Oh I figured it out! You got my Christmas mojo that I've been looking for. So glad you have been handmaking tons of prezzies! They look delicious. Yum-o!

Lolly said...

I wish your blog was scratch-and-sniff. I wanna smell the spices!!

Nasus said...

yummy! I thought of you last night b/c K was making choco chip cookies from scratch (for office nerd olympics). We don't have a hand mixer, so he had to mix everything by hand. I believe that's your preference? :)

Madge said...

Oooh goodies from the kitchen. Look at all this yummy! I, too, love baking this time of year, and was up to midnight on Friday making cookies. (after putting up the tree) Sugar and cranberry-coconut chews. I'm a total Xmas cookie fiend, and usually end up making 4-5 different kinds. Still up: more cookies and some cranberry-orange bread. Oh, and maybe some gingerbread.

Your handmade gifts are lovely. And isn't whole star anise the coolest?!

Happy holidays, Ms. Elf!

Jennifer said...

That is a lot of crazy! But it's the kind of crazy I like... to eat! Everything looks so wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Nothing says Christmas like candy and mulled cider! And goodwill, which is what's bitten you, Shannon.

The tag you made on the jar just reminded me--you have the best hand printing I've ever seen!

- MJ

The Stitchin' Sheep said...

I seem to have been bitten by the same (transcontinental?) bug. I haven't made holiday treats in years. Today I made divinity (that I came close to messing up but was able to salvage) and am halfway through a fudge recipe. I'm considering taffy next. The kids would find that fun.

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

Your baking is delectable! The recipients of those boxes are lucky indeed. I make Russian Tea Cakes that look a lot like your Snowballs - they're my absolute favorite. I completely get the baking thing - we'll be doing that over the holidays, too. Are you and B staying here or nearby? Maybe we could have a little knit meet.

xox,J

knitzalot said...

Those mulling spices look wonderful!

Shelley said...

Good heavens girl!! I sure hope you're not "it" for the holiday meal this year as well!!

dee said...

oh goodness, those are crazy yummy looking!!!
Your melting moments are the best!

mames said...

what do i do to get on the recipient list? totally kidding, but it looks so yummy. next year i plan to return to baking, this year it has been a bit too hectic. your elfin efforts are adorable...happy holidays and thanks for the comments. kiss your twin nieces for me, i love to see pictures of them when you post. smiles.