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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Holiday Baking Inspiration (and a Garnish Giveaway!)

I’m sure it comes as a surprise to no one that one of the things I most look forward to about the holiday season is baking.  Baking for our family, baking for our annual holiday party, but most of all, baking edible gifts for our friends and family.  I enjoy both the baking marathon itself, and even more so the evenings when we drop by our friends’ homes and deliver goodies to all the local recipients.

I remember the first few years that I baked treats for friends and family, I was blown away by the cost of packaging items sold in craft stores.  If I’m baking for 20ish recipients, expensive tins and such are just not feasible.  Not to mention, it’s tough to find designs that really mesh with my own sense of style.  Thankfully, I discovered Garnish and it has been my go-to packaging resource ever since.  I love the variety of products and the simplicity of the styles, because they are a perfect blank canvas to further dress up however you like.  I also love that it is all recyclable.  (Take note, recipients!)

Since the majority of the people who receive my treat bags read the blog regularly, I won’t specify exactly which things I am making this year, but above are the items I’m using to package my goodies this year.  I am especially excited about the little burlap bags.  AYKM with that cuteness?!  Let me also just add that I think a few cute stamps and embossing supplies are one of the best tools you can have around to add a little decoration to nearly anything.  Plain bag + embossed snowflake = instant holiday cheer.  If you like what you see, you are in luck!  The good people at Garnish generously offered to provide a couple of gift certificates to share with my readers.  Head on over to the giveaway page to enter!

For those of you who enjoy preparing edible gifts for friends and family, here are several options that I think are ideal for holiday gifting.

Cookies are of course the most popular holiday treat, and for good reason.  They’re cookies!  Here are several of my favorites for giving away to family and friends.

Peppermint Bark Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Raspberry Almond Rugelach

Candy Cane Macarons

French Butter Cookies

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Espresso Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies

I think fudge is a crucial component of holiday treating.  Here are a few of my favorites:
Peanut Butter Fudge

Cappuccino Fudge

Cherry Hazelnut Fudge

Of course, there are definitely a few other candies that are also very worthy.

Homemade Marshmallows

Vanilla Bean Caramels – I will say these are the one thing that I definitely am including this year.  They were so popular the last couple of years, there could be a revolt if I did not!

Blackberry Truffles

And, a couple of other miscellaneous items that are major crowd pleasers year after year.

Peppermint Brownies

Hot Cocoa Mix

Happy holiday baking!

  • Leanne

    Such perfect timing– today is the day I was going to sit down, make our recipient list, and get down to the fun part of figuring out which treats to make this year. So much fun! I know I’m going to be torn between several of the above options– thanks for the great ideas!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000145699056 Alia Fisher

    Everything looks so yummy!! I can’t wait to try some of these recipes this season.

  • Meghan

    I absolutely love baking for the holidays, but sometimes I find it difficult to manage my time. Do you make 2-3 batches of one thing for 2-3 people (varying goodies in each set) or do you make 20 batches of one big thing for everyone?

  • tiffany and ryan

    Your cookies look so yummy!

  • Christiana

    I’m so glad you told us about Garnish. I have been looking around on the web for packaging with a natural look at a fair price. Perfect timing!

  • http://inquiringchef.com/ Jess

    I just discovered Garnish, and I’m in love! Such fun things, and it’s so great that you can buy them in any number. I haven’t tried the burlap bags, but you’re so right – total cuteness for holiday gifting!

  • Shanna Cook

    Such a wonderful and delightful selection of treats! Wish I was on your gift list :)

  • Jennifer Drummond

    Everything you make is just gorgeous!!! You are such an inspiration!!

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    Love all your recipes!! You make it look so easy :)

  • http://twitter.com/hiddenponies Anna Nienhuis

    Ok, now I’m super hungry. Last year I had good intentions of homemade gifts for a few people, but sadly (kind of) I ate all the baking myself…I cannot resist my holiday favourites! This year I know better…I’ll just buy them presents to start with :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.masters.90 Elizabeth Masters

    Love all the simplistic packaging supplies from Garnish! I’m always in the kitchen baking something, so I need to stock up on boxes and bags so I can give all my goodies away (in style of course).

  • Loretta E

    What an awesome collection! Those people that get your baking are very lucky!

  • Amibeth

    Oh my goodness I am so excited for marathon baking!!! I made several of these for the holidays last year and through the year… warms my heart to see them again and start the difficult task of choosing what will make it in this year. :D

  • TheSpiceologist

    Seems like I have been on a “gingerbread” binge this month (already). Needless to say, glad you posted Gingerbread Cookies! So much flavor! Annie, you said the following were some of your favorite to give out(which is what the holiday season is all about) but which are your favorite to eat?

  • Kristi

    Annie, out of the cookie list, anything you would recommend for shipping?

  • annieseats

    I’d say just about any of the items on here are good for shipping, though the macarons would need to be packaged really carefully to protect them from being damaged.

  • Jacqueline Benjamin

    I’m definitely making your vanilla caramels + apple cider caramels (from Smitten Kitchen) for Holiday gifts. My question is: how far in advance do you think I can make the caramels before they get stale??

  • annieseats

    As long as they are made correctly, they keep for a very long time. I’ve eaten them months later and they still taste great.

  • Whitney

    Annie, how do you organize your baking so everything stays fresh? I remember you did posts about meal planning and Thanksgiving prep, and I would love to know your timeline for holiday baking.

  • Michal

    Two words: Yum. Mee. These look great! Thanks for the roundup!

  • Whitney

    That makes sense! Thank you. I appreciate the response. Happy holidays, and happy baking!

  • Ann P.

    Yes, this post was extremely inspiring! I’m planning to baking a lot of my family’s gifts this year, and now I have so many good ideas!