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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!

it’s time for holiday baking {and a garnish giveaway!}

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving falling so late this year really threw me for a loop.  This past week I’ve been resetting my mind toward the winter holidays, and now I’ve finally got my sights set on holiday baking and planning my annual holiday party.  I may bake for friends and family all year long, but I especially love doing it at the holidays when I can do it in an organized, large scale fashion without getting the side eye from anyone.  Each year I struggle with choosing which treats will make the cut and be included in the packages I make for friends and family, and each year the choice becomes more difficult as I find a couple new must-makes each holiday season.

Next week I’ll have a few more new treats to offer you, but until then, here are some past favorites that I’ll be agonizing between when I finalize my list this week.  Once I have the list all finalized, I’ll be stocking up on packaging supplies from my friends at Garnish.  Read on down through the bottom for a chance to win some Garnish goodies for yourself!

Of all the incredible holiday cookies out there, in my book pretty much nothing can beat a sable. Simplicity is at its best in this crumbly, vanilla scented cookie.

This cappuccino fudge has been a favorite favorite of mine since childhood. It is so easy to make and has the best texture of any fudge I have tried.  You can’t go wrong with a classic, chocolatey fudge with a hint of espresso.

Except for this nutella cherry hazelnut fudge with sea salt. If anything can get me to stray from plain, unadulterated fudge, it is this.   It really needs no explanation.

If you’re into candy making, caramels are such fun to make and recipients love them! These apple cider caramels were new to me this year but the flavor is so incredible, I think they will be making it into my gift bags this year.  So, so good.  Of course, you also can’t go wrong with the classic vanilla bean caramels (now with step-by-step photos to help you along if you are intimidated by making caramels.)

When I’m baking such mass quantities of treats, I can always appreciate something that is simple to make but garners rave reviews every time.  That is these peppermint brownies.  One batch makes a large panful and goes quite a long way.

Truffles are one of my favorite holiday treats to make for gift giving and parties, and these peanut butter pretzel truffles are irresistible. What’s not to love?

For all the peppermint lovers out there, these mini chocolate candy cane cheesecakes are a sure winner.

Rugelach can sometimes be a rather homely, B list cookie, but this chocolate raspberry almond rugelach wins my heart and is a must-bake for me every year, usually for gifting but if not then at least for our family to enjoy.

I first made these pecan pie thumbprints last year and they totally wowed us.  Pecan pie in cookie form – oh yes, it’s a thing!

Candy cane macarons are one of my friends’ favorite holiday cookies.  I love seeing my friends get as excited about macarons as I do.  (Side note: now when I make these, I use the Italian method described in detail here but still fill and garnish as normal.)

This gingerbread recipe is the one that taught me that yes, I do love gingerbread.  And it is good…so very good.

And when in doubt, beautiful sugar cookies are a sure bet.  See my recently revamped royal icing tutorial for step-by-step instructions.  You CAN do this!

Alright, those are just a few (ha!) of my favorite holiday treats.  I hope that gave you some fun baking inspiration.  Now head on over to the giveaway page for a chance to win some Garnish goodies for packaging or parties.  I adore Garnish and am always glad to share their awesome products with you!

  • Tasha

    Can’t wait to see what you share next! I have been making your cappuccino fudge for a few years now and giving as gifts. It is amazing!!! I started using espresso powder for a stronger taste. Thanks for sharing your recipe……it makes a great gift!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    They all look so beautiful! I am hoping to try a few new things this year but I know I have to make the gingerbread cookies with my 5 year old…they did a whole thing on the gingerbread man in kindergarten class and she has been asking me to make gingerbread ever since.

  • Melissa Vasquez

    Thank you! I’m with you- it’s been crazy trying to make Christmas gifts and goodies. This week is finishing up gifts and the next is baking. Looking forward to the post on your party.

  • Sue

    The paper baking pans look wonderful as well as the paper box options. They’d be great for my fruitcake and candy giveaways this time of year.

  • Angela

    Beautiful photos! Love the ideas every year. Can’t wait to hear what you pick for your party. Your ideas are classy and simple which I love.

  • Kari

    I just finalized my baking list last night – or so I thought – now I might need to add the capp fudge or those brownies!
    FYI – the link to the peppermint brownies isn’t working (it goes to the Flickr photo, not the recipe).

  • annieseats

    Thanks! I’ll fix it in a bit.

  • Amelia

    One of the things I love about your website, among many, is that you don’t go crazy with ads or product reviews unless they are products that you use yourself. Thanks so much for the reminder that I need to place an order and for being so generous with the giveaway.

    I made the sugar cookies above over the past two days. I am set to ice them tonight. They are by far our FAVORITE holiday cookie. I also have the vanilla bean caramels, cappuccino fudge, and candy cane macarons on my list. Thanks!

  • Frances Bacot Ryals

    I would love to have the Good to God boxes. I am always sending leftovers home with my guests and this would be great! Also love the Chip Off the Block containers for serving chips, dips, french fries, etc. And the Contessa’s Way soup containers would be a must as well!

  • Ryanne A

    LOVE all the paper straws- especially the
    Birch Pattern Straw

  • annieseats

    Aw, thanks Amelia! That means a lot because I work hard to be sure I don’t do too much of that stuff and when I do, it’s only for things I absolutely LOVE. (There will be a few more in the next couple of weeks but again, it’s all stuff I love so I know my readers will too.)

    So glad you love the cookies so much, and that you’ll be making some more treats from the site as well :) Love to hear that.

  • Amelia

    Can’t wait for Monday’s awesome t-shirts that I just saw on Instagram! :) Woop!

  • Carolyn Spencer

    I have been waiting for this post! Yayy holiday baking! Your fudge was definitely a hit in my cookie boxes last year.

  • Jennifer Drummond

    I love the Sippy-De-Do-Dah straws, and the Coffee Klatch, which woul dbe great for my lattes!!!

  • Angela

    Your photography is just incredible.

    I am going to make the cappuccino fudge this month. I am intrigued.

  • Amanda

    I would really love to make the rugelach cookie- any chance you give me a substitution if I wanted to make it with just nuts and cinnamon? Thanks!

  • Nancy Tobin

    Love your gingerbread cookies. They were a hit last year (mostly with me because I couldn’t resist). Getting ready to start my holiday baking tonight and these are first on my list!

  • Lindsey Raatz

    The apple cider caramels and the peanut butter pretzel truffles are definitely on my list to make for Christmas!!

  • Shawn M Davis Hoskins

    Love the Berry Basket ideas, I don;t know why but when you see berries in these containers they taste better!

  • Shawna Clifton

    I love the Contessa’s way containers. These would be so handy for me. The Frankly my dear boxes would be great for holiday goodies!

  • Annie

    UGH I wish I could enter. But I will say I’m having a blast browsing Garnish anyway. Also happy they ship to Canada!!

  • Annie

    Also I’ve printed out like four of these recipes and hope to get my BAKE ON this weekend!!! Thanks for being great, and also for sharin’ mah name. <3

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne (eats well with others)

    I was feeling a little bit of Christmas cookie burnout this weekend but you’ve gotten me re-excited for it!! Have to remember I want to make rugelach this year. And fudge. And so much mint chocolate.

  • http://www.quarterlifecrisiscuisine.com/ Ashley Bee

    This is a great round up! I have tried to make the apple cider caramels FIVE TIMES and every time I end up with apple cider caramel SAUCE because they never firm up. Oh well, it’s still super tasty :)

  • Lauren M

    Hi Annie-I apologize if this repeats from another message I attempted to send! I was just wondering which containers/packaging you recommend for truffles and fudge. Also, did you get the clear plastic bags the vanilla sables are in through Garnish? I did not see them on their site. and just out of curiosity, how do you contain all the individual items you hand out for delivery. do you place them in a large holiday box/bag? Or just hand them as is? Just wondering! Thanks!

  • annieseats

    Hi Lauren,
    I did see your comment, just hadn’t had time to reply yet. I think I did buy some bags like that from Garnish last year but honestly, it has been so long I don’t remember for certain. I think it was the Hello Cello bags though. I do use a large bag to contain all the smaller bags and boxes. Last year I used the Oh Goodie bags and embellished them with a holiday stamp and some ribbon. Hope that helps!

  • Diane

    When I first read the title of this post I thought you were giving away some baked goods along with the packaging! Darn! :)