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Friday, December 9, 2011

Foody Friday: Christmas Gift Boxes

This Christmas I decided to rely on edible gifts for several family members in an attempt to prevent the "stuff" build-up that Christmas brings. I have a large family (there are 11 of us), so if everyone gives everyone else a gift, we are looking at a whole lot of presents (I remember Christmases growing up which involved 4-hour gift opening marathons. We always sedately and maturely took turns, politely thanking the giver, and it could take forever!)
My table covered in food for packing! 

Food gifts are usually welcome and are gone before you have to store them, so they work well for my family.
Packing up boxes in Priority Mail flat rate boxes

This year's boxes included:

- Brandied fruitcake, which should be nicely aged by the time the packages arrive. Tip: Soak the dried fruit (not the candied fruit) in your alcohol of choice for 12 hours prior to cooking; make sure you add all the alcohol to the batter, too, since it carried a lot of flavor. The cakes will seem dry when first done, but grow moister with age - do not serve for at least one week.
- Cranberry chutney. Tip: Although delicious on turkey or pork, chutney is also a fantastic appetizer spread over goat cheese and served with crackers.
- Peach preserves
- Grapefruit marmalade. Tip: Cook it when fruit is in season and store for Christmas!
- Flourless chocolate walnut cookies. Tip: If you are mailing cookies, choose a recipe that produces a crisp outside (for sturdiness) and soft inside (for freshness). FYI this is the best cookie ever invented. It is extremely easy to make and has just a few inexpensive ingredients, and the finished product is heaven in your mouth.
- Caramel candy corn as packing material - it's like a beanbag!
Festive dollar store ziplocs. The zips on the red bags did not work - the two sides were identical instead of locking together -  so I tied with ribbon. 

And in these festive Christmas ziplocs, we have:
- Maple-walnut brittle. Tip: To keep brittle brittle (especially when humid), make a pouch of dry white rice in a square of tissue paper and toss it in the bag. It acts as a desiccant to prevent the candy from softening.
- Christmas Spice coffee. Tip: When flavoring coffee, you can rub flavoring oils in, but alcohol-based flavorings like extracts will just evaporate. If you add cloves, be careful; clove oil is potent and can actually eat away at plastics, like storage containers.


  1. I'm all for the edible type gifts or any type of gift that prevents the 'stuff' buildup!!

  2. Thanks for the rice/brittle tip. I plan on shipping some out [my first time, obviously!] and I think I'll be using this trick!!!

  3. Clever! (especially the packing material)

    My family is a food-giving family, too. But my dad likes fresh fruits best... Nothing say "I love you" like spending $25 to overnight a 3-lb box of tangerines, right? ;)

  4. I think Food Gifts are the best. They are usually appreciated, easy to send off, and no one has to worry about trying to display or wear them at a later date. Being from Florida I have come torely on Hollianna Farms for Honey bells and tangerines!