A homemade gift is the sweetest thing. Not fancy, just straight from the heart. We cooked up three base recipes, with variations—and sprinkled with decorating tips.
November 14, 2011
1 of 14Photo: Rumulo Yanes, Recipes: Julianna Grimes and Deb Wise
Delicious Holiday Gifts
Nothing brings tidings of cheer like fresh and delectable treats that the whole family can enjoy. This year, spend a little time in the kitchen and create gifts that everyone will love. Where to begin? We'll start you off with a basic recipe that you can then use to create two more variations. Then, add a sprinkle here, a ribbon tied there, and pretty soon you will have beautiful gifts for friends and family that are both fun to create and a delight to receive.
2 of 14Photo: Rumulo Yanes, Recipes: Julianna Grimes and Deb Wise
Base Recipe: Iced Sugar Cookies
Add water to icing a drop at a time for thinner spreading consistency. Decorate with dragée (sometimes called sugar pearls), gold or silver dust, and coarse or sparkling sugar, and tint the frosting with food color paste.
3 of 14Photo: Rumulo Yanes, Recipes: Julianna Grimes and Deb Wise
Variation 1: Gingerbread Cookies
These cookies can easily be made into snowmen if you prefer. First, "flood" snowman-shaped cookies by spreading thin frosting with a small offset spatula to coat, if desired. Pipe thicker frosting from a zip-top bag to outline. Use a toothpick to make small dots of icing that act as glue for decorative details like sugar pearls.
6 of 14Photo: Rumulo Yanes, Recipes: Julianna Grimes and Deb Wise
Variation 1: Chocolate Cupcakes
Use a block or bar of good chocolate for your garnish of chocolate curls. If you rub your thumb over the surface two or three times and then shave, the curls will be less brittle and less likely to crack and break.
8 of 14Photo: Rumulo Yanes, Recipes: Julianna Grimes and Deb Wise
Base Recipe: Buttermilk Bundt Cakes
Here we offer three garnishing options for these adorable, delicious cakes: Simply dust with powdered sugar, pipe a bit of glaze over the top, or completely dunk the cakes for a heavier coating. Make the cakes up to two weeks ahead. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze, omitting any garnish. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then dust or glaze. Look for mini Bundt pans at kitchen emporiums or big box stores. Be sure to coat the cups of the mini Bundt pan well with baking spray with flour added. Cakes will stick if you use regular cooking spray. Although the mini cakes are really cute, you can bake one large cake, if you prefer. It'll just need to bake longer, about 45 minutes total.