Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Step away from the cookie…

No really, this year I have decided to step away from the cookie.  I have always enjoyed baking holiday cookies, sugar cookies being my favorite as I love to put sprinkles on anything and everything! However, because we don’t do much entertaining I have found that we (and by “we” I mean “I”) end up eating the vast majority of the cookies baked, leading to prolonged feelings of bloating and guilt.  So I am not even going to tempt fate or my waist line this year. I am going on a cookie strike!

Instead, I decided to make tasty sweet treats to give away as gifts to my friends and coworkers.  This way I still have the spirit of holiday baking without the guilt of late night binge-eating. 

One of my favorite holiday activities is making Hard Tack Candy (click here for the recipe), I generally knock out about 10 pounds over the course of a day and this year was no exception.  My 2012 flavor selection is: root beer, cotton candy, blueberry, sour cherry, lime, cinnamon, pineapple, pina colada and tutti fruity.  I love the way they look like a stained glass window through the clear cellophane bag, and this year I opted to find a more creative way to package the candy for gifts. 
So, I put my mad-crazy Power Point skills to good use and designed the above label for my candy
bags. On the back side of the label is the color-to-flavor list.  I have to say, they turned out really cute and I can't wait to distribute them tomorrow!

While buying the candy oils at the candy supply store over the weekend I stumbled across the most adorable little gift treat, "Snowman Soup". In wanting to recreate this myself, I of course consulted the holy grail of craft projects, Pinterest, to get the DIY instructions. I found a link to a great site that not only provided the instructions but also a free download of several gift tag templates.  You can check out the site here.  In essence, it is a gift bag containing a packet of hot chocolate, marshmallows, a candy cane and some chocolates.  I found the most perfect snowflake bags at Target in their dollar bin section (where I also found boxes of hot chocolate and bags of mini-marshmallows on sale for a dollar too!)  Overall, this is a really economical but precious gift to make in bulk to pass out at a school or office and I consider it to be one of my favorite gift "finds" of 2012.
A couple of years ago during the after Christmas sales I purchased a large candy cane-shaped candy mold for 50 cents at A.C. Moore.  This year I finally found the perfect project for this mold... Peppermint Bark! Again, this was an easy project for which I already had most of the supplies at my house (including peppermints, gift bags, ribbon and gift tags) all I needed to purchase were several bags of white chocolate from the candy supply store for about $10.  Here is the end result, cute right? 
I am very excited about all of the edible treasures I created this weekend while listening to John Denver and the Muppets. If there was any doubt that I was in the holiday spirit, this weekend certainly pushed me over the top.  I have enjoyed seeing the mounds of candy treats covering my dining room table and I am secretly sad to see them go.  I am already eager to start my next Pinterest Board for 2013 holiday food-gift ideas so feel free to send me recommendations. Happy Pinning!

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