Handmade Holidays 2012

Welcome, dear reader, to the beginning of the 2012 edition of Handmade Holidays!

This week I went to a lovely holiday cookie swap at the home of my friend Amy. The idea was for everyone to bring one dozen cookies for each person attending as well as the printed recipe. There were 8 of us so each brought 7 dozen (eek!) cookies to the party. Amy put on a fabulous spread with a hot cocoa bar (including peppermint schnapps and kahlua), cheese, veggies, etc. Needless to say, fun times were had by all.

In order to make it through 7 dozen cookies with my limited amount of free time, I ended up biting the bullet and purchased the stand mixer I've been stalking for a year or so...

It's the Mercedes of stand mixers, and let me just tell you... TOTALLY WORTH IT! I got it with some coupons at Macys and I REGRET NOTHING. Definitely will be buying the pouring shield and the beater with the spatula edge. This baby made it easy peasy to knock out 7 dozen cookies. Particularly since my previous mixer smelled like burning when you turn it on so I typically ended up mixing everything by hand which, frankly, sucks. Moral of the story? Kitchen Aid saves Christmas (cookies).

I went through several recipes before I decided on a Chewy Gingersnap with Chocolate Chunks printed in last year's Real Simple December issue. The only changes I made were to fold in 6 oz of chocolate after step 3 and they really only needed 15 minutes in my oven, but mine is kinda broken. As with most baking recommendations, it may not be the same for everyone and will probably take a little futzing to figure out what is right for you. Mine, while delicious, turned out much darker and less chewy than the ones pictured in the magazine, though I followed the recipe to the letter. This is one (of many) things that irk me about magazine recipes.

Now to my favorite part... the packaging!

I started by typing up, formatting and printing on regular printer paper the recipe (including the addition of the chocolate). Then cut them out to size and matted on red, green and blue textured scrapbook paper. And for fun, I used my eyelet setter at the top and threaded bell ornaments I bought at Bartell Drugs through the hole.

Then I packaged the cookies. This was a bit of a snafu because the JoAnns by my house is pretty small and only carries a few sizes of baker's boxes and I really had no time to go anywhere else. Also not really knowing how big I was really going to need led me to buy a size that was frankly too big. To fix this I used red tissue I had lying around and made a cookie-nest .

Then I taped a festive ribbon around the box and wrapped baker's twine around twice, threading through the eylet on the recipe card and tying a bow.

Ta-dah!

I feel it was pretty successful, despite the boxes being way oversized and I definitely will learn to measure how much space a dozen cookies actually takes up before buying bakers boxes again...

Next on Handmade Holiday! More DIY wrapping, projects involving jars, a TON of make-at-home bath products, and a few sewing projects... All make great gifts and can be done on a budget.

As always, I love to get comments and suggestions... so drop me a line!