When it comes to wrapping gifts I think planning your color scheme ahead of time is key. I like to use a color palette of brown, red, white and burlap. Very rustic and sweet! Lots of monogrammed bags and tags make gifts very personal and special. I adore the burlap bags below that I had monogrammed with the letter T.
Besides the usual gift giving ideas, I think the idea of sharing the seasons treats is the most charming way to give.
I bake all of the favorites:
Peppermint Chocolate Crinkles
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti dipped in White Chocolate
White Chocolate/Peppermint Truffles
Stilton Walnut Crackers
Bags filled with holiday treats are my favorite gift for friends and family
Monogrammed burlap bags from Bell'ochio in San Francisco
Monogrammed name tags from Pottery Barn
Recipe for Chocolate- Peppermint Crinkles:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate/chopped
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola/sunflower/vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
20-24 peppermint candies
1 cup confectioners sugar
Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over (but not touching) gently simmering water. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat together the eggs and the granulated sugar until well blended. And the oil,vanilla extract, and melted chocolate and beat again until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture just until fully incorporated. Cover and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to shape, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 and have ready an un-greased baking sheet.
Place the peppermint candies between two sheets of aluminum foil and strike with a hammer or meat mallet, breaking them into large pieces. Then roll the candies with a rolling pin to crush them into small piece. Set aside.
Put the confectioners sugar in a shallow bowl. Pinch off a piece of dough and roll it into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Roll the ball in the confectioners sugar, coating evenly, and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used, spacing the balls 1 inch apart.
Bake until the cookies have puffed up and surface cracks, showing the chocolate beneath, 8-10 minutes. Let cool slightly on the pan, and then gently press some of the crushed peppermint all over each cookie. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Store in layers, separated by waxed paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.