… And the Hand-Makery Begins!

For the past several weeks, my guy and I have been tossing around ideas on what our gift giving is going to look like this year. It’s fun to get imaginative and impressive all at once. Easy when you have a family that either totally enjoys cooking or is at the very least – not adverse to eating new and different things. (Read this as we have an even ratio of cooks to eaters in the family.) There’s always the homemade candies and cookies that I absolutely love doing this time of year. The main thing I miss about not going to a workplace with a boat load of co-workers is making up the goody bags or boxes that everyone adored. Hmmmm. wondering if offering my services for this would make a good living wage?

This year I wanted to go in a slightly different direction than just baked goods and store bought items in the gift baskets. Especially since I didn’t really do much of the ‘shopping throughout the year’ thing (yep, it’s a “thing”) that usually gets those store bought items into the baskets. So Bear and I have decided it’s down to all handmade stuff this year. Ceramics, body care items (from the shop), preserves, a cookie, a candy and this new thing we came up with while we had been in that ‘tossing’ ideas mode. A sort of fruit tapanade. I love the savory tapenades made with olives and mushrooms etc. but wanted to see if we could come up with a fruity sweet one.

Today was test day and it was a total success! We’ve got a scrumptious fruit tapenade made with apricots, cherrys, cranberries, almonds with lemon zest and some yummy spices mixed in. Tomorrow we test how well the spices bloom into the mixture and if well enough we go into canning mode with this after making the black n blue preserves he’s planning to put together for the basket.

This coming weekend will be fun fudge time. I’m planning an old fashioned dark chocolate fudge with a layer of coconut goo in the middle and toasted crushed almonds pressed into the top layer. Sort of a homage to the best parts of Mounds and Almond Joys. I’ve always loved the dark chocolate on the Mounds but the chocolate covered toasted almonds on the Almond Joy and would have loved to have seen a dark chocolate Almond Joy show up on the shelves. Since the Hershey’s company has not seen fit to listen to my yearly emails, I’ve decided this is gonna happen my way.

The following weekend will be cookie time. Still haven’t decided what that will look like. Perhaps a chocolate chip and dark cherry oatmeal cookie with white chocolate drizzle? Peanut butter cookies with the bottom dipped in chocolate and grains of salt? Or!!! Maybe a wonderfully multigrain cracker to eat the tapenade on! Brinastorming still happening. Will update when the entire gift basket is done, so until then… hasta la vista baby!