Sweet Surprises

By Kristi S.

Merry December! By now, you’ve probably spent a month eating discounted Halloween candy, gorging on pie, and generally overeating in preparation for winter hibernation. Or is that just me? Either way, the feast is not over because we are entering the sweetest month of all. And one of my favorite ways to celebrate is by baking up tins of sweet treats to give to friends, family, and neighbors. There’s something so magical about surprising someone with a treat baked just for them.

My friends and family are used to my baking sprees, but the first year I delivered holiday sweets to my neighbors, I got some weird looks. Granted, I am usually a loner who holes up in my house after work so they might not have known who I was. But now my neighbors look forward to their delivery every year and are already asking me what I’ll be making. If you are looking for fun recipes to share this season, try turning to some of my favorites for inspiration.

Bake from Scratch

If you are looking to elevate your baking while still getting easy-to-follow instructions and gorgeous pictures of the result, you cannot go wrong with any of the Bake from Scratch cookbooks. For your own enjoyment, start with volume one and journey through the set for mouthwatering recipes. My favorite recipes for gifting are the Chocolate Orange Sables or the Apple and Browned Butter Hand Pies.

Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection

Say what you want about Martha, but she knows how to entertain. I love Martha Stewart cookbooks because they always have stunning photography and a mix of classic recipes and unique twists. If you want to be on-trend for 2019, try the Tahini Cookies. Or, learn how to make the perfect macaron and mix and match fun flavors.

Alternative Baker

Let’s not forget our friends with food allergies this year! As someone with celiac disease, it can be pretty sad to go to a party and see all the gluten-full goodies that I cannot have. This cookbook gives thorough information with easy recipes that make baking for allergies a snap. My friend gifted this book to me and I am loving it. Make the Buckwheat Hazelnut Pear Financiers or the Cashew Lime Blondies and your friends will be over the moon.

Baking With Your Slow Cooker

If you are just way too busy to devote a day to baking but still want to surprise and delight your friends, whip out the slow cooker! Books like these remind me that I am not using my slow cooker to its full potential, and I need to get creative. Throw everything you need into the slow cooker before you leave for work, and you’ll come home to treats like Pecan Granola and Cherry Cheesecake Bars that are perfect for gifting.

Sally’s Candy Addiction

Candy making is a bit of a science, but the effort yields delicious results. Popular blogger Sally McKenney has simplified the process with step-by-step instructions and helpful photos. I love the Chai Tea Latte Truffles, but you can’t go wrong with the Salted English Toffee or Peanut Brittle.



There are so many beautiful cookbooks in our catalog to browse for inspiration. Check out my list for more ideas, or do a search in the catalog for our entire collection. I hope that you find recipes to inspire you to whip up some sweet surprises. If you need me, I’ll be stirring a batch of cookies in my cozy pajamas with a cheesy Hallmark movie on in the background. This is me at my merriest. Happy baking!

Sweet Suprises

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3 responses to “Sweet Surprises”

  1. Erin L. says:

    I always use the Betty Crocker cookbook circa 1976 for my holiday cookies for the nostalgia of baking with my mom. Then I add one or two modern twists for fun.

    • Kristi S. says:

      I have the same Betty Crocker book! My mom and I always used it growing up, and she recently gave it to me for my house. So much nostalgia attached. I love your idea of mixing in some modern twists with the classic staples, I am going to have to try!

      • Erin L. says:

        Martha Stewart has A New Way of Baking cookbook out with some great ideas. Alternative flours and sweeteners etc.

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