Holiday preparation, part 2

The results of all those nights of baking? It’s this!

My gifts to friends and colleagues this year was a ton of baked goods. These are the sweets. There was also a small run of savory treats, but I didn’t get any photos of those.

First, the packaging: I made up some labels in Illustrator, going for a fun, midcentury-childrens’-book sort of vibe, and printed these out on round labels from Paper Source (Paper Source, for all your paper needs). The takeout boxes were purchased at BMS Paper Supply in Jamaica Plain (this place is awesome. It’s a restaurant supply place that’s open to the public. If you want a stockpot large enough to fit a toddler in, this is your place). I got an offer in the ole’ e-mail inbox from Busy Beaver Button Company (Busy Beaver, for all your button needs) for some limited-edition buttons printed on a shimmery paper stock, so I hastily designed a couple of buttons – some trees and a matroyshka (in a nod to my Ukrainian heritage, ha ha ha). Those came out pretty awesome. I intended to give these buttons out to everyone to whom I give any sort of present this year, so I affixed those to the boxes with some shiny red string (also from Paper Source). Ta da! Professional-looking packaging!

On to the baked goods: as the label states, I made brown-butter crispy rice treats and rosemary shortbread from recipes in the Flour Bakery cookbook (Flour Bakery, for all your delicious needs). The green tea blondies were made after a recipe from Nook & Pantry, though I modified it by adding sencha to the brownie base. These didn’t look like the author’s pictures, but nevertheless, they were fantastic. The truffles were made using a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated with modifications. In place of corn syrup, I used cola syrup from Williams-Sonoma, and I also added cherry flavor in lieu of booze (cherry liqueur would probably work just fine, if I’d had some, which I didn’t). I had tried making these last year, but they didn’t come out as expected. Oh, I also used semisweet Callebaut chocolate. Last year, I’d used a darker chocolate, and they were too bitter. I considered using milk chocolate, but didn’t. Finally, the Martian cookies, originating from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that my mom bought at Building 19 when I was little, and these were some of our favorite cookies to make.  The recipe can also be found online. Ta-dah! Gift content!

Oh, there was one picture I managed to get of one of my savory treats. So, I made cheddar-scallion scones using a recipe from the Flour Bakery cookbook. Everything seemed to be going pretty well, and then this came out…

AIEE! Why did it pool?!?!?!

Was it too liquidy? What did I doooo? Joanne Chang, help meeeeeee!!!

However, they still tasted totally delicious.

Things that I don’t think I will ever, ever, ever make again: bacon blondies. Way too fall-of-Rome decadent. If the world ends in 2012, I think it’ll be because I made these blondies.