homemade crackers and put those next to a wheel of Edam cheese, and made simple milk chocolate truffles for my parents, which were a hit.
I also put together a few bags of Alton Brown's homemade hot cocoa mix and paired them with bags of homemade vanilla bean agave marshmallows from one of my favorite blogs, SkinnyTaste. Presented alongside Christmas coffee mugs, it makes for a nice gift. I made these for Daniel's aunt, uncle, and cousins, my grandfather, my sister-in-law, and my sister and brother-in-law.
I tossed some Oreo truffles into a few of the gift bags - these are a regular hit at most any holiday party you go to, and so easy to make.
Daniel's grandmother is a diabetic, so for her I made one of those "cookie in a jar" recipes - Snickerdoodle mix, her favorite. However, I adapted the sugar for Splenda instead. I haven't heard back, but it should work.
For my uncle Terry and in-laws, I made some cranberry hootycreek cookies - the dough for this was irresistible. I bought my uncle Terry a Darth Vader gumball machine and my in-laws the movie "Fletch" along with one of those "movie buckets" filled with candy and popcorn - we added more candy, Logan's bucks, and a big "one liter" of soda for a real movie night in.
Finally, I went all out for my other Uncle Randy, Aunt Sandy, and my dear favorite and only first cousins, Katy, Kelly, and Kerry. This took tons of prep and time, but it was so worth it. I made a nice spaghetti sauce from fresh garden ingredients I still had left from this summer - fresh basil, parsley, tomatoes, red wine, olive oil, onions, and garlic, with a touch of dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt. I did NOT make my own pasta (I do not think it would transport well and boxed pasta is still so much more attractive than my clumpy homemade pasta!) but I made my own compound butter.
Basil-infused whipped butter
3 sticks or 3/4 lb of GOOD quality butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs of olive oil
1/2 cup of fresh basil
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
Whip butter in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment for seven minutes. Meanwhile, pulse together olive oil and basil in food processor or blender until olive oil appears green-ish in color. Add olive oil mixture to butter, and whip two additional minutes. Add salt, and store in small jar or lidded container until ready to use. Refrigerate. Very easy!
I bought a good quality Romano cheese for grating and tri-color spiral pasta noodles. Then for dessert, the grand finale: almond and lemon biscotti dipped in white chocolate. This is EASILY the most complicated cookie recipe I've ever made, but apparently it was well-liked by all. All they had to do was add a fresh loaf of crusty bread (or meat to the sauce if they wanted) and their meal was complete. They were kind enough to send this picture of the completed meal itself: