Baking Goodies & A Couple Of Books Giveaway!

Friday, December 23, 2011

...

I was this close to posting a new recipe when I started getting a flurry of email about Christmas cookies (baking time, shelf life, etc...). It made me realize that if I did not start on my own Christmas baking soon, no one in the family would get their present.

For the past ten years, we have bagged the idea of buying presents for Bill's family and we give each (friends too) a big box filled with homemade cookies, truffles, confections. (Click on this link to see a sample look). Depending on the recipient we also include a couple of movie tickets, a coffee shop card, a babysitting pass, a gas card or two...you get the idea.

It's Starting To Look Like Christmas...
Yes, this is our actual mantel deco every year...

I personally don't mind doing all that baking, sends me back to my days as a pastry chef getting ready for the holidays. I also like that on Christmas Eve, it's Bill and I boxing it all up, labeling everything and of course...sampling the broken pieces.

Here are all the goodies going in the gift boxes this year, recipes gleaned from my archives and from all around the blogs I read and enjoy.

- Chocolate Fudge from Baked Bree
- Spritz Cookies from Rasa Malaysia
- White Christmas Meringues from Jul's Kitchen
- Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies from Brown Eyed Baker
- English Toffee from The Little Red House
- Speculaas Cookies from Gluten Free Canteen
- Key Lime Meltaways from Smitten Kitchen
- Pistachio Cocoa Nib Cookies
- Dark Chocolate Truffles
- Honey Walnut Cake (in mini muffin from this time)

Stars & Bubbles

Maybe this will give you an idea for a last minute baking spree!

In addition, as my Christmas gift to you, I am giving away one copy of Girl Hunter by Georgia Pellegrini and two copies of "Plate To Pixel. Digital Food Photography and Styling". Funny to think I was right in the deep of writing it this time last year and now it is in its third printing! Third!! Woohoo! Thanks everyone for the support and love for this book.

Anyway...Three books, three winners!

All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of this post (no anonymous, no double entry). A winner will be selected on Christmas Day at 10pm and announced shortly after.


Mr Softie

332 comments:

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The Suzzzz said...

I still can't believe it is Christmas Eve. I have been tortured at my day job with non-stop Christmas music since the day after Thanksgiving and relief is in sight! When the music and phoney Christmas cheer got to be too much I'd take my break and peruse your site. Thanks for the sanity.

Nadi'Art{design} said...

Merci pour ton livre que je me suis procurée l'été dernier :) Tes photos sont toujours aussi belles unes que les autres ♥ J'adore ton petit bonhomme de neige ci-haut :) Je te souhaite un joyeux temps des fêtes et une très belle nouvelle année 2012 remplie de santé, bonheur et prospérité ! Merci pour le concours :)
Nadia -- xXOo

Bloemendaal said...

Many thanks for the Xmas cookie suggestions, your book looks amazing!

Andrea said...

I love your ideas and blog. Thanks for the chance to enter.

Andrea D.
short74717@msn.com

Bloemendaal said...

Many thanks for the Xmas cookie suggestions, your book looks amazing!

Carol said...

That mantel decoration is so stinking cute!

AbrewFamily said...

Happy Holidays and Happy baking. I love your mantel decorations.

Dolci Fusa said...

Merry Christmas!
Hugs,
Veronica

marbellawalk said...

Needed a dessert for Christmas Eve for 7 - ended up with a black Forest Cake, Blackberry Cobbler (Pioneer Woman), Mini Apricot Cheesecakes, Chocolate Pie, shortbread and baklava - something for everybody - now I just have to transport it there safely

Elin said...

Love the decorations. I'd love to win Girl Hunter! Merry Christmas!

linda said...

Love the decorations Helene! Have a blessed Christmas and enjoy the special moments

Susan Eaton said...

Sorry if I doubled posted. I forgot to put my name and link of my fb page. I love your work and your photography and that would be cool to win those books!
Susan's Decorated Sweets or Susan Faia Eaton on FB.
wseaton@comcast.net

Jacqueline said...

Wow. What an inspiration. Thank you for continuing to share your gracious gifts with the world. I've found peace and inner stillness following your story. Happy Holidays.

carol said...

merry merry & happy 2012 to you & your family, helene!! enjoy the festivities and all the scrumptious food together... cheers!! carol

Darcy said...

Your mantel is beautiful! I hope you and Bill have a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year! I would love to win "Girl Hunter"!
I treasure my autographed copy of "From Plate to Pixel"♥ *hugs*

Lu said...

Evviva

Andrea said...

Merry Christmas! What a great idea for gifts.

Amber, RD said...

Love your decorations! I made eggnog truffles for my neighbors and they have been very well received! Merry Christmas!

julie said...

Thank you for sharing your recipes and photography tips with us all through the year. Happy Christmas!

ela:::ela:::ela said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours! :)

Veronica said...

I do a similar thing at Christmas that you do. My gifts are homemade, this year I made mostly confections (almond nougat, honey caramels, peppermint bark, three types of truffles, fig,anise, almond bark), I canned crabapple jelly, pepper jam, cranberry relish, dill pickles, pickled beans, pickled garlic scapes, bread and butter pickles and peaches for gifts. I combine these with some personal touch items similar to what you do.

I don't seem to have the same touch as you have with putting it all together, so I was glad to get a peek at what you did. I'll have to try that next year.

Merry Christmas Helene. I am so glad that I found your blog. It is a delight to find gluten free recipes that suite my personal tastes. And hubby, who is the photographer in the house, admires your non-cooking skills with a camera.

Lisabella said...

I'm looking forward to improving my food photography skills in the coming year!

Suzi said...

Loved you snowman layout! Merry Christmas and thank you for your great ideas.

ElizabethB said...

Merry Christmas! Hope your cookies turned out great!

Suzi said...

Adorable work! Merry Christmas.

Jody said...

I'm making it a goal to box up yummy goodness next Christmas!!

Jan S said...

I would love either book, but you photography book would be great help!

Danielle said...

Merry Christmas! I read about these books on another blog which led me to your blog and Georgia's blog, what a great giveaway!

hb said...

LOVE your decorations. Would love to know where I could find something similar. Can't wait to bake some of your cookies. Thanks for the wonderful blog. Merry Christmas!

Kristina B said...

I asked for your book for Christmas so I am keeping my fingers crossed! Happy Holidays!

Amanda Thompson said...

I love your decorations ~ so cute and so beautiful! I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

adb6{at}humboldt{dot}edu

leslie said...

Your pictures and recipes are an inspiration, as always. Today I am making my aunt's cream wafers - they signify Christmas to me. Have a wonderful time with your baking and gifting.

Mom's the little one said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.
*wish the best for me to get your book, or whoever will get your book must be a lucky person.. :)

Emily said...

that IS inspired!! I would love a post about creative (i.e., functional) packaging ideas, since that's where my baked gifts often break down. and sadly, I mean this literally...

Diana Hu said...

Happy holidays! Congrats on your third printing~

dianahu78@hotmail.com

Danielle said...

I've been wanting your book forEVER, so maybe I'll win. :)

Also, I love the snowman ornament photo!!

Shauna said...

Happy Holidays, what a great idea with the boxes of homemade goodies!

Melisa said...

I'm looking for gf Christmas cookie inspiration and if I were home I would give speculaas a try!

Carolyn said...

Thank you for all the wonderful work you do and for sharing your expertise with all of us, your fans.

Michele said...

Merry Christmas!! Blessings and love to all!

Melissa | Dash of east said...

I love this idea of giving baked goodies to friends and family instead of presents. Especially if they come from you - what lucky recipients!

Your book is amazing, I love it and recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their food photography.

Have a great Christmas!

jeanjean38553 said...

Thanks for the recipes and all the hard work you put into your site all the time. I truly enjoy your postings. Happy Holidays

KeyonnaRenea said...

Thank you for always sharing your great insight :)

Pétra said...

Congratulations on your third printing!! I love the mantle decoration so cute.
I made my first macarons this holiday thank you for the great recipes and tips they turned out amazing!
Merry Christmas!

Jennifer Cochran said...

Thank you Helene for your beautiful blog and photographs. They are enchanting and inspiring! Have a lovely Christmas...Joyeux Noel!

Chez Us said...

Happy Holidays!

Miriam said...

Would love to win. Your recipes and photos give much inspiration. Love them.

garden said...

Merry Christmas!

Jean Lewis said...

Love the photos. Great gift ideas. Keep it simple.

Desiree said...

I've gone the making treats route before and it never turns out exactly the way that I intend. Either I don't have enough treats to put in the package; therefore, it looks puny and no where near representative of how much time and effort I put into baking everything or something I bake doesn't turn out to taste the way I want! I would be so excited to get one of yours though!!

Jessica said...

Those look like some amazing recipes your making!!

Organa Design said...

Merry Christmas! Great ideas for a Christmas gifts!

Ashley said...

The mantle decorations are very cute!

Claudia Lima said...

Merry Christmas! :)

poimlady said...

Happy Holidays.

Love this blog and the photos - simply amazing.

This blog is a present itself.
Each time I visit, I leave with a smile.

Thanks for taking time to share.

Mandy said...

Oh, yum (:

Diane said...

Merry Christmas!!

Whimsical Bakery said...

Love the great idea of boxed treats and gift cards for family members ... thanks for the list of cookies, always looking for new ideas. Merry Christmas.

Christine ~ Whimsical Bakery
bakery@whimsicalbakery.ca
www.whimsicalbakery.ca

shornrapunzel said...

Happy Christmas. I'd love to win a copy of your beautiful book!

Marguerite T said...

Merry Christmas!
I love the ornament at the end of the post, such a simple silly little design.

Meghan said...

Merry Christmas. All of your suggested treats sound G-R-E-ate!

dris209 said...

Merry Christmas! Health and peace to you!

Anny said...

What a wonderful gift you give your friends! Something which is really from the heart.
Love the snowman picture.

Happy Holidays

theperfectdetails said...

Love your blog and sending you heartfelt holiday wishes and my deepest sympathy for the loss of your dear grandfather. Blessings to you for a happy and healthy 2012!

Nish said...

Hi Hélène!
I like your mantel deco, so cute!
Just a while back was driving around a neighborhood in Houston to see the Christmas decorations & lights with different themes people in different communities put outside their homes.
It's my first Christmas in US ever since I moved here 9 months back, so it was really nice to see!
Hope I get to meet some families around sometime in future, and be able to see just as beautifully decorated homes on the inside, and actually celebrate this along with them, their way :)
If I may add, I'd love to receive a copy of your book "Plate To Pixel. Digital Food Photography and Styling" if I'm chosen as one of the winners.
Would be thrilled to learn from the book that I've read about in so many blogs when they share a thing or two about food photography!
Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to you :)
Cheers,
Nisha
(Your follower since quite recently!)

Chandi said...

Its always a delight to see your photos. Thank you. Happy Christmas.
Blessings,
Chandi

chinmayie @ love food eat said...

Congrats! Love your blog, photos and recipes :) Merry Christmas to you and your family!

theunappreciatedbaker said...

Happy Holidays! I would love a chance to win your book!

Sophia said...

Happy Holidays to you ! the Plate to Pixel Book will be a great win for this year ! your decorations are so lovely and cute ♡

Jacqueline Wyble said...

Thank you for the idea of not exchanging gifts yet instead, give food gifts which most people appreciate even more so. I love coming to your blog just to see what beautiful pictures you will post next.

Happy Holidays and congratulations on your third printing! How exciting and wonderful!

sweetdreamsmaycome said...

I love the idea of the cookie gift boxes and a card or ticket besides. Perfect gift and I would love to do that - I seem to run out of time each year after my baking spree but maybe next year I can do that. Merry Christmas!

DineInDiva said...

Beautiful photos, as always. Would love to win Plate to Pixel. Merry Christmas!

Three-Cookies said...

Merry Xmas and happy new year to you and your family. That box of goodies sounds superb

Sunnie said...

Thanks for the giveaway, pretty decorations!
sunniewoodyplus2 atmsn.com

Chiara M said...

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

passioninterest said...

am i too late for this? merry christmas

Natalija said...

What a wonderful and truly thoughtful idea! Thank you for the beautiful photos and the inspired treats. I have already purchased "Plate to Pixel" recently and cannot wait to put it to good use. I plan on doing some baking today and hope to photograph the results. ;)

moni.zuza said...

Homemade gifts are always the best. Happy Holidays!

Judy H in NC said...

Thanks for the beautiful pictures and the great food.

Anne said...

Ce ne sont pas des petites boîtes!
Le petit bonhomme de neige est vraiment adorable! Joyeux Noël!

Sheila R said...

Happy Christmas!

Thank you so much for the lovely recipes and even lovelier photography. I first came to your website for the cashew gateau, but stayed around because of the gorgeous photos.

You have really added to all of our lives here. Thank you so much! I hope you come to NYC with a workshop soon!

Gosia said...

What gorgeous gifts these cookie bundles are. I'm totally impressed with the selection. Thank you for listing the sources for this deliciousness. Merry Christmas!

joan.ekimball said...

Love your book so much. such helpful thoughts and inspiration.

JoanE

Frances said...

Merry Christmas, Helene. The goodies sound yummy. Hope your day is merry and bright.

susie. said...

i love your festive decorations!

Bianca @ Sweet Dreaming said...

have a very merry christmas :)

Ava said...

Thanks so much for all the hard work you put into your blog!! I cant tell you how much I enjoy it! Merry Christmas!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

What an adorable mantel decorations. I subscribe by email and wanted to tell you how much I enjoy seeing your latest post in my inbox.

Happy holidays to you and your family.
Sam

Karine Keldany said...

Merry Christmas Helene. May this year bring you health, joy, love and success. All the best!!!

Thank you for all your good recipes and creative ideas. You keep inspiring us.

Laryssa said...

Merry Christmas, Helene!

Sarah H.P. said...

I made homemade goodies for everyone's Christmas presents this year and they've gone down a treat! From now on, it's the only thing I want to give to others at this festive time of year! It's fun, easy, and means so much more than just any old present from a store!

Laure S said...

I love the edible gifts idea! I can't go home this year, so just had the family Christmas dinner through webcam (me in the US, family in France). That's definitely the kind of gifts I'd like to share so I can be with them a little bit when I have to stay here :)

Elaine said...

Merry Christmas! And thank you so much for all of the recipes you've shared with us. I've tried so many and none have ever looked as lovely as yours :)

valerie april said...

Merry Christmas! Hope you are having a wonderful day with family and friends!

Mary said...

I love your blog so much, don't know why I never comment!

The Prudent Homemaker said...

Would love to win a copy of your book!

flavorstoheaven said...

I love your decorations!
But the best present you could give me is the fantastic book Plate to Pixel, in my possession since last night! Thank you :)

Blue Sky said...

Merry Christmas!
Love your site.

dpchef said...

As a Pastry Chef I know what busy at Christmas means! Thank you for your year long inspiration as well as links to others who also inspire us. I appreciate your work.
If you pick me, I have a copy of your wonderful book but would love the other one!
Joyeux Noel!

Win O. said...

I love your snowman. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Gloria said...

I love homemade gifts! My favorite brother in law gifts us with his amazing Gumbo. We always look forward to it!

Merry Christmas!

Francy said...

A big hug from Italy ! Merry Christmas!

Kyla said...

Merry Christmas, and thank you for sharing so many wonderful recipes! I made the scallop and beet fettucine a few days ago, it was delicious!

Susan said...

Merry Christmas, so looking forward to doing some more!! baking with these great ideas.

Paola said...

Merry Christmas!

Yoon J said...

I would love to pursue an ambitious goodie box project for ny friends as well. . . . Will definitely look back to this post again. Merry christmas!

Ilke said...

Happy holidays to you! I have your book and I love it that it gives me a different perspective of how I shoot the pics. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge and tips!

幸福de贝儿 said...

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Sara Lu

muglinka c. said...

merry christmas. xoxo m

Shelby said...

What a lovely idea for homemade, sincere Christmas gifts! Another beautiful and inspiring holiday post, thank you!

Jenni O said...

I am so glad to have found your beautiful blog this year; you rock.

Kim said...

Merry Christmas. Thanks for a great giveaway

Tulip Tree Place said...

I really admire your work! It would be dazzling to win the giveaway :)

wen said...

xooxoxxoxo...

Ellie said...

What great cookie ideas! Making Christmas cookies is one of my favourite parts of Christmas. My favourite that we make is my Grandmother's old recipe for 'Russian Snowballs' - beautiful, melt in the mouth walnut shortbread!

Ridha said...

Would love to win this. Happy holiday! :)

Duygu said...

Happy holidays,Helene.

Valérie (France) said...

Je te souhaite un bon lendemain de Noël
Valérie

Carmen said...

I love your recipes and even more your perfect photos.
Happy Holidays from the Caribbean Islands!
I hope you have a wonderful new year!

dena said...

Happy Holidays! I hope to win the photography book. If you've seen my blog, you know why.

Barb said...

Thank you so much for all of your beautiful posts and wonderful recipes, Helene. I have enjoyed reading them all and have passed on your blog address to my friends who have gluten intolerances/ allergies. I find you site an inspiration. I hope you and your husband had a good Christmas and will have a wondeful New Year! Happy Baking!

Me And My Sweets said...

Thanks for the cookie recipes! I got your book "From Pixle to Plate" this Christmas and I think it will help me a lot with the pictures for my newly created baking blog www.meandmysweets.blogspot.com

Thanks and happy Holidays!

jen laceda said...

I have your Plate to Pixel book, but would love to win Girl Hunter :)

Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet said...

I actually received a copy of "Plate to Pixel" for Christmas this year, and have already blazed through almost all of it!
Happy Holidays!

Juls @ Juls' Kitchen said...

I just came out of the kitchen where I cooked for the first time the family Christmas lunch (and dinner) and our usual get together with friends on Boxing day, and discovered my name here! I'm so happy you made the meringues!

Juls @ Juls' Kitchen said...

I just came out of the kitchen where I cooked for the first time our family Christmas lunch (and dinner) and our usual get together dinner with friends on Boxing day, and discovered the link to the meringues here.. I'm so happy you decided to bake them!

squirrelbread said...

Merry, merry Christmas to you and yours. Love that mantel runner with Santa's clothing items!

Cheers,

*Heather*

northbysudouest said...

Hello, I really like the blog. Especially the pictures. Do you mind if I ask what camera you are using? I'm planning a present to myself for Christmas of a new camera so looking for ideas! You might like to look at my other half's blog too?
We both moved from the UK three years ago to live and cook in the South West of France. He is a chef so the blog is about cooking and living in France generally. Anyway, just incase...
www.northbysudouest.blogspot.com

simjen said...

Your gift boxes and mantel decorations are very beautiful.Will work on it sometime.Hope you enjoyed more this christmas!!May God shower his blessings on you :)

Paula said...

Great ideas! Thank you for all the wonderful photos and suggestions.

Ryan said...

Cute snowman!

Jan said...

great giveaway... LOVE your blog! Your recipes are the best!

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