I have so many more gift ideas to share, and seemingly not enough weeks to post them before the big end-of-December Holiday Bonanza. Perhaps starting next week I'll do 2 posts a week, just to get more ideas out there (especially for those of you who are productive enough to be starting your gifts NOW. Very smart people).
This is a new twist on an old standard gift idea. There is nothing complicated about it (here is a break to those of you who are less-than-crafty), and the labor of this gift can be done pretty far in advance. The cost on this gift can be pretty economical, especially if you take a week to scope out the best sales at several of your local grocery stores.
Revolution Gift Idea #5:
Frozen Cookie Dough
Huh? I'm sure you may be scratching your head over this gift, but hear me out. The idea for this gift (which I do intend to make and give this Christmas) was born last Christmas. Each December, I get (and let's be honest here) a butt-load of cookies. I mean, A LOT. I do appreciate the gift of cookies (please do not read this as "Never Give Steph Cookies Again," because I would grieve their absence in my belly), but I am usually inundated with so many, that I often have to give them away (Ug) or (GASP!) throw them away because they've gone stale (SACRILEGE!). During the week-long After-Christmas Binge of Gluttony (December 26 - January 2), wherein I have dinner upon dinner and party after party and cookie after cookie, I. Am. Stuffed. To the gills (read: gain 10 pounds in an impossibly short amount of time). It is in the beginning of January, when things die down (read: I fit into my pants again), that I begin to lament the lack of cookies. I had the thought, "If only I could space the cookies out, so I could enjoy them in more reasonable portion sizes and for longer."
What a gift it would be to give people the gift of Frozen Cookie Dough! It can be stored in the freezer throughout the holidays, when cookies are a constant presence, and ready for use when the holidays are over (but our cravings are not). They are also a great gift for those who might be having Holiday Parties (or even Superbowl Parties in January), giving them them a break from having to whip up a dessert, because it is already made! The other great part to this gift is that you can make the dough a few weeks ahead of time and freeze it (instead of feverishly slopping around your kitchen 2 nights before Christmas, killing yourself to make 20 batches of cookies. Which unfortunately will probably be thrown away because they go stale. Oh the sadness).
Over the past few months, I've taken to regularly freezing cookie dough. I didn't even know this was something one could do. It was not until reading about it on my friend's blog, Cooking With A Plan, that I was introduced to the idea. Ali (the blog's author) writes a great post about HOW to freeze lots of different foods. Check it out if it is a new idea to you.
I've really enjoyed having Cookie Dough on hand. Sometimes, I just want a cookie. Now, instead of having to put all the ingredients together (leaving me with, say, 60 semi-unwanted cookies), it is already in my freezer. I just have to take one ball of dough out, plop it on a sheet, and bake it. This fixes the problem of having 5 dozen cookies on your hand when all you needed was a few (which also cuts down on the temptation of "having to eat them before they go bad." Don't lie. You know you do it too). When we have friends drop in, I can easily take out some frozen cookie doughs and throw them in the oven, allowing me not to have to be holed up in the kitchen while everyone is chatting and having fun.
Now, the gift part....
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- Ingredients for 3 or more different cookie recipes (for example: Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Spice, and Ricotta Cheese). Most recipes will yield 3-6 dozen cookies, if not more.
- 1 package of Gallon-Sized Freezer Ziplock Bags (If you are feeling festive, get the decorated/colored Holiday ones). Double them up, so each bag is double bagged for extra-freshness.
- Large Cookie Sheets (for Flash Freezing)
- Temporary space in your freezer
- (Optional) Styrofoam Cooler (found at most grocery stores for under $5. Insulated Grocery Bags [$3 or less] would work as well). This is for transporting or presenting the gift, unless you have a more creative way!
1) Make the 3 (or more) different batches of cookie dough. Take the first batch, and roll into dough balls and place on cookie sheet, as you normally would to bake them. Since they will NOT be baked, you can put them as close as you can (without them touching). Place the filled cookie sheet into the freezer for 15-30 minutes. Once the balls of dough are hardened, transfer them into the double-bagged Ziplock Freezer Bags. Write the type of dough ("Chocolate Chip"), the date made, and the date to use by (to be safe, I'd say give them a 2-month freezer life). Continue until all the dough is used.
2) For the gift, I would bag the cookies by the ONE dozen. So, for a 5-dozen Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, you will have 5 double-bagged Ziplocks, each filled with 12 Chocolate Chips. That way, you can stretch the gift between several people. If you make 3 separate types of dough, give each person 1 dozen of each (or 2 dozen if that doesn't seem like enough).
3) To present the gift, neatly decorate the styrofoam cooler (or insulated grocery bag) to your liking. Fill the cooler with some ice, and place the dough inside. For most doughs, I put the instructions:
Preheat oven to 350º. Place frozen dough onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.
Feel free to adjust the baking instructions to different types of cookies!
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It may be simple, but this can be a truly thoughtful gift. Think of those who entertain a lot, have a bunch of kids running in and out of the house, or someone who is not able to bake for themselves. Having tasty pre-made dough, ready for the oven, could be a real treat to lots of people! I'd also imagine that many will be grateful for less Cookie Inundation around the holidays, but many future desserts to look forward to :)
Are you beginning to work on your holiday gifts? Have you come across some Revolution Gift ideas? Please continue to send them my way! Around mid-December, I'd like to post every idea that comes across my inbox! firstname.lastname@example.org
Check back next week for Revolution Gift Idea #6!