I'm itching to get going on my Christmas boxes. I'll be buying individual gifts for my parents, my sister, K, and a couple of friends, but for most people, I'll be putting together little smorgasbords of Christmasy delight, packed up in cute miniature Chinese-takeout boxes for all of their portable Christmas sweet-eating needs. And I'm hoping to do the whole shebang for $100.
I know I'll be including:
- homemade peanut butter cups
- Chez Panisse gingersnaps
- pralined almonds (and maybe hazelnuts too)
- English Toffee
And I'm thinking about adding biscotti (for those who prefer more subtlety in their sweets) and peppermint bark, but I haven't picked recipes yet. Two advantages here: 1) because I want a wide variety, I won't have to make very much of each recipe. At the most, I'll be doubling them, but I won't be doing quadruple batches, which are always unwieldy. 2) There are exactly three new pieces of kitchen equipment I am going to need for all these recipes: a candy thermometer (my mom might have one I can borrow), a chocolate thermometer, and a mini-muffin tin (see previous parenthetical).
I'm headed to Pearl River for miniature Chinese takeout boxes. They're four for a dollar. I'll probably get 32, for $8, and I'll try to pick up some cellophane or tissue paper there too, for under $10. Budget another $25, tops, for new kitchen tools, and I'm left with about a quite-satisfactory $60 ($10-$15 per recipe) for the purchasing of ingredients. I should definitely be able to do it on that. I'll make my own gift tags, or just label the boxes. This project will provide gifts for coworkers, friends, and less-immediate relatives, and if I do do it for $100, the cost will be $3.13 per gift. And I think the gifts are quite satisfactory ones, too, especially if I do a little decoration of the boxes.
The project will officially kick off this Sunday, when I'll be back from Chicago. Hopefully, I'll get to Pearl River then for the boxes, and the fun can begin. (Because it's food, I can't work too far ahead of schedule, but I can certainly begin the making of lists and assembling of ingredients.)