When I was a kid, I looked forward to the plate of assorted cookies that our neighbors and church friends would bring over a few weeks before Christmas. It was like a Valentine’s Day box of chocolates. My brothers and I would take a bite of each treat on the plate to find our favorite and then call dibs on which one we liked best. It drove my mom nuts, but we did it anyways. Kids are great like that, right?
This year we made homemade bread and honey cinnamon butter for our friends and some hot chocolate mix. This was one of my favorite gifts I’ve given, because it is so personal and cozy. I love classic and cozy! I wanted to share the recipes I used! The bread is a recipe from my aunt – the queen of bread making. She is the mother of Elisabeth McKnight, a really adorable and awesome mommy-blogger (and my rocking cousin). My aunt is the expert bread-baker of our family, so I’ve labeled this recipe “New Hampshire Bread” after my aunt, who lives in New Hampshire. Clever, I know.
New Hampshire Bread
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it gets “bubbly”.
In a separate bowl:
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar or honey (I did 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of honey)
1 Tbsp salt
3 cups white flour
Add all ingredients together and blend with hand mixer.
Add 2 more cups flour using a wooden spoon. If you have a kitchen aid mixer, you can just put all the ingredients together and let that machine do the work.
Knead the dough using 1+ cups of flower for 5 minutes.
Grease a bowl.
Put the blob on dough in the bowl, cover with a large dish towel, and let raise for 1 to 1.5 hours (I let it rise for 5+ hours).
Divide into two sections, do a quick knead and put in sprayed bread pans (I divided the bread into little bread pans).
Cover the bread pans with a dish towel and let raise for another 30 minutes (I let them rise for 3 more hours).
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (the smaller pans I did for 20 minutes).
Honey Cinnamon Butter
2 sticks of salted butter, soft
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 cup of honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
I wrapped our bread completely in brown paper and tied it up with string. I tucked a sprig of evergreen in there, because you have to! You just have to. It’s like dotting your Is and crossing your Ts!
Hot Chocolate Mix
This gift was SO easy that I had to share. I got this cute glass container from Hobby Lobby. I bought hot chocolate mix from the grocery store, crushed up some candy canes, and topped it off with marshmallows. It is a super easy gift and so adorable. If you want to be an overachiever, you can make your own hot chocolate mix. Here is a great recipe that I love to use.
What kind of “bulk” gifts do you like to do for neighbors and friends?