packaged with love

‘Tis the season! Thanksgiving has come and gone but don’t put away that mixer and those baking sheets just yet. It’s time for treasured handwritten recipe cards, blizzards of red and green sprinkles and sticky icing fingers. It’s holiday baking time! As a new mom, I’m looking forward to spending snowy December days cozy in the kitchen baking up something sweet with my littles. My daughter is only 11 months, so it’s up to me handle the cookie baking this year, but that’s okay. It’s a nap time job I gladly accept!

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There is something special and a little magical about homemade holiday treats. They bring back memories and start new traditions. They are bursting with good cheer and sweetness and love. Taking the time to make a plate of cookies for family or friends is like wrapping them in a warm hug that keeps on giving. These days, as families find themselves scattered across many miles and maybe even an ocean or two, sometimes those we want to hug the most are the furthest away.

Like many quad city families, my husband and I relocated to the area for work, leaving loved ones in other parts of the Midwest. The holiday season can be a difficult time to be away from family, especially now that we have our first child. What better way to start making spirits bright than by surprising family with tin of homemade treats delivered right to their door! Packing and shipping an edible gift may seem intimidating, but with a little extra care and some planning ahead, you can share your favorite holiday goodies with family and friends near and far. Here are some easy tips to get you started.

Ready, set, BAKE!  Choose sturdy treats that can hold up and stay fresh during their trip. Bar cookies, sugar or gingerbread cutouts, and drop cookies like chocolate chip or oatmeal are all good choices. Crunchy goodies like biscotti or shortbread also travel well. Avoid anything that requires refrigeration or anything too fragile or delicate.

Shortbread

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread all ready for their trip to grandma’s house!

Handle with Care. Now for the scary part – packing them up. To guarantee a delivery of fresh, tasty cookies and not a box of sad cookie crumbs, the contents of the tin should be wrapped thoroughly and snug inside. Movement inside the tin is cookie enemy number one. If packing more than one variety in a tin, put the heaviest items on the bottom, and double or triple wrap cookies with strong flavors, such as mint, so the flavor doesn’t transfer to the other treats. Avoid packaging soft and crisp cookies together so the textures aren’t compromised.

Armed with a pretty new cookie tin and a little faith, I set out to successfully mail some early holiday cheer to the grandparents. To package my shortbread, I put a layer of crumpled paper towel on the bottom of the tin for some cushion. I took four cookies and wrapped them in two layers of plastic wrap so they would stay fresh and nestled them into a festive cupcake liners. Then I arranged the cupcake liners in the tin and filled in the gaps between them with aluminum foil so that they couldn’t slide around. Finally, I added another layer of crumpled paper towel and another layer of foil across the entire tin before putting on the lid.

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Add Some Flair. A simple ribbon and a handwritten gift tag complete the packaging.

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Ready to go!

Special Delivery. The box that holds the tin for mailing should be large enough so the tin fits inside with a little bit of space on all sides, including on top. Fill the box with newspaper or packing peanuts to pad the tin and keep it from moving around. The less the tin moves, the less likely the contents will break. Choose a shipping method that you are comfortable with – I went with 2-day priority shipping from the post office – and ship early in the week so that your treats don’t end up sitting in a warehouse over the weekend. I baked my cookies on a Sunday night and mailed them Monday morning.

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Success! My cookies arrived, in one piece and still fresh, on the doorstep of some very grateful grandparents the Wednesday after I mailed them. Now that I’m confident I can package them so that they arrive safely, (and knowing how much joy they bring to the recipients!), I hope to start of a new tradition of mailing holiday treats every year.

What about you? Will you be shipping any holiday goodies this year? What are some of your mail-proof favorites?

About Erin M.

Erin, a native of the Chicago suburbs, has called the QCA home since 2011. This city girl married her country boy sweetheart, Eric, 7 years ago. She is currently a stay-at-home mom to daughter Claire, born in January 2013. When she is not making up silly songs about sweet potatoes or tickling her baby's tummy in exchange for giggles, Erin can probably be found standing over the kitchen sink eating a brownie. She enjoys reading, writing, cooking, a good glass of red, comfy pants, 90s music, attempting to be crafty, and spending time with her family and friends. She has been musing (rambling?) about food and life on her blog, Milk & Honey, since 2008.

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One Response to packaged with love

  1. Kim@NewlyWoodwards December 6, 2013 at 3:36 PM #

    You are awesome! I’m not much of a baker, but I can appreciate those who are. And I’d sure be happy to find that package on my porch.

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