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The Best DIY Gifts You Can Bake

Giving cookies as a DIY gift is an act of pure joy, even for baking beginners like me.  If you are looking for an economical way to share the holiday spirit, I have to tell you that these three cookies are foolproof and delicious.   I know, because I’ve begged for the recipes.  I’ve made them over and over. I've gifted them, and even entered them in competitions.  And I’ve had people hit me up for the recipes (to restart the cycle).

These three recipes represent 100% of the baked treats I've made more than once. Baking is hard for me because I hate following directions – I’d rather follow my own steps.  It turns out that this works out better (sometimes) in a savory soup or sauce where I can add all sorts of “secret ingredients” and come up with something amazing that I can never replicate again.  Baking falls outside my comfort zone because it’s kind of like chemistry – you have to be precise and you gotta follow the rules.

So once a year, I become a rule follower.  Every year we make mountains of these cookies for my mom to give to her church friends.  My sister Jenn has been known to pull a cookie baking all-nighter when they taste so good that my mom thinks of several more friends she needs to gift. 

They make the perfect gift for loved ones – over the holidays or any time of year.  Just be sure to make an extra batch so there’s something left to give away..

Mrs. Topp’s Shortest Shorbread Cookie

It’s hard to believe that something this delicious has just 4 ingredients and pretty much just as many steps.  I love that it’s not over sweet and it melts in your mouth.  Jenny Topp is the mom of my best friend from high school growing up in Toronto, and I must have asked her for this recipe umpteen million times over the years.  When I got married, she gave me a recipe book with this one on the first page, and I haven’t lost it again ever since.  This recipe always involves a trip to the grocery store for fruit sugar and rice flour, but it’s worth it.  And they’re easy to decorate with sprinkles, which makes them a favorite with all the kids.

Push fork into dough balls for the pro finish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. salted butter
  • 1 cup fruit sugar
  • 3 ½ cups all purpose flower
  • ½ cup rice flour

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Leave butter out to soften, then beat. 
  3. Add sugar into butter.   
  4. Mix flours together separately, then add into the butter/sugar mixture. 
  5. Make into 1 inch balls and press down with a fork onto a cookie sheet
  6. Bake for 30-40 mins.

Swedish Cream Wafers

These cookies are like fluffy butter cream icing sandwiched between two pieces of pie crust.  What’s not to drool over?  We got introduced to this perfect holiday confection by one of my husband’s colleagues, who is Scandinavian.  It won the cookie competition at his work, and then we baked it and almost won a cookie competition at a friend’s house (if only someone with a hyper active conscience in our family hadn’t felt constrained from voting for our own cookie…).  These cream wafers make unforgettable DIY gifts!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups salted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½  cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or more! My sister Jenn says you can never have enough vanilla extract – which my daughter Yumi repeats every time we cook with vanilla).

Directions:

  1. Combine 1 cup butter and cream.  Add in flour.  Mix well and chill for about an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Sprinkle flour on a board, then roll out 1/3 of the dough about 1/8 inches thick.  Cut with a 1/3 inch round cookie cutter (I’ve found that Nyquil medicine cups also work if you’re in a pinch).  
  4. Cover wax paper heavy-handedly with white sugar, then transfer rounds to fully coat both sides. 
  5. Place rounds on ungreased baking sheets and prick with a fork 3-4 times.
  6. Repeat with remaining dough.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 7-9 minutes.  Let cookies cook then put 2 cookies together with a generous smear of filling in between.

To make filling:  Beat 1/2 cup butter, confectioner’s sugar, egg yolk and vanilla together.  That’s it!

Thin and Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies

We have a huge rift in our family between the righteous people who enjoy a buttery, crispy thin chocolate chip cookie (me) and those who want thick, chewy, cakey cookies (everyone else).  But I know I’m right.  This recipe has been modified over the years from one that my sister Jenn found in a holiday magazine a million years ago. Super crispy, supper thin, super delicious. They are best consumed the day or two after baking, so storing / gifting the dough might be a good idea if you need more time.

DIY gifts made easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or more!)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.
  3. Using the paddle attachment of your fancy electric mixer if you have one, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Reduce speed to low; add in salt, 1/4 cup skim milk, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate
  5. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake until cookies are golden brown 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Baked treats connect us all through the passing on of recipes – which is why they are perfect to be gifted in a holiday Tokki Wrap.  You can even share the recipe by capturing it through the Tokki Digital Gift Tag