Dec 5, 2008

Gift Ideas

The holiday season is upon us. Whether you're looking for ideas for gifts so you can play Santa or you're writing your own list to Santa, here are some items that have caught my eye. This post will include books and food treats. My next post will have food products.


Baked, New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Recipes from their bakery in Brooklyn. This one is at the top of my list.

Bakewise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with 200 Magnificent Recipes by Shirley Corriher. Learn the science behind baking from the James Beard award-winning author of Cookwise and former chemist. You may have seen her on Alton Brown's Good Eats. This is a must-have for any baker.

The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet (and Sur La Table). I heard an informative interview with Mushet recently on the KCRW's podcast Good Food discussing ways to freeze doughs and batters for holiday baking. Includes step-by-step photos. Another baking must-have.

Heirloom Beans from Rancho Gordo's Steve Sando and Vanessa Barrington. Descriptions of the variety of heirloom beans available and what to do with them.

For more cookbook ideas, check out the newly updated list of my favorite cookbooks in the column on the right.

Food Treats

Kakawa chocolate candies. These are our favorite chocolate candy to turn people on to and we especially love that they are locally produced in Austin. A whole roasted cocoa bean is coated in layers of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate and then dusted with cocoa. We try new chocolates all the time and while we find new favorites, these are always at the top of the list. You can buy them direct at the Kakawa booth at the Austin Farmers' Market downtown on Saturday mornings. You can also find them at Central Market, Whole Foods or you can order them online. Be sure to get an extra bag for yourself.

Recchiuti's chocolate-covered key lime pears. I discovered these while visiting the Recchiuti store in the Ferry Market in San Francisco. Pears and chocolate seem an odd combination, but these thin candied slices are out of this world. They make an excellent accompaniment to David Lebovitz's pear caramel ice cream recipe. I have the recipe for these in the Recchiuti coookbook. Haven't tried making them myself yet, but I will.

Petrossian hot chocolate on a stick. I haven't tried these yet, but I'm intrigued. Cubes of Belgian chocolate (in dark or hazelnut flavors) that you swirl into your hot milk to make hot chocolate. Yum.

Vosges chocolate bars. These are another long-time favorite. I like the Black Pearl bar - dark chocolate with wasabi, ginger and sesame seeds. My husband's favorite is the Red Fire - dark chocolate with ancho and chipotle peppers and cinnamon. They have these and many more exotic flavors in truffles and large and small bars. They make great gifts. Find them online or some of their flavors can be found at Whole Foods.

Vosges hot drinking chocolate. This is not your usual powdered cocoa mix. Vosges couture cocoas contain chunks of real shaved chocolate and spices. You have to strain it after infusing your warm milk or cream, it's so thick! Our favorite is the Aztec - the same flavors as the Red Fire bar above but in hot chocolate form. It will warm you right up. A little of this goes a long, long way, so it's truly a treat to receive.

Vosges bombalina candies. These are new and I can't wait to try them. Smoked almonds, dried mango, cashews and espresso beans coated in flavored chocolate. The almonds and hazelnuts are calling my name.

479° gourmet popcorn. 479° is apparently the perfect temperature for popping corn. And their popcorn, with flavors like smoked sea salt, black truffle and white cheddar, chipotle caramel, fleur de sel caramel, Vietnamese cinnamon sugar, and smoky Spanish paprika with tomato and onion, make the perfect fancy treat. Order online.

Baked Ideas' gingerbread yoga people. For the yogi in your life. These are just too cute. Wish I could find cookie cutters like this! Order online.

Vanilla sea salt. I haven't gotten my hands on any of this yet, but I want to try making cookies and caramels and finish them with this salt. Order it online here or here (in varying sizes).

1 comment:

Brooke said...

Just found your website through Mattbites and I'm so glad! I love the clean design of your blog, your lovely blog description, and thoughtful and beautiful posts! Yummy!