If you’re culinarily gifted, here’s an idea: start your own little cookie of the month club for your friends and family.
If you’re looking for a gift that won’t break the bank but that you can be sure the recipient will appreciate, I’ve got one word for you: cookies. In our overcomplicated world, there’s just something homey and comforting about a simple cookie — all the more so when it’s homemade.
All it takes to make someone smile are moderate skills in the kitchen and a few simple ingredients, including the best two of all: your time, and your love.
Your first step, of course, is to do a little research so you can accurately match your giftee with their favorite cookies. Heaven forbid you should offer chocolate chip cookies to someone who, contrary to all decency, doesn’t like chocolate, or oatmeal cookies to a shortbread fanatic.
Short of asking someone outright what their favorites are, you can keep a close eye on their eating habits (probably not the best option), or enlist the aid of friends and family when making your plans, so you can be absolutely sure your gift cookies are appreciated.
That said, it’s almost certain that someone will eat those cookies, even if the recipient happens to turn up his or her nose at them.
One-shot cookie gifts are great and all, but if you really feel generous, here’s a more long-term solution: your very own cookie of the month club. Just let your gift recipient know that they can get a refill of their favorite baked goods every month, simply by asking.
Here’s a good way to remind them: purchase a decorative tin at a craft shop, and package your cookies inside it. Then, when they need a refill, all they need to do is bring back the tin, and you’ll get right on it.
Of course, this works best for folks who live in close proximity to you, but it can also work for college students, military personnel, and distant relatives. It’s a great way to keep in touch, and while it may cost you a few dozen bucks a year, the cost will be relatively low.
Just be careful — your cookie of the month club may end up being so popular you find yourself baking hundreds and hundreds of homemade cookies for dozens of people every month!
While cookies are perhaps the best format (if you will) for this gift idea, it can work for other baked goods as well. You might want to experiment with everything from brownies to muffins, which you know folks will enjoy, and even more risky stuff like pretzels and banana bread.
Incidentally, if you do want to test the concept, I could really use some peanut butter cookies right about now…