My Recipe Box

Wrapping It Up

by Amy Albert

fromFine Cooking
Issue 54

Now that you’ve made those delicious and beautiful tarts, cakes, pies, cookies, and candies, here are some clever ways to wrap them up for holiday gift-giving.

Haunt flea markets and consignment shops for vintage tins, canisters, and ceramic planters; line them first with colored tissue or unbleached parchment, if you like (A caveat: when scavenging this way, you may find yourself tempted to hang onto the best finds instead of giving them away.) Anne Disrude, a food stylist, advises finding an interesting container first and then cutting cookies to fit into it. 

Use a pretty dishtowel or napkin, secured with ribbon, to wrap cookies. (The Japanese often wrap gifts in fabric.) Set a small bowl or disposable foil dish in the center of the cloth to hold the cookies.

A latte bowl, an oversized coffee cup, or even an antique mixing bowl makes a nifty gift; all are appealing ways to present baked treats like biscotti or butter cookies—which, after all, are made to savor with a cup of coffee. Heap the cookies in the container and then use cellophane and ribbon to wrap them, beggar’s purse style.

Save berry baskets from summer trips to farmstands and farmers’ markets; jazzed up with tissue or cellophane, a humble basket or green cardboard box takes on new life when it becomes a gift box for truffles or fudge.

A clever packing vessel may be hiding in the kitchenware department. A bamboo steamer ($10 to $15 at Asian grocers, restaurant-supply stores, or www.wokshop.com) makes a safe carrier and a-clever gift box for a tart—or even two, if the steamer has two tiers. Canning jars, glass refrigerator containers, and even Pyrex measuring cups are handy carriers—plus, you’ll be giving something useful to hang onto.

It's better to give than to retrieve

For attractive vessels for baked goods that you don't need to worry about retrieving, buy disposable bakery boxes and bags. Party and stationery stores are good sources for these. For unusual paper, boxes, and ribbon, look up Kate’s Paperie. Unbleached baking parchment is sold at health-food stores; it’s often silicone coated, ideal for wrapping buttery cookies and cakes. For Chinese takeout containers, try your local takeout joint, or visit www.partypoofers.comSweet Celebrations carries these, and cake boxes, too. Fet Pack and Paper Mart sell cellophane bags and wrap. Sur La Table offers sets of paper baking molds for quick breads or cakes.

Photos: Scott Phillips

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