Get the recipe for these yummy treats below. Credit: Janis Nicolay
Rosie Daykin knows a thing or two about presentation. The former interior designer took her decorative skills to the kitchen, opening Butter Baked Goods in 2007. “I tried to create an environment where I felt my cookies and cakes and bars seemed comfortable and made sense, and where people feel comfortable themselves,” Daykin says of her charming pink-and-pistachio-colored Vancouver bakery.
With the help of her new cookbook, also called “Butter Baked Goods,” you can create those tidings of comfort and joy for your own friends and family. Daykin shares her tips for giving baked goods as gorgeous gifts this holiday season. What’s the first step to making gift-worthy holiday treats? “Don’t give somebody Christmas baking in a disposable Ziploc!” she says.
Damn straight we're going to take presentation advice from someone whose store looks this cute. Credit: Janis Nicolay
Perfect packaging “The gift is the baking, and the vehicle you put the baking on,” Daykin says. “That always makes for pretty presentation.” But pretty doesn’t have to mean elaborate. “I like to keep my packaging clean,” she says. “I don’t want a tin that has pictures of bells on it. You get more impact with the elegant simplicity of an all-red tin with a two-inch thick green satin ribbon.” Daykin recommends different containers for different treats. For a Christmas cookie sampler, she uses tiered bamboo steamers, which are typically available at dollar stores. “As you take the tiers apart, there’s cookies on every level,” she says. “You can buy a single one with a lid, or a set like I did, where they stack.”
For items like peanut butter jam cups, Daykin suggests colored Chinese takeout containers. We love these colored ones on Etsy.
Stocking Stuffers “When I first opened the bakery, one of the many things that we sold was homemade marshmallows,” Daykin says. “They just became incredibly popular; it was a unique item that no one was doing at that time." They became so popular that Daykin had to open up a separate marshmallow factory. The marshmallows, simply packaged in clear plastic and tied with a pastel ribbon, are ideal for gift baskets or stockings. “I’m sure there’s one bag in every stocking in Vancouver,” Daykin says. Alternatively, the marshmallows can be part of a hot chocolate kit. “Combine that with some hot chocolate mix and a couple of mugs; it’s such a nice gift, and you’ve personalized it,” Daykin says.
Set a theme “Pick a theme,” Daykin suggests for gift-giving. “What am I working around? It keeps you kind of focused.
"Maybe I’m going to give you Christmas morning breakfast,” she says. “Make up the scones. Use a cello bag. That goes into a little basket wrapped in a tea towel with some jam, some butter and some tea.”
Tough Cookies We know it’s the thought that counts, but your creations should really make it to their destination. Daykin reminds us to opt for more durable and transportable confections. “I’d pick four of five items from the book that I think travel well.” She suggests an assortment of shapes, citing her peanut butter balls, shortbread, a bar and another cookie or confection, such as the marshmallows. Daykin notes that loaves are also easy to transport. “Do up a chocolate pistachio loaf or a banana chocolate loaf in a cello bag with a nice ribbon and little tag; I think that’s a nice gift,” she says.
One of Daykin’s favorite tried-and-true gifts is a classic Christmas cookie sampler. She credits this to her grandmother’s holiday tradition of sending different cookies in coffee cans via Greyhound bus: “I think it had a much bigger impact on me than I’ve given it credit for,” she says. “I start at the beginning of December and make a different cookie or bar or treat every night for a couple of weeks. I box them all and package them in the freezer. Come Christmas time, I create these gift boxes for people with at least 14 different kinds of treats — a sampling of Christmas cookies.”
As a kid, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were one of my favorite things. I’m pretty sure that even from a young age I was already planning on ways that I could improve the original recipe. Thirty-plus years later and I think I’ve managed to do just that. For me, using a really good dark chocolate elevates this recipe beyond a corner-store treat, especially when I use a really good raspberry jam. I find the best jams at my local farmers market. Small-batch jams using loads of quality fruit always taste more delicious than something from the grocery store shelf.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Prepare a batch of Peanut Butter Butter Cream:
1 ½ cups smooth peanut butter
½ cup butter, room temperature
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 cup heavy cream
MAKES: 4 cups, enough for 1 (7-inch) cake or 18 cupcakes
1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter and butter on high speed until very pale in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice while beating the butter.
2. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the icing sugar. Mix until well combined then slowly add the cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
3. Turn the mixer to high and let it run for at least 10 to 12 minutes, until the butter cream is light and fluffy.
Peanut Butter and Jam Cups:
Peanut Butter Butter Cream
2 Pounds dark chocolate (about 4 cups chocolate chips)
½ cup really good raspberry jam
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 drop red food coloring
12 salted peanuts, shelled and halved.
MAKES: 24 PB&J Cups
YOU WILL NEED: 2 mini muffin pans lined with mini paper liners, small piping bag fitted with a small round tip
1. Temper the dark chocolate.
2. Fill each paper liner half full with the tempered chocolate. Use the piping bag to carefully pipe the top of the chocolate with Peanut Butter Butter Cream, about 1⁄2 teaspoon on each, then top with 1⁄2 teaspoon of raspberry jam. Fill the balance of the paper cups with more tempered chocolate. Tap the muffin pans lightly on the countertop to settle the mixture and smooth the tops of the cups.
3. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the white chocolate (or melt in the microwave for about 30 seconds on high). Add the red food coloring to the melted chocolate to tint it a light pink.
4. Use a small spoon to place a small drop of the white chocolate on the center of each chocolate cup, and top with one peanut half.
5. Allow the chocolate cups to set for at least 2 hours (or place in the refrigerator to speed up the process).
Once the chocolate has set, the PB&J cups will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.