Every December something magical happens to me. I go into total denial and completely forget that I am not a baker! Somehow, in the haze of DIY blogs and tantalizing holiday food displays, I begin to fancy myself a less uptight, younger, possibly-even-more-talented version of Martha Stewart. I allow myself to dream that I have the skills needed to create a masterpiece of baked goodness. It always ends in a somehow burned-yet-still-raw disaster and never, ever once in a cute teacher’s gift!
I know I don’t need to bake, that it’s not a requirement to be a good mom… but when friends and neighbors keep showing up with homemade caramels and cookies, I feel I start to feel the pressure.
So, for those of you like me, who may find the holiday baking tradition too much of a culinary challenge, here’s what I’ve discovered to help a Scottsdale mom in a Christmas treat pinch.
Best Local Store-Bought Christmas Treat:
TIE: How does one decide between cookies and candy? I would never be so cruel as to make you choose… so, let’s have both!
If you want to treat
yourself someone else to a delicious mix of cookies this Christmas, then you MUST visit Scottsdale’s Chocolate Star Bakery. Not only are their cookies amazing (like seriously, the best cookies ever!) but they package them gorgeously. They even feature assortments on a beautiful pewter trays, making this a great gift for the tray alone!
Trust me, you will love these cookies and thank me and maybe never bake again. Another idea for those of you who like to bake, or at least like the smell of cookies baking in your house: they actually sell their amazing cookie dough for you to take home and bake yourself! www.chocolatestarbakery.com
If cookies aren’t your thing (who are you? Why don’t you like cookies?) then I’d also recommend trying Goody Two’s Toffee. This adorable store was started by a mother-daughter team and they’re based here in Scottsdale.
During the holidays, they package the delicious toffee in darling little white boxes with red ribbon so they end up looking just like little Christmas gifts. A few years ago I went to a dinner and the hostess had put a few of these boxes on the table as a centerpiece. At the end of the meal, each couple got to take them as our Christmas present. www.goodytwos.com
Best Homemade Christmas Treat for Non-Bakers:
If you’ve still got the urge to “do it yourself”, but, like me, have a fear of flour, then enter… Limoncello! Never had this lovely lemon liquer from Southern Italy? You’re in for a treat! Not only is this a tasty, unique cocktail, but it also can be used in several recipes for Italian food. However, the best part is that it’s really easy to make yourself (We’re talking less than half a naptime of actual labor).
Plus, every Scottsdale mom has at least one friend with a lemon tree and plenty of lemons she’s dying to get rid of, making this a great homemade gift that’s really budget friendly. The only catch is that once it’s made, the mixture needs to sit for a couple weeks (so be sure to get cracking on this early!)
I received this Christmas gift a few years ago and thought it was so creative. A few friends had made the limocello together and packaged it themselves in glass bottles with beautiful handmade cards explaining how to serve the drink and a giving the web addresses for several recipes calling for limoncello. It would also make a much more creative hostess gift than the go-to bottle of wine! Just google “how to make limocello” and you will find lots of sites with full instructions. (No I’m not going to tell you how to make it here… naptime is almost over and I’ve got lemons to pick!)
Okay Moms, what other Scottsdale spots are not-to-be-missed for Christmas gifts?