Alabama baker Debra J. Mosely has developed a reputation for offering scrumptious “thank you” gifts to her friends and community for over 30 years. Baking is her passion, and it makes sense she’d show her appreciation in the form of cakes, cookies and other baked goods. As quoted in the Selma Sun newspaper, Debra says, “It seems to bring smiles to people’s faces to get a home-baked treat.”
Debra is an early adopter of a trend that significantly increased during the last several years of covid-19 lockdowns and the need for social distancing. When you consider the meteoric rise of Google searches for baking terms, as well as national flour sales, it tells us there are a whole lot of new bakers on the scene.
Tips for Giving Baked Goods as Gifts
Plan Ahead: Timing is everything with baked goods, so you’ll want to make sure you shop for your supplies ahead of time. Also, keep in mind how long baked goods stay fresh, and be sure your recipient receives their gift as soon as it’s prepared. In general, baked goods can be kept at room temperature in airtight containers for up to 5 days. Muffins, bread and pastries start to go stale in 2 to 3 days.
Label Your Food Items: These days, it’s important to consider the many food allergens your friends may need to be aware of. It’s best to indicate if your baked goods contain nuts, soy or dairy.
Have Fun with Your Packaging: Here’s an opportunity to be really creative and think outside the cookie box. You can DIY or reuse a number of containers like hat boxes, tins, mason jars, and so many other options. Pinterest is your friend for researching packaging ideas.
Debra has a number of recipes suitable for gift-giving on her website, as well as a number of informative articles about baking. We’d like to feature her tried and true recipe for sugar cookies, perfect for decorating as gifts for friends.
Debra’s Basic Sugar Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars for two minutes at medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and thoroughly mix after each addition. Add vanilla. In another bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add the dry mixture to the mixture slowly until all the flour has been incorporated. Place dough in a bowl or plastic bag and refrigerate for an hour or longer. Roll out dough onto a parchment covered board to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with your favorite cookie cutter. All of the same size cookie shapes should bake together. If not, smaller cookies will burn before larger cookies are cooked.
Place your cutout cookies onto a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. The yield of this recipe varies depending on the size of the cookie cutters you use.
Important Cookie Dough Tip: Cookie cutters should be used close together to cut out the cookie dough. This eliminates re-rolling the dough over and over which makes your baked cookie tough. Press the cookie cutter down into the cookie dough and then wiggle a little to get a clean cut. Remove cookie cutter.
For more tips on decorating cookies, using fondant, and additional recipes, view Debra’s informative article here.