What Xmas baking recipes post well?
November 25, 2012 3:37 AM   Subscribe

[Xmas baking filter] I'm looking for ideas and recipes for festive baking which can be successfully posted.

I'd like to send my girlfriend's family in Germany some home-baked Xmas treats. My go-to recipe for something which will stay good for a few weeks and stand up reasonably well to being posted would normally be Lebkuchen but I'd rather send them something non-German.

So please share your festive recipes which fit the bill! Bonus points if they include mincemeat as this is something which is woefully lacking in their lives. Assume access to most ingredients, a well stocked kitchen and a reasonable degree of cooking/baking competence.

Ideally whatever I make would fit nicely into this tin but if not I can work around it. I'd also welcome any tips or advice on how you've successfully packaged baked goods for posting.
posted by neilb449 to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if you can easily get matzoh where you are, but Matzoh crack are extremely delicious and so far as I know ship well.

I don't have a link for a recipe, but rum balls also ship nicely.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:02 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

How do you feel about a pumpkin bread?
They don't sell pumpkin in cans in Germany and using pumpkin as a baking ingredient is not common. Add some Christmas spices of course!
You could also bake a banana bread, but I vote for pumpkin.
It will ship great, since it is one big piece vs. many fragile bits. It should also not go stale/dry like small cookies could. I would avoid using frosting/icing though - might be too much moisture.
posted by travelwithcats at 4:14 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could send actual mince meat. I can't tell if your girlfriend is in Germany at the moment or not, but my mother once sent me a 'disassembled' carrot cake for my birthday, which was kind of hilarious. She measured out all the dry ingredients, stuck them in a box with some carrots (and a tin of mandarin oranges, as the recipe called for them) and sent it to me. So you could send disassembled mince pies (you'd need to send the minced pie tins, too, probably).

Christmas cake will survive shipping just fine. (I think you want to wrap it tightly so it doesn't dry out.) Christmas pudding, too, I should think. I have no idea if Germans have such things already, though. Dundee cake is not so Christmas-y to my mind, but also ships well. Basically, any of those cake recipes that call for the thing to sit for three months (the bit you probably always ignore) are going to be just fine going to Germany.
posted by hoyland at 4:49 AM on November 25, 2012

Chocolate rum balls are pretty easy to make and hardy.
posted by Captain_Science at 5:18 AM on November 25, 2012

My suggestions might be a bit more kid-oriented. Here's what I usually send in care packages to my kids:

- Sugar cookies - rolled out, cut with holiday cutters, frosted/decorated. You need to use the kind of frosting that hardens up and pack them with waxed paper between the layers, or just use colored sugar sprinkles instead of frosting.
- Rice Krispie treats - for Christmas you can color them green and shape into trees/wreaths, or make them squares and press red/green jimmies or mini M&Ms on top. My kids love the chocolate version (add a pack of semisweet choc chips into the melted marshmallows) so I sprinkle jimmies or M&Ms on those. Wrap individually in Saran wrap, or pack in its own plastic box.
- Gingersnaps are always on our holiday cookie list and they ship well, but Germans have their own versions so that might not be as special.
- Peanut Butter cookies with the chocolate kiss in the center, but we use mini Reeses' peanut butter cups. It tastes better and it makes the cookies easier to stack.
- M&M cookies, just use red/green ones. This also works for brownies with M&Ms stirred in.
posted by CathyG at 7:48 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I mail fruitcake (and I vote). You're a bit late for this year, but for next? I use Alton Brown's recipe and it's wonderful.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:53 AM on November 25, 2012

I've made something similar to the recipe sciencegeek posted (using saltines instead of matzo) and they are delicious.

Things in the candy-coated-nut category pack and travel well. I made these pecans last week and they were easy and delicious.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:54 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Each year since I met my now husband, bonehead, I make Icelandic Vina Terta to send to his relatives. It actually benefits from sitting for a week or so so that the flavours can meld. I've adapted his family's recipe, so here's my personal take on it:

Icelandic Vina Terta

for the shortbread:
2 c sugar
2 c butter
4 eggs
4 tsp baking powder
5 c flour
2 tsp cardamom (fresh ground for preference)

For the filling:
2 c prunes, pitted
1/3 to 1 c sugar, depending on taste
1 pinch salt
and one of the following flavourings: rind and juice of 1 orange; 1/2 cup strong brewed Earl Grey or Darjeeling tea; 2 tsp cinnamon and 1/3 cup red wine.

Combine all the filling ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the filling is thick and smooth. Allow to cool. The consistency should be the same as jam. If you hate prunes, you can use stewed dates or raspberry jam instead.

Beat the butter and sugar together, and add the eggs. Mix the dry ingredients and add to the wet in stages. The dough will be really thick and heavy. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1/2 hour.

Roll out the chilled dough on parchment paper quite thin, and cut into whatever shape you want the final product to be in. I use a 4" round cookie cutter to make little tertas. Bake the cardamom shortbread rounds in a 375 F oven for 10 -15 minutes, or just until the edges start to turn golden. While the shortbreads are still warm, spread them right to the edge with a thin layer of the filling. Stack the shortbreads in layers, filling between each layer. I go about six cookie layers high. Allow to cool all the way, then wrap in plastic wrap and foil. Allow to sit for at least a couple of days, during which time the filling will hydrate and soften the cookie, and you will end up with a soft, cardamom-y, sweet layer cake.

You know you've done it right when you slice into it and it looks like plywood.
posted by LN at 12:31 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

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