Gifts to Make or Buy
Make It: In this version of these traditional German spice cookies, the edges are slightly crisp and the middles, soft and chewy. They’re topped with a confectioners’ sugar icing that is thicker than the classic see-through glaze. It’s important to freeze the soft batter until very firm, so it can be easily scooped onto the baking sheets.
Buy It: Leckerlee. Packaged in a red patterned tin, Leckerlee’s spice cookies are big, tender and fresh-tasting. They also come in a rich chocolate-dipped version. $28 per lb; leckerlee.com.
Soft Apple-Cider Caramels
Make It: These chewy treats are like caramel apples in candy form, combining the tangy-sweet flavor of cider with buttery caramel. To create your own spin on them, use a flavored apple cider or add different spices, like ground ginger or black pepper.
Buy It: Béquet Caramels. Made by hand in Montana, Béquet’s caramels now come in the perfect seasonal flavor: green apple. From $6.25 for 4 oz; bequetconfections.com.
Make It: Store-bought mulling spices are often muted. In this vibrant version, oranges and fresh ginger are dehydrated and blended with whole spices. Each spice packet is designed to flavor one bottle of apple cider or a soft, fruity red wine, such as Zinfandel.
Buy It: Williams-Sonoma. Pair the super-fragrant blend of cinnamon, clove, allspice and dried orange peels with a bottle of wine or cider for a season-appropriate party gift. $13; williams-sonoma.com.