Holiday Baking 2021: COVID Edition


Like everything in 2021, for everyone in 2021, holiday baking was a little different this year.  For the holidays 2020, I didn’t bake for work; everyone was remote.  I just shipped and dropped off to friends and family.  This year, baking for work was back on the table.  Yay.  However, packaging and delivery needed some upgrading.  In years passed, I would package everything by treat, but would also put a dozen or two of the same type in the same bag, unworried about people touching cookies they weren’t going to eat.  This year, pandemic hygiene required I package for individual consumption.  Which also means I had to label for individual consumption.  I mean how awful would it be to survive thus far in a pandemic only to be felled by a marshmallow?

So, I put on my big girl pants and took on the most difficult task I’ve ever attempted with holiday baking: mail merge labels.  It was dicey for a minute, but eventually I prevailed.  Now I can make my own puff pastry and mass produce labels.  How do you like them apples?

I also bought cool self-seal bags and a heat sealer.  I made just over 3,000 individual units in 2021 (less than some years, more than others).  Accounting for the shipped items that were packaged in larger amounts, I estimate I individually packaged about 2000 treats in pairs of two.  Sorry Mother Nature!  You’re welcome everyone else.

This year’s holiday packages included nine treats:

Peanut Butter Balls

Rum Butter Nuts

Sugar Cookies

Altoid Brownies

Triple Gingersnaps

Buttercrunch (by far the best recipe I’ve found for buttercrunch)

Smoresmallows (no recipe but maybe soon)

Holidays also no recipe.  These turned out only about half the time.  Clearly the recipe is not ready to be shared.

The lineup:

Because everything that went to our respective places of work was packaged in pairs, I needed a portable way to transport all the goodies that didn’t get shipped.  Enter the reusable shopping bag.  If I’d had my act together I would have had them personalized.  Luckily, Erin Condren (fellow Bruin) came to the rescue with personalized tags that were cooler.

I can’t remember how many bags we filled (thank you Qunicy Plotts), but of course, I didn’t take a picture of the full load.

About midway through holiday baking this year, it occurred to me that it might make more sense personally to make holiday baking an every-other-year sort of thing.  In retrospect, my fall 2021 was a little nutty.  So, I’m still considering the idea.  Luckily I have a few months before I have to kick the machine back into motion.

Holiday Baking 2019 Recipes

And just like that, the 2019 holiday baking odyssey has come to an end.  As always, it was a hoot and even though in the 11th hour I swore I’d never do it again, I’m already dreaming about what to do for next year.

If you followed along with the 2019 Holiday Baking Analytics, you already know the stats.  I used nearly 80 pounds of sugar, 36 pounds of flour, 29 pounds of butter and 45 pounds of fruits, nuts and other add-ins.  I made nine types of cookies this year yielding 3,761 units.  We mailed 22 boxes and delivered another 30 or so in person.  Folks, my work here is done.

But, just in case you’d like to make your own, I’ve included links to each of the recipes below.

Cheers and happy holidays to all!

Sugar Stars

Rum Butter Nuts

Peanut Butter Balls

or as we call them in our house, Schweddy Balls

Triple Gingersnaps

Candied Orange Peel

Almond Butter Crunch


Brown Butter Coconut Caramel Crispies

Chocolate Crinkles

Our house looked like a tornado hit it for a day or two.

There was no theme, but I did have a lot of fun with colored duct tape (seriously–get some, it’s a good time).

And a new company for labels, Paper Culture.

I promised we stuffed as much as we could into each box.

Pre-purchasing labels from USPS is the way to go.

As an added bonus, each and every box (and most of the tissue paper) was checked for safety and construction by our quality control crew.


Posession with intent to distribute

Sometimes I feel like a drug dealer when I deliver baked goods to friends and colleagues.  And, that’s not just because I like to lurk in dark alleyways and whisper, “hey kid, you wanna smoke some drugs?” out of the side of my mouth.

It’s also not the whole sugar is a drug thing (Yes, I know it is.  No, I’m not going to stop baking).

Maybe it’s because my hobby yields something people generally seem to want to consume. Then there is that part where people enjoy and then talk about why they shouldn’t have.  It may also have something to do with my ties to the Salamancas Family.   Anyhow on to the biggest baking drug deal of the year: 2018 Holiday Baking!

My analytics weren’t super awesome this year.  I just didn’t have time to work on data visualization. In their place,  I offer a summary:

  • 35 pounds of butter
  • 75 pounds of sugar
  • 25 pounds of fruits and nuts
  • 25 pounds of chocolate
  • 3500 units

And some old fashioned visuals.  You’ll find a  list of everything I baked with links at the bottom.


Holiday Baking 2018: The List

Candied Orange Peel

Candied Ginger

Triple Gingersnaps

World Peace Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Royal Icing (Sweet Sugarbelle)

Rum Butter Nuts

Peanut butter (schweddy) balls

Almond Butter Crunch

Cranberry White Chocolate Doodles (recipe isn’t quite ready for prime time)



Puttin’ suckers in fear

Photo circa 2014.

Don’t call it a comeback (but it really is)
I’ve been here for years (just haven’t had a kitchen)
I’m rocking my peers (with baked goods that is)
Puttin’ suckers in fear (literally, no sugar source is safe)

Song credit: Mama Said Knock You Out, L.L. Cool J.

On Saturday, October 14, 2017, after a three year hiatus, I officially kicked off my 2017 holiday baking.  If you follow me on Instagram (@tmhostess), you’ve already been harassed by the crappy instastories and mediocre ‘grams. I’ve even got a hashtag going: #misanthropichostessholidaybaking2017. #worsthashtagever.

While I plan to keep most of the visuals on Instagram, I thought it would be fun to include Holiday Baking 2017 analytics.  And of course, a contest.

First the analytics.  I’ve created a separate page on this site with a live feed of my baking analytics.  That’s right, real time baking data on:

  • Running total of units in-production and completed
  • Running total, pounds of butter used
  • Running total, pounds of sugar used
  • Running total, pounds of chocolate used
  • Running total, pounds of nuts used

To follow along at home, go here:

2017 Holiday Baking Analytics

Each Tuesday I’ll upload some photos and remind you of where to go to see the latest stats (because I’m a data pimp).

A box (or extra box) of goodies goes to the person who can get closest to the sum below without going over:

  • Total pounds (lbs) of: butter + sugar + nuts + chocolate

If you want to play along, cast your vote via comment to this post no later than midnight, November 9th.

Here we go, here we go, here we go again…