Christmas Hampers

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” A good meal provides…sustenance not just out of need, but out of a whole host of things, whether reminding us of our childhoods or grandparents, or the old country– or teaching us about a new one”- Kevin Young,  from the Introduction of The Hungry Ear, Poems of Food and Drink.

Whenever I mentioned my desire to make Christmas hampers this year to celebrate the festive season, my American friends responded with a quizzical look and the same question: “Christmas WHAT?

Well, “hamper” is an Englishism for a wicker basket and a Christmas hamper is simply a basket filled with (mostly edible) goodies, wines, spirits and what you will.  The Christmas hamper exchange tradition that is typical in England and Ghana (and, I am guessing, many other nations) stems from the old English Boxing Day tradition of masters giving servants boxes full of useful gifts on December 26th.

Hampers, for me, are redolent of Christmas at home because my mother would  bring home several that her business associates had shared with her on the days leading up to Christmas, each year . My friends would come over the day after Christmas and we would storm the hamper colony into which my mother’s bedroom had evolved, digging through cellophane wrapped baskets for delights that tickled our fancy. Judith and I always scored at least one bottle of Moët.

Knowing my hampers would be quite the undertaking, albeit certainly not of the ambition or pageantry of Harrods or Fortnum and Mason baskets, I enlisted the assistance of my friends– aka helper elves. It is a miracle that our friendship survived my orders to chop, wash, organize and tie. Together we made the following treats:

Sticky Toffee Pudding mini bundt cakes

Mango Cranberry Tarte

Dark Chocolate-Covered Cornflakes

Milk Chocolate-Covered Cheerios

Rum Cinnamon and Ginger Sugar Cookies (or as Chris calls them, “Fancy Ass Snickerdoodles)

Rosemary Orange Blossom Shortbread

Chocoffee Molasses Cookies

Mini Apple Pies

Orange Rasberry Compote

Here are some photos  of the baked goods that we crafted and recipes will follow soon! No cellophane was harmed in the making of these baskets!

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

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Mango Cranberry Tarte

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Dark Chocolate-Covered Cornflakes

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Rum Cinnamon and Ginger Sugar Cookies

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Rosemary Orange Blossom Shortbread

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Chocoffee Molasses Christmas Cookies

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Mini Apple Pies

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Orange Cranberry Compote

I hope you are all enjoying this delicious season, eating responsibly and sweating hard to work off all that sugar! I’m very much looking forward to Christmas day and hosting an intimate luncheon for my friends.

About Natasha

Word- and dough-smith. Girl in search of "the illumination, that ecstatic flash, from which truth emerges".

2 comments

  1. Nnenna

    Seriously, open a bakery so we can all pay you for your wonderfulness.

    • Hiya Nnenna! Aren’t you kind to offer me money for what you can have for free! Looking forward to feeding you when you are next in Atlanta. Until then, Happy Holidays to you and yours. x

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