Have I told you that we have “secret pals” at work, as a morale-boosting activity? I enjoy looking at my pal’s list of favorite things and trying to come up with small weekly surprises that will make her happy. I almost always tie pretty ribbon on the item, whatever it is, because I think that adds a special touch to just about anything.
This is an idea that I’ve used a couple of times over the years- the combination of a few muffin or cupcake recipes with some cute paper liners. I type or copy the recipes into a Word document, format them using a fun font, print them out, roll them up, and tie the cupcake papers to the recipes with decorative ribbon. Voila! A small, inexpensive, thoughtful gift to start a weekend or the holiday baking season. Of course, you could dress it up or expand it a little more with pretty recipe cards, a nice mixing bowl, a tea towel, a colorful kitchen utensil or set of measuring cups, etc.
I happened upon the polka dot witch tea towel in the pictures at TJ Maxx, and am using it for a fall birthday basket, along with leaf-shaped pasta from World Market and a ceramic pumpkin candy bowl from Target.
One piece of Southern life that has definitely rubbed off on me is an appreciation of autumn. People here love decorating, gift-giving, and harvest parties this time of year. David’s theory is that we celebrate fall so enthusiastically because it represents the end of oppressive summer heat and the beginning of football season. Whatever the reason, I’ve enjoyed joining in the regional traditions and having an excuse to create thematic gifts.
Some of my current favorite free fonts for informal projects like this are Jenna Sue, Janda Silly Monkey, Porcupine Pickle, Baby Boston, Beautiful Every Time, Strawberry Limeade, Covered By Your Grace, Pea Kim, and Highland Perk.
Some of the muffin and cupcake recipes that I’ve used as part of this gift in the past are:
- Pomegranate Chocolate Cupcakes
- Eggnog Muffins
- Frosted Apple Spice Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts
- Gingerbread Muffins with Lemon Glaze
- Chocolate Ricotta Muffins
- Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Easy Cinnamon Roll Muffins
Just a few last notes, in case you’re wondering! My favorite place to buy ribbon is Hobby Lobby, and that is also where I found the packages of damask and candy corn cupcake liners. The solid and polka dot green mini-liners were from World Market a few months ago, and I got the ghosts and spiders at Dollar Tree last fall. If you have a particular color scheme in mind, you can pick your own mix of up to five different paper cupcake liners at Shop Sweet Lulu. Love that idea!