i have 2 sets of friends that i usually dont get a chance to get together with until after Christmas. this works out well for me because it gives me more time to finish putting together gifts. gives me something to do on a lazy Christmas day when i dont feel like picking up all the tattered gift wrap and crushed bows left about the living room.amongst these friends, we usually give little token gifts, but the thing we most look forward to is the exchange of the goodies. we all have our specialties, but besides my loved-by-all biscotti, i made a few new things that everyone went crazy over. i made some old fashioned chocolate syrup by alton brown and put it in some cool looking vintage jars. i had stopped making chocolate truffles years ago, but when i saw this interesting recipe by the pioneer woman, i just had to try it and i am so glad i did. everyone loved them! the dark and milk chocolates are balanced just right and the few grains of sea salt add an amazing layer of flavor.
i did a few more things, but my favorite was that i "brewed" my own vanilla. got a couple of vanilla beans and a jug of vodka and i was good to go. everyone has been impressed with their little bottles of the amber liquid with a vanilla bean soaking inside. kind of fun shopping for vodka in a small, mostly lds town.