Special Delivery

Most of our friends are in baby mode this year. They’ve either just had a baby, are currently expecting or are hoping to be soon. Because of this, I’ve thrown my fair share of showers and have purchased more onesies than I ever imagined I would. Recently, I came up with a special gift for the busy mom and dad to enjoy now, and the baby to (hopefully) appreciate one day down the road.

When I get word that parents-to-be are rushing to the hospital or have given their midwife a call, I head right to the newsstand. There I make sure to pick up a copy of that day’s New York Times and a few other periodicals. A recent collection I put together also contained that week’s edition of the Village Voice and the current issues of The New Yorker, Time, New York and People.

Special Delivery by somethingwewhippedup.com

Special Delivery by somethingwewhippedup.com

I put everything together in a decorative box and hand it off to the parents long after the excitement and craze of the birth has calmed down a bit (usually when the baby is 5 to 6 months old). My hope is that the baby will one day enjoy this memento as a small peek into what the world was like the day and week he or she came into this world.

To make the box below, I covered the outside of a decorative book-shaped box (purchased at T.J. Maxx) with a very light coating of spray paint. I then used Mod Podge to affix and seal pictures and passages from old Beatrix Potter books to it. The baby’s name was partially inspired by the classic author, so it seemed it would be fitting to incorporate that information into the gift. The box had plenty of extra room inside, so I suggested the baby’s parents use it as a place to store the cards they received just after their new daughter was born. Hopefully, this keepsake will be tucked away on a shelf somewhere and given to Baby B when she is old enough to enjoy its contents.

SWWU Tip: You should customize your box and newsstand selections to the family you’re purchasing them for. Other great additions might include hometown newspapers, church bulletins or other magazines.

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Having a Ball

Chocolate-Covered Cookie Dough Balls by somethingwewhippedup.com

Chocolate-Covered Cookie Dough Bites by somethingwewhippedup.com

These treats have made an appearance in our kitchen twice in the past month. They debuted on New Year’s Eve and showed up again for a baby shower (what mama-to-be wouldn’t love these?). And, since they’re egg-free you’re safe to eat as many as your heart desires. The recipe is an adaptation of my basic chocolate chip cookie dough that I’ve been tweaking for the past few years. I hope you enjoy!

Chocolate-Covered Cookie Dough Bites

Makes about 50 balls

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1 3.5-ounce sea salt dark chocolate bar (such as Lindt), roughly chopped
  • 1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together. Mix for 3 to 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the heavy cream and vanilla extract; mix until combined.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Slowly add to the butter mixture, combining as you go. Fold in the mini chocolate chips and the dark chocolate bar. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or overnight).

3. Once chilled, roll the dough into ping-pong size balls. Insert a lollipop stick into the center of each ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil over medium. Top with a heatproof bowl, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, to create a double boiler. Add 1/3 of the chocolate chips to the bowl and allow to melt, stirring frequently. Once the chocolate is smooth, remove the chilled balls from the fridge. Dip or swirl them one-by-one into the chocolate, making sure to cover them entirely. Once coated in chocolate, gently shake off excess, and return to parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until all balls are coated, adding additional chocolate to the double boiler as needed. When complete, return the baking sheet to the refrigerator for about 1 hour or until chocolate is hard and set. Transfer to airtight containers and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

SWWU Tip: You can find lollipop sticks in your local craft or baking supply store and they’re also available on the Wilton website. I’ve used both 4-inch and 6-inch sticks, but find the longer ones are a bit easier to use when you’re dipping the dough into the melted chocolate.