When I was a kid, in addition to whatever little toys and trinkets Santa placed in my stocking, on Christmas morning I'd always find a Tobler dark chocolate orange (now sold under the brand name Terry's), a Toblerone bar, mini candy canes, unshelled peanuts and an orange.
The orange would always work its way to the bottom of my stocking, and I'd dig it out to peel and eat while the whole family took turns opening presents. Then I'd get to work on my Toblerone bar, letting each triangle dissolve on my tongue until the chocolate was gone and the crunchy nougat bits remained. I continue this tradition today, because it's just not Christmas without these little pleasures.
Here are some more ideas for stuffing the stockings of people who like to cook, bake, eat and even talk about and photograph food.
1. Porcelain Measuring Spoons, $15
These blue rimmed spoons are one of my favorite and most used kitchen tools.
2. Zester, Grater or Peeler, $4 to $8
I love my citrus zester ($8) for removing fine ribbons of citrus peel for garnishing, cooking and baking. And do you see that brilliant practice of putting zest in ice cubes pictured below? Do it.
I firmly believe in world peace, being nice and grating my own nutmeg. The potency and flavor are unbeatable, and a few grates stirred into mashed potatoes is the bomb. This Microplane Premium Spice Grater ($10) does the job perfectly.
Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peelers are my favorite because they're only $4, fit in the palm of my hand and stay sharp for a very long time. They're also great for lefties and come in a variety of colors.
3. Microplane Cut Resistant Glove, $15
Long ago I lost track of how many times I've grated and cut my fingers. This cut resistant glove from Microplane is exactly what I need (hint, hint).
4. Cookie Dough Scoop, $13
A cookie dough scoop is the secret to making uniform cookies. Every baker should have one.
5. Thermometers, $8 to $13
An oven thermometer ($8) is essential for ensuring you're baking at the right temperature. You'd be surprised by how inaccurate oven temperature gauges can be.
An InstaRead Meat and Poultry Thermometer ($10) is a must for anyone who prepares meat and poultry, because nobody likes Salmonella poisoning.
And a Candy and Deep Fry Thermometer ($13) comes in handy for tempering chocolate, making popcorn balls and frying up apple cider doughnuts.
6. Biscuit, Doughnut, Pie and Cookie Cutters, $1 to $15
I use my Biscuit and Doughnut Cutter set ($15) for the obvious, and also for cutting scones and venting pie crusts.
Speaking of pie, a set of mini cutters in festive shapes ($4 for 6) is just the thing for decorating pie crusts.
Not only are cookie cutters great stocking stuffers, they're also perfect for adorning wrapped presents and homemade gifts.
7. Fran's Gray and Smoked Sea Salt Caramels, $12.50
I don't have words for how delicious these caramels are. Creamy with a bit of crunch, they're the perfect combination of salty and sweet. My in-laws are seriously addicted, and apparently I do in fact have words for how good these are.
This delicious caramelized onion and bacon spread from Skillet Street Food is fantastic on burgers, sandwiches (especially grilled cheese) and, well, everything.
For vegetarians, Blaak Onion Jam from Beekman 1802 is a perfect savory-sweet blend of onions, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar.
9. Foodie Flashcards, $10
I hate/love these. I hate the term foodie but I love that these flashcards allow anyone to poke good natured fun at pretentious foodie terminology.