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Holiday-Party Essentials

At this time of year, there are a number of holiday parties to attend, and I never like to show up empty-handed. Truth be told, if I am running behind, my go-to gift is a nice bottle of wine, but here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks from that will make any host or hostess glad they invited you over.

Tip 1: Brownie Bow

My new favorite mix from Cup4Cup is our decadent Chocolate Brownie Mix, which can be made entirely dairy-free by using coconut oil instead of butter. Adding this Brownie Bow is a fun new twist; you can make a simple brownie dessert into an eye-catching dish to share at a party. Your guests will never guess that it is gluten- and dairy-free!


Breakfast Basket

Photo by Anna Williams. Get More Hostess Gift Ideas

Tip 2: Good Morning Basket

Now this idea is something that will land you the Best Guest of the Year Award, or at least ensure continued invitations to dinner parties. For every host, the worst part of the party is the cleanup. Having a ready-to-eat breakfast basket that prevents me from making another mess in my kitchen the next morning would have me singing your praises as the most thoughtful guest ever.

I am more of a savory person in the a.m. Try the Cup4Cup recipe below for Bacon-Comte Scones to add to the basket.

Bacon-Comte Scones

Servings: 12


2 cups of Cup4Cup flour

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup butter, cold

1 egg

1 tbsp chopped chives

1/2 cup cooked bacon, diced and cooled

1/2 cup grated Comte cheese

1/2 cup creme fraiche


  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, and baking powder) together. 
  3. Cut cold butter into the flour mix until it resembles a coarse cornmeal. Add in egg, chive, bacon, and cheese. 
  4. Once those ingredients are evenly distributed, add creme fraiche until a dough is formed. 
  5. Chill dough for 20-30 minutes. 
  6. Lightly flour surface using Cup4Cup; roll out dough to roughly 1 1/2 inch. 
  7. Cut into 12 even pieces. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Note: Contributor recipes are not tested by the Martha Stewart test kitchen. 

Last-Minute Hostess Gifts

Even if the host or hostess says not to bring anything, if you are invited to a party, never show up empty-handed. It’s important to bring even a small show of appreciation for someone inviting you into their home and cooking you dinner. If you are truly running behind, here are a few solid last-minute gift ideas:

• Bouquet of flowers or a succulent plant pot.

• High-quality olive oil –– especially if your host is quite the foodie.

• Basket of seasonal fruits –– many opt to bring boxes of chocolate, but after a decadent night, I am sure anyone would appreciate a nice piece of fruit the next day.

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