How I do: Teacher Gifts

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When you become a mom, you get indoctrinated into this whole underbelly of extras. Things you never knew you never knew. Cognitive leaps – what? Sleep regressions (had to look this one up). Hands free pumping bras. Taking turns vs. sharing. Baby led weaning. Playdates. And, eventually, when you are one of the lucky ones among us who gets to hand our absolutely delightful children over to qualified, loving teachers with seemingly infinite wells of patience, teacher gifts.

They sneak up on you the first year; some other mom casually asks at drop off- what are you doing for teacher gifts? That launches you into a paralysis of sorts. I’m here to help.

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In my extensive market research which is by no means supported by any statistical methods, 100% of teachers want cash money. But that seems a bit tacky, no? So, I’ll soften that to say that 100% of teachers want gift cards. Still, it just doesn’t scream “I need you in my life. You are the reason I can [insert thing you love doing alone here] alone. You are the reason I can visit the gynecologist or get a root canal without getting a babysitter. I love you.”

So, enter the homemade gift. Last year, I made mini marzipan dark chocolate scone loaves for the teachers, and wrapped them with parchment. The year before, I made homemade bolognese sauce for the teachers (Instant Pot!), and attached a package of organic spaghetti. This year, I’m looking to two of the most bad-ass Southern mamas I know, and poaching their recipe and sharing it with all of you.

In my profesh opinion as a mom for less than the length of a Presidential adminstration, teachers love the gift card + homemade item combo. And a card professing your love – don’t forget that part.

My little sweethearts delivered these to their teachers this morning and I already got this text: “you realize you’re one of those put together moms that everyone *wants* to hate but can’t because it’s adorable and you’re so nice, right? (I mean this as an utter compliment, by the way).” Life goals achieved.

Don’t skimp on your teachers. I made 18 mini loaves of this bread by doubling the recipe. That means everybody including the post man is going to feel loved this holiday season. And remember, a little red and white twine works for everrrrryyyyyyy holiday! Minimalist wrapping at its best.

Six Flavor Pound Cake

Heather and Cindy (mother-daughter duo) can bake. Just take my word for it. All of their recipes are to-die-for and last year when they delivered a cookie plate to my house, I levitated a little when I tasted this pound cake. Regular pound cake, while a favorite of my husband’s, has always been just a little too basic for me. I took platters of this to a cookie exchange last night and it rocked the room. It is aromatic, unexpected, and it has butter flavored Crisco for goodness sake. Let’s leave the trans-fats convo for another day. Your teachers need the crumb that this Crisco provides.

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3 cups sugar

1/2 lb butter (unsalted)

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter flavored because I do what Cindy says)

5 eggs

3 c. flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup milk

2 tsp each  (divided- half goes in the glaze) vanilla, almond, lemon, coconut, rum and butter extracts

1/2 cup water

you will need a tube pan – I used the 16 cup Nordic Tube Pan with excellent results. I’m really glad I bought this pan. If you’re giving these away, this will make 9 mini loaf pans each recipe. I used these which are fantastic quality. 

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Cream together in a stand mixer: room temperature butter, shortening and sugars.

Add eggs, beat until lemon colored.

In a small bowl, mix milk with extracts. In another bowl, mix flour and salt and baking powder. Starting and ending with milk, add them to the mixer alternating milk and flour until it’s gone. Beat, scraping down sides.

Bake large tube pan at 350 for 1.5 hours. Bake mini loaves on a sheet pan for 1 hour at 350, turning once if you remember.

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Cool on rack. Mix 1/2 cup water with 1 tsp each of extracts. Poke holes in the top of the pound cake, and pour on glaze or brush it on liberally.

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