Friday, December 19, 2014

Best Treats to Give as Gifts

The holidays are the perfect time to show your appreciation for your loved ones and all that they have done for you over the last year. However, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the thought of buying an individual gift for each person, especially those whose tastes you don’t know as well. Fortunately, today we have compiled a list of delicious holiday treats to give as gifts that are perfect for everyone on your list, from your co-workers, to your neighbors, to your children’s teachers.

Caramel Dipped Pretzel Rods
The combination of salty and sweet flavors is one of the hottest food trends today. Using our Peter’s Caramel Loaf, melt in the microwave or on the stovetop, stirring regularly. You can also add one ounce of confectioner’s sugar to each pound of caramel to thicken it for the ideal gooeyness. Roll your pretzel rods in the caramel mixture and immediately dust with or roll in your favorite holiday sprinkles. We also love this treat because it is so easy to package! All you need are a few caramel pretzel rods, a brightly colored cello bag and a string of sparkly ribbon.

Cupcakes in a Jar
Mason jars are still one of the hottest items on the baking scene, and are a great way to present your baked treats in an easy and portable way. Using your favorite family recipe or one of our delicious premium cake mixes for quick convenience, bake a tray of chocolate, vanilla or red velvet cupcakes. Using an 8oz jam-sized mason jar, drop one unwrapped cupcake into the bottom and pipe with your favorite creamy frosting. Repeat once more for a double layered effect. For an even more personalized effect, write little notes to recipients on the top of the jar lid, or try printing out your most recent family picture and wrapping it around the jar for an edible holiday card!

White Chocolate Party Popcorn
Party popcorn is one of our favorite treats all year round, and it could not be simpler! All you need is microwave popcorn, white chocolate candy melts and sprinkles of your choosing — we tend to stick to red and green this time of year, but any sprinkles will do. Simply melt the candy melts in the microwave on medium heat, stirring every 45 seconds, and once fully liquefied, slowly pour over a bowl of fresh popped popcorn, mixing as you pour. Kids will love shaking the sprinkles over the mixture, but be sure to add sprinkles quickly while the candy melts are still sticky, otherwise you risk all of your sprinkles falling to the bottom of the mixing bowl. Serve either in a small paper bag or out in a large bowl at your next event!

Peppermint Bark
One of the best items to make in a large batch is chocolate bark. For this version, all you will need is a bag of semisweet dark chocolate drops, peppermint extract, white chocolate melts and crushed up candy canes. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny-side up to prevent sticking. Stir in one ounce of peppermint extract to the melted dark chocolate and spread evenly across the baking tray. Leave aside for ten minutes to allow the chocolate to set. Then, repeat the process with the white chocolate, immediately sprinkling with the crushed candy canes, gently pressing the candy into the white chocolate. Set aside for about an hour at room temperature to allow the chocolate to harden, then break apart into small pieces and wrap in bags or small boxe
s for serving.

We would love to hear if you have tried any other holiday gift recipes! Comment below or share on our Facebook page!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Last-Minute Christmas Candies

Christmas is only a few days away now, which means it’s time to start distributing your Christmas candies to neighbors, coworkers, friends and family. If you’re one of the many people who never got to making Christmas candies during this busy season, you might think you missed out on being able to give homemade gifts to friends, but we have a few last-minute Christmas candy ideas to keep you from having to make a run to the store. Give yourself an afternoon to make these delicious last-minute gifts, and your friends will love their treats.

 Here’s a roundup of our favorite easy Christmas candies:

Martha Stewart’s Peanut Butter Swirl Bark — Four ingredients are all you need to make this delicious bark. If your recipients love peanut butter, they’re sure to enjoy this delightful and gorgeous bark.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bars — It’s entirely possible that you have all of the ingredients for these bars in your pantry right now. The delicious peanut butter and chocolate combination makes this treat a must-have!

Triple Chocolate Covered Peanut Clusters — This recipe uses the slow cooker to make most of its cooking time hands off, which is perfect when you need to wrap gifts! Once the chocolate melts in the slow cooker, add the peanuts and drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper to cool. It’s that simple.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites — Combining peanut butter, caramel and chocolate with salty pretzels might be the tastiest thing you could do this holiday season. This recipe makes about 100 pretzel bites, so plan accordingly!

Cool Mint Patties — Making popular supermarket candies at home is the surest way to prove you have magical powers. You can keep it a secret that this recipe is a snap to make with only seven ingredients.

Chocolate Mint Candy — For the mint lovers in your life, this chocolate mint candy has to be on your must-make list. This recipe yields about two pounds of candy, which might be the perfect amount for your Christmas snacking needs.

Choc-Cherry Fudge — If you’re looking for an easy fudge recipe, this might be your winner. Maraschino cherries with their stems attached really make the presentation of this fudge something special. The best part? No need for a stove or oven!

Salted Chocolate Pecan Toffee — This recipe doubles easily, so make a couple of pans of this delectable toffee, and you’ll be able to knock out all of your Christmas candy-making in one pass. With chocolate, pecans and a hint of saltiness, what could be better?

Salted Caramel Charms — Salted caramel is a huge hit again this year, so be sure to take advantage of the sweet and salty craze with these gorgeous truffles. Only requiring four ingredients, you know this recipe can’t be too difficult!

Gingerbread Cake Balls — What says “Christmas time!” more than gingerbread? These cake balls offer a new twist on an old favorite and are sure to impress anyone who receives them.

Looking for more Christmas candy ideas? Check out our Pinterest board! Have a Christmas candy that you love to make every year? Let us know about it in the comments below.