Creating Sweet Gifts for the Holidays
Here are two recipes for simple candies even kids can make.
Christmas is the time for giving.
I'm so grateful to have so many wonderful family and friends, and I hate for the season to go by without saying thank you for a year's worth of smile, good wishes and favors.
Our recent cold snap made for perfect days to stay inside with my daughters and make some gifts. I'm so glad my girls have begun to love baking and candy making. It gives us some time together and stresses the importance of saying thank you.
I inherited my love of holiday candy and cookie making from my mom. Especially anything with chocolate. She always made amaretto cookies and something called "heavenly hash." My chocolate peppermint recipe below is similar to it, except that hers had nuts mixed into the chocolate rather than candy canes on the top. I know my husband's mom had a strong tradition of baking for the holidays as well, making all those traditional favorites, like haystacks and gingerbread men.
The best thing about these two recipes is that they don't require a hot oven. My nine-year-old was able to manage melting the chocolate in the microwave with little help from me. My seven-year-old loved rolling the balls out of cake mix. The most difficult part was keeping them from licking their fingers every two minutes.
We used simple paper bags and wrote the recipient's name on the outside. Two small holes in the top let us tie a red bow on each bag. We'll spend a little time this weekend driving around to our friends and neighbors passing out the treats.
Both of these recipes make dozens of pieces of candy, so there will be plenty to eat and give away.
1 Box Cake Mix (any flavor)
1 Tub Icing
2 Bags White Chocolate Chips (melting chocolate would be better)
Prepare cake mix as directed. Let cool completely. In a large bowl, crumble cake mix and add icing. Stir to combine. (I used my stand mixer.) Icing will soak into crumbs. Place cake mixture in fridge. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Remove cake mixture from fridge. Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop cake mix and form into bite-sized balls. (Put balls on lollipop sticks if desired.) Place balls in fridge for 30 minutes or more. Dip balls in melted chocolate. Decorate with sprinkles. Place in fridge for chocolate to harden.
Chocolate Marshmallow Peppermint Squares
4 bags chocolate chips or melting chocolate (12 oz. each)
1 bag mini marshmallows
10 large candy canes, crushed
Melt chocolate in double broiler or microwave. Lay parchment paper on baking sheet. Cover parchment paper with marshmallows. Pour melted chocolate over marshmallows. Sprinkle chocolate with crushed candy canes. Place in refrigerator to harden. Cut into bite-sized squares.