One of my most favorite things to do each Christmas season is make holiday treats. I love tossing an apron on, blasting Christmas tunes and having myself a lovely little day in the kitchen. There’s something nice about giving out something you spent the time to make on your own. Packaging them up all cute makes me happy too!
I make the same candies each year for tradition’s sake. The line up includes Peanut Butter Balls (my fave), Peppermint Bark, Mixed Nut/Fruit Bark and Chocolate Covered Pretzels (my other fave). The great thing about ALL of these is that they are super, super simple. You can make them and package ’em up all in the same day. Kiddos could help too!
Using Wilton Candy Melts chocolate keeps the process really straight forward since it’s already tempered. Using these helps to make sure that the chocolate will get nice and hard again after it’s melted. You can find them at Michael’s and they usually go on sale around the holidays.
You can also temper your own chocolate if you’re an over achiever! These directions from Epicurious can help you do it on your own using any type of chocolate.
K. Here we go!
Peanut Butter Balls
Ingredients n’ thangs:
(makes about 60)
- 1 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
- 1 Cup Chunky Peanut Butter
- 3 Cups Rice Krispies
- 3 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Melted Butter
- Milk or Dark Chocolate Candy Melts (Two 12 oz. Bags)
Melt the butter and then mix all ingredients together using a wooden spoon and then your hands. It’ll never get fully mixed with just a spoon so roll up your sleeves! This is your base. Once the mixture is evenly combined you’ll want to do a little test by rolling the batter into a ball in your palms.
Peanut butters can vary, so you may need to modify from here. If the mixture is too sticky, add more confectioners’ sugar. If it’s too crumbly, add more peanut butter. You should be able to roll the mixture into round balls that don’t fall apart. Repeat this process. As you roll each ball, place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate over low heat on the stove top, stirring often. Dip each ball into the chocolate and return them onto the wax paper using a spoon. Refrigerate to for about 15 minutes to help the chocolate fully harden. Remove and let them come down to room temperature before packaging.
Once packaged, they don’t need to be refrigerated. (Side Note: While they don’t need to be refrigerated, they can be kept in the freezer. My mom had some stashed away for a number of months and they were as good as new when we eventually ate them)
Peppermint / Nut / Dried Fruit Bark
Ingredients n’ thangs:
- White, Milk or Dark Chocolate Candy Melts
- Choice of Toppings
We made a few barks using crushed candy canes on white chocolate, crushed peppermint on white and dark mixed and then a nut/craisin bark on dark chocolate, but you can use literally anything you please!
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Melt chocolate using a double boiler on the stove top. Pour the chocolate onto the wax paper and spread out about an eight of an inch thick using a spatula. Once spread evenly, quickly sprinkle your toppings.
Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to help it harden quickly. Remove and then break into small pieces for packaging. Once packaged, it does not need to be refrigerated.
Chocolate Covered Pretzels
- Snyders Olde Tyme Pretzels (2 bags)
- Milk or Dark Chocolate Candy Melts (2 bags)
- Sprinkles and Crushed Candy Canes
Line your counter top with a few sheets of wax paper. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over low heat. Once melted, hold one corner of the pretzel and dip the remaining portion of the pretzel into the chocolate. While still wet, dip into sprinkles or crushed candy canes. Lay flat on the wax paper to dry.
You can refrigerate these as well, to speed up the hardening process. Remove and allow them to get back to room temperature before packaging. Once packaged, they do not need to be refrigerated.
Packaging your treats…
For packaging I like using regular sandwich baggies and baker’s twine. This allows you to put a few of each treat in each bag so that you can give away a nice assortment.
From there, I use a cute bag or box with tissue paper. We bring to our colleagues and neighbors, send to family that doesn’t live close by and keep extra on hand for holiday gatherings. Yum!
Happy candy making and happy holidays to all!
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