It's The Thought That Counts

It's The Thought That Counts

Sarah Westendorf SWQ Holiday 2013

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • Pretzels of your choice (you might want to grab a couple different sizes/shapes to experiment)
  • Chocolate melting wafers (available in the bulk section of the grocery store-get milk and white
  • A variety of holiday themed sprinkles

Set up a double boiler to melt down the chocolate, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. Take it off the heat. Then, using a fork or similar tool (Wilton makes great candy making tools you can find in a craft store!), hook the corner of a pretzel and submerge it in the chocolate. Tap the tool against the pot to get off any excess chocolate and then either lay it flat on a wax-paper covered cookie sheet, dip into sprinkles, or lay flat and drizzle with contrasting chocolate.

When I was seven years old, I proudly gave my bus driver a pair of red and green Christmas socks. I was so excited because I just knew he was going to cherish those socks and think of me when he wore them every year.

In reality, he was probably just thinking, “Great, another pair of cheesy socks.”

So the big question is, what do you get these people for Christmas? You know, the people who you don’t know well enough to pick out something unique? My solution for the past several years is to make delicious homemade candy. I pick simple recipes that all use the same ingredients, thereby limiting the number of times I have to run to the store. And by setting up an assembly line of chocolate, sprinkles, and wax paper, I can pump through several batches of all three of these treats in one night. But the best part? These candies have just the right amount of homemade charm to say, “I was thinking about you…but not in a creepy way.”

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:

  • Milk chocolate
  • White chocolate
  • Crushed peppermint candy

This recipe is so simple, that you’ll feel dumb explaining to people how you made it. “Uh, I melted chocolate, and then I melted more chocolate. That’s pretty much it.

Lay another cookie sheet with wax paper, and give it a very light spritz of non-stick cooking spray. Using the double boiler method, melt several cups of the milk chocolate. When it’s creamy and smooth, pour it onto the cookie sheet and spread it evenly using a spatula. Place it into the fridge for ½ hour. When it’s cooled, melt the white chocolate and add a handful of the crushed peppermint candy. Spread it on top of the milk chocolate (do this fairly quickly, you don’t want to melt the bottom layer), and then top with more peppermint. Pop it back into the fridge for a bit to harden, and then break it into bite-sized pieces.

Now that you know how to make these three simple recipes, the only thing left to do is package them up to present as gifts. You can do this attractively (and pretty cheaply!) by picking up a variety of boxes, tins, jars, containers, and bags from craft or dollar stores or reuse items you may have around the house. You then want to finish them off with ribbons, bows, twine, tissue paper, and colorful foil.

Decorative tins become perfect serving dishes for the treats you bring to a party, and mason jars are always great because they’re reusable. Combining a package of home made candy with a gift card from your favorite neighborhood shop or restaurant makes your present that much more special.

Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs

This is my most requested recipe!

In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients. Roll into small balls and place on yet another wax paper lined cookie sheet. Place in the fridge for ½ hour. Once cooled, dip in melted chocolate, tap against the side of bowl to get rid of excess chocolate, and lay on cookie sheet. I like to drizzle with contrasting chocolate because it looks nice.

Get a variety of sizes of vessels so that you can shape each gift to the person you’re giving it to. And don’t forget to make cute labels, so you know who gets what.

The only tricky part is not eating all of the candy before you deliver it. And if this is still too much work for you, there is always Hedonist Chocolates.

Like these recipes? Have a favorite edible gift recipe to share with me? Email me at DashandaPinch@Gmail.com, or check out my blog at www.DashandaPinch.com.