This year for our Neighbor Gift, we have decided to do edible gifts. As much as I would have loved to have been able to just purchase gifts, it wasn’t in the cards this year. We visited several friends and family over Thanksgiving and, to save on postage, we delivered the gifts in person. So, these needed to be done in time to deliver as we made our trip north (and a little east). I made them up a couple days before we left and packaged them in some cute holiday tins for safe keeping and easy gifting.
In our circle of friends, we’re known for our talent in the kitchen and love of baking and cooking. My inspiration has always been my sweet tooth. I enjoyed eating these goodies as much (or more!) than I did making them. Over the past several years, I have discovered and tweaked some of my favorite holiday recipes, adding a new one or two each year. By now, I have a reliable stash of go-to recipes that I know will be a hit. Three of the last five Christmases, I have been pregnant. So, these recipes are still pretty easy without sacrificing delicious flavor.
My Favorite Holiday Treats (in no particular order):
1. Cream Cheese Mints. This was the first time I’d ever made these. I found the recipe at Chocolate, Chocolate and More. These are like butter mints, but better. The recipe is super simple and everyone loves them. They are pretty rich, so a few mints will go a long way. That’s a good thing when you’re making goodies for a crowd. This is a no-bake recipe with only three ingredients. We’ve definitely added these to our holiday favorites.
2. English Toffee Bites. This was also the first time I made these. It’s probably not the wisest move, to try a bunch of new recipes when you’re planning to give them as gifts. Luckily, the recipes were all easy enough that all the goodies turned out delicious! This recipe came from Shugary Sweets, with a couple tweaks. I doubled the vanilla and left out the almonds. I made mine in mini muffin tins, which made them a little bigger than “bite-size”, but I didn’t want to have to deal with cutting the toffee. I would totally do it again. Delicious and cute too.
3. Super Simple Fudge. This is a recipe I got from my grandma. I always loved her fudge growing up. And when I found out the recipe had three ingredients and is almost impossible to mess up, I loved it even more. It always makes an appearance at our house during Christmastime.
4. Peanut Butter Cup Bars. I adapted this recipe back in February and have been using it ever since. It’s one of our favorites and makes a bunch all at once. Again, great for when you’re feeding a crowd. I definitely think the presentation found in the original recipe from Fifteen Spatulas looks fabulous, so I may have to try this again in cup form this holiday season… we’ll see….
5. This is just the simple fudge with walnuts on top. Some times I like a little more to my fudge than just creamy smooth chocolate.
6. This was another newbie this year… guess I was a little more adventurous than I realized with all the untested (by me) recipes. However, all of these recipes were so awesomely easy that I had no problems with any of them. They turned out great. This recipe comes from Oh Nuts! and, to be totally honest, was probably my favorite of this goody tin. They are just like a York patty. Strong and refreshing. I tried dipping the mints in melted chocolate chips and almond bark, as I was out of dipping wafers and there was no way I was going to haul my hooligans around Wal-Mart in my powdered sugar dusted sweatpants at 7:30 pm. The almond bark definitely turned out better. You can see the difference in the photo below. I think I liked the flavor better even, but they for sure set up prettier. I will be making these again… this year. I could eat a whole batch by myself.
Barely Stir Caramels. I found this recipe about three years ago on Leafy Treetop Spot. I was intrigued by the “barely-stir” in the title. I remember watching my grandma make caramels one year and I swore I’d never bother with all that work. I was intrigued enough to try it. Although my first two attempts were total failures – think one huge brick of Worther’s Hard Caramels kind of failure and mushy sugar goo the next time – when I finally got it, these were amazing. My biggest suggestion: Use an accurate digital thermometer for this recipe. Set it in and let it go. Just check on it every few minutes. It’s an easy recipe to multitask with (like when you’re making the fudge). I actually made this for these tins, but I forgot how much volume the boiling caramel takes up and had to switch pans half way through, messing up the heating stage. I got another huge hard caramel brick that wasn’t really fit for gifting. So, if you try this recipe use a LARGE pot and you should be good to go. I’ll have to make this again before Christmas though… in the right pot. They are just too delicious to not actually get to eat any! My failure shot:
Do you have any favorite Christmas goody recipes?