Homemade Holiday Gifts

Nov 29, 2019

This holiday season, give the gift of homemade goodness! Whether it’s a co-worker, neighbor, teacher or just the aunt and uncle that are nearly impossible to buy for, we’ve got you covered with a list of seasonal recipes you can DIY into gifts this year. Turn on some holiday tunes and get your apron out because we’ve got some gifts to bake!

Hot Chocolate Jars

Hot Chocolate Mason Jars

There’s nothing more comforting than a warm cup of cocoa at the end of a frosty winter day! This mix is a great gift for just about everyone on your list and requires no baking! Simple, fast, and delicious.

Ingredients

2 cups powdered milk
¾ cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Optional: ½ cup non-dairy creamer*
Optional: mini marshmallows, crushed candy canes, and/or chocolate chips

*The creamer allows your gift recipient to mix the cocoa with warm water rather than warm milk. If you decided to leave this ingredient out, be sure to write up the recipe tag accordingly!

Instructions

  1. Measure out each ingredient, one at a time, and pour into a mason jar or container of your choosing. 
  2. For some additional seasonal decoration, you can add mini marshmallows, crushed candy canes and/or chocolate chips to the top.

chocolate covered potatoe chips

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

The perfect combination of sweet and salty? Check! If you haven't already jumped on the bandwagon, this unique treat is worth trying. Limited in ingredients and easy to make, consider this your fresh take on chocolate-covered pretzels! 

Ingredients

24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate or chocolate candy coating)
One 16-ounce bag ridged potato chips

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave it in 45-second intervals until melted, stirring frequently to prevent overheating.
  3. Use tongs to dip potato chips one at a time into the melted chocolate. Let the chocolate drip back into the bowl, tapping it against the edge several times to remove excess chocolate. Place the dipped chip onto the baking sheet, then repeat until all of the chips are dipped in chocolate.
  4. Cool until set. You may refrigerate if you like.

Tip

These chips are best eaten soon after they are made, to preserve the crunchiness of the chips.

Chocolate covered coconut cany

Chocolate Covered Coconut Candies

This easy-to-make version of a vintage recipe calls for mashed potatoes as the secret ingredient that binds this delectable mixture. While it sounds unusual for a sweet treat, recipients of this tasty gift will have no idea it contains potato! We’ve offered some yummy variations so you can divide your recipe for a flavorful assortment!  Nestle finished products into mini muffin liners or candy cups for gift giving. 

Makes 5 dozen candies

Ingredients

¾ cup mashed potato, about one medium Russet potato. (Do not used mashed potatoes that contain butter, salt, or other ingredients.)
4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
4 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 ounces dark chocolate candy wafers or chocolate-flavored almond bark (about 2 ½ cups)
Ground or finely chopped almonds for garnishing, optional

  1. In a large bowl, combine mashed potato, coconut, powdered sugar, and almond extract. Mixture will be stiff.  Drop by heaping teaspoon onto wax paper then roll into a small ball, a little less than 1-inch. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
  2. Combine the chocolate chips and candy wafers and melt in a double boiler. Dip balls into melted chocolate and place on waxed paper to harden. Just-dipped candies can be garnished with a sprinkle of ground almonds if desired. Store in an airtight container in a cool location.

Variations

  • Add a whole almond to each candy when forming into balls.
  • Replace almond extract with peppermint extract, sprinkle ground or crushed peppermints on top of just-dipped chocolate.
  • Replace almond extract with lime or orange extract and garnish dipped candy with lime or orange zest.
  • Replace almond extract with a hazelnut liquor, add ground hazelnuts to coconut mixture, garnish dipped chocolate with sprinkle of ground hazelnuts.
  • Use a combination of rum and pineapple flavoring for a piña colada version.

Tip

When using a double boiler to melt the chocolate, make certain the utensils, and any bowl or pan you place the chocolate in, is completely dry. It is crucial that water not enter the chocolate as it will cause the chocolate to “tighten” and turn into a clumping grainy mess! Water is heated over low heat, not boiling water, and should not touch the top bowl or pan.

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark is a perennial holiday favorite we see popping up in everything from coffee creamer to covered pretzels. Here’s an easy 4 ingredient version that you can have ready for gift giving in no time. We love its pretty pink color, too! This recipe is easy to double: one for you, one for a friend!

Ingredients

20 round hard peppermint candies or equivalent candy canes.
12 ounces IGA vanilla-flavored almond bark or candy coating, chopped into ½ inch pieces.
1 ½ teaspoons pure peppermint extract or peppermint oil*
Red gel or powder food coloring*

  1. Place peppermint candies or candy canes in a heavy sealable plastic bag then break and crush into assorted sized pieces using a kitchen mallet, rolling pin, or soup-size can. Set aside.
  2. Line a cookie sheet or other flat surface with aluminum foil, waxed paper, or parchment paper. 
  3. Melt almond bark or candy coating over a double boiler or in microwave, stirring frequently until melted. Once melted, stir in food coloring for desired pink color, add peppermint extract. Fold in some of the crushed candies, reserving the larger pieces. Working quickly, spread mixture evenly on aluminum foil to 18 to 14 inch thickness. Sprinkle reserved broken and crushed candies on top. Let stand until hardened completely. When firmly set, break into pieces and store in an air tight container.

Variation

Try something different! Use green spearmint candies in place of peppermints and tint bark a pale minty green with green food coloring. If chocolate is a must-have, before bark has set, thinly drizzle a bit of melted dark chocolate pieces over it.

*Like chocolate, candy coatings and almond bark react to water, “tightening” and “seizing” up. Liquid food coloring and imitation flavorings use water as a main ingredient. Using a gel or powder food coloring and extracts made with peppermint or mint oils such as pure peppermint extract help assure a silky-smooth finished candy!

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