Nothing is more thoughtful around the holidays than homemade food. This year, turn your food into a gift that you can easily give to family, friends, coworkers, teachers and more. All of these recipes and foods can easily be made at home, making the holiday season a bit less stressful and more enjoyable for you!
When it comes to Chex Mix mixes, there are options galore. But if its something sweet you’re looking to make—and easily divvy up for gifts for teachers, family, and friends—then opt for the Caramel Crispy recipe. This recipe includes brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, water, and of course some rice and corn chex; and it only takes minutes to make, making it perfect for busy parents looking for something homemade but simple. Want to make something more savory as gifts? They have recipes for that, too! Once your batch or batches are complete you can package them in holiday food bags adding name tags for who the gifts are for.
Chocolate balls are a delicious, but why not infuse a little bit of alcohol into your food gifts this year? Prep for this particular recipe only lasts about 20 minutes, and it results in just over 60 rum balls. Start by sifting together the dry ingredients (1 cup confectioner sugar with 2 tablespoon cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground all spice). Then add in half a cup of dark rum as well as 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup. Next stir in the vanilla wafers (about 2.5 cups after they’ve been finely crushed), and 1 cup of toasted and chopped walnuts, and mix all of this together well. Put the mixture in the fridge so it starts to firm (which should take about 30 minutes). Meanwhile, put the rest of the confectioners sugar (about 1/2 cup) in a shallow dish. Then, using the tablespoon, scoop out some of the chocolate mixture and form into 1/2-inch balls. Roll this mixture with your hands to form balls and coat in confectioners sugar. Place these balls onto a baking sheet, use plastic wrap to cover, and then refrigerate overnight. These treats can be stored in an airtight container for as long as two weeks!
Chocolate and Caramel Apples
Caramel apples aren’t just for Halloween! Especially when you add some chocolate into the mix, these treats make great gifts that look like they take a lot more effort than they do. This recipe, for one, from Giada de Laurentiis involves mixing together melted caramel with orange juice, and dipping the apples into chocolate. Finish the apples by coating them with nuts, if you’d like, and you’ve got the perfect handmade treat!
Turning savory nuts into a sweet snack only takes a few minutes. To candy pecans or other nuts, mix together 1 cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt while preheating the oven to 250 degrees. In a different bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon and 1 egg white until the mixture becomes frothy. Mix together those two mixtures and then pour over the nuts (such as 1 pound of pecan halves). Spread the nuts over a baking sheet and then back for about one hour, until they’ve all browned, but turning every 15 minutes or so. Once they’ve cooled, separate and divide into serving tins or decorated bags to give as gifts!
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she’s working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.