I made cupcake pops for my shower hostesses this past weekend. They came out awesome! Check out how I did it here!
This Christmas, I decided to give a bunch of homemade presents. I love the thought of gifting something that is homemade. It feels more personal, and who hates food?
For some family members, I gave spice baskets with homemade vanilla extract and sugar. For the extract, I found very reasonably priced bottles (that you didn’t have to buy in bulk or pay a TON for shipping, since they were glass) at American Spice Company, and I simply used mason jars for the vanilla sugar. To give it a cuter touch, I purchased label sheets at Office Depot and designed the labels for them myself. Check them out!
I also made some homemade peppermint bark to put in the baskets. This is very simple…just place some parchment on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in melted semi-sweet or milk chocolate. Pour melted white chocolate on top (and swirl a little, if you’d like). Then, before the chocolate hardens, sprinkle crushed candy canes on top. Once everything hardens, break the bark off into large chunks and place in bags.
I thought that my family would enjoy some spice mixes, and I decided to give them our favorites from Penzeys: Northwood seasoning and BBQ 3000.
As for our coworkers, I baked sugar cookies using this recipe. I would say this book is a definite read for anyone who is interested in learning to decorate cookies! I adapted it to add almond extract, in addition to the vanilla extract and lemon rind called for in the recipe. It gave the cookies more of a sugar cookie flavor and less of a butter cookie flavor. This was the first homemade sugar cookie recipe that my fiance loved too! I FINALLY ended the search for the perfect recipe!
This recipe barely spread, allowing the cookies to keep their great crisp shape. It also rolled VERY easily. I never had a sticking problem, which is something I experienced with some previous recipes.
To show how well they hold their shape, the cookies on the left are not cooked, while the ones on right are cooked.
I also made candy bark coated pretzels with Christmas M&Ms on top. This was a SUPER easy recipe. Just melt candy melts or bark, spoon into the middle of the store bought pretzels (laid out on wax or parchment paper) and top with 3 M&M’s.
Last, but not least, I made the infamous Oreo Truffles. To make more, I used 1/2 tsp. as a measuring tool for how big the truffles should be. These made a more decent sized truffle, and I made about 80 with the recipe this time.
Then, I put each treat in holiday cellophane bags, as pictured.
These went in cute little holiday take-out boxes that I found at Michael’s for $1 each. I absolutely love how these all came out! They were also well-received, so I’m definitely going to keep making edible gifts for future holidays!
I made these again for the holidays. This time, I had MUCH more patience! I also used a food processor for a finer truffle and it worked out really well.
I’ll admit it…I rushed myself into making oreo truffles, so they aren’t the prettiest. However, the taste makes up for it BIG TIME!
I found this idea originally in Beantown Baker’s blog, and I love that this is non-perishable!
I can’t wait to make these around the holidays with my new candy dipper set too…
All you need are:
1 package oreos
14 oz. condensed milk (you may need less than this…see directions)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Almond bark or melting chocolate
First, crush the oreos in a ziploc bag or a food processor.
Then, add half of the condensed milk and mix together. Add a little more at a time, until the filling is mold-able by hand, but not too sticky.
Form into small balls and place in the freezer to set for about half an hour. In the meantime, prepare your melting chocolates according to the package instructions in the microwave or double boiler. Then, dip the balls in chocolate (I used toothpicks to hold the balls in the chocolate) and allow to cool on parchment or mini candy cups.
I am a volunteer teacher for Junior Achievement, which I do one day a week during my lunch hour at a local elementary school. It’s a great program, and it’s nationwide, so if you think this is something you would be interested in, seriously contact your local office! It’s so fun and rewarding
Anyways, I always like to get the kids something for their last class as a congrats, besides the certificates that are given out by Jr. Achievement. I decided to make them large lollipops!
I don’t even remember how I found this idea, but I came across it on This Mama Cooks!
Apparently, these little foil pans are hard to find, but I found them at the local Dollar Tree. So, 24 of these for a $1?? SCORE! I bought the lollipop sticks at Wal-Mart in the crafts section and I used two bags of 14 oz. Jolly Ranchers for the candy, as recommended on the website.
Here are the directions for these fun lollipops!
* 8 Reynolds® FunShapes™ Stars or Hearts Baking Cups
* 8 (6-inch) Lollipop sticks
* 40 Jolly Ranchers
PREHEAT oven to 300°F. Place Reynolds FunShapes Stars and/or Hearts Baking Cups on a cookie sheet with sides.
MAKE a hole in one side of each of the baking cups near the bottom of the cups with a toothpick. Insert the lollipop sticks from the inside of the cup through the hole made with the toothpick and push it to the outside leaving at least 1 inch inside the cup.**
ARRANGE 5 candies in each baking cup, placing one candy over the lollipop stick. (It does not need to lay flat, it will melt around the stick.)
BAKE 5 to 6 minutes (it took my oven 9 minutes) or until candy is melted. Carefully remove baking cups from cookie sheet onto a tray to cool; immediately twirl stick to completely coat with candy. Prop sticks with handle of a wooden spoon if necessary to keep the sticks straight in baking cup while lollipop cools.
REMOVE lollipops from baking cups by tearing foil and peeling away from lollipops.
I then wrapped them in little cellophane bags and tied them for cute presentation. The kids LOVED it and the teacher kept asking how did I do that with Jolly Ranchers? LOL!
This was super easy and I recommend giving this little project a try! You can make cute bouquets with these for kid’s gifts or parties too!