Easy Christmas Candy

It’s Christmas!  Holiday shopping is pretty much done and we are all full on getting ready for Christmas dinner now or at least we should be.  This year, my family decided finger foods for our get together and I am happy not to have to worry about cooking a bunch of food since I have Christmas gifts to bake.  Although by the time you read this, I will be mostly done with that too!

Christmas candy is often full of traditions and memories.  Our mothers and/or grandmothers taught us how to make the candy as we grew up.  It was pretty much always the same recipes year in and year out.  As adults, we make the same candies they taught us to make every year and as we fill our homes with the scents of peppermint or chocolate or boiling sugar, the memories of making candy with our moms and grandmas come flooding back.  I will never forget Granny at the stove making pralines or Mom showing us how to make peanut butter balls.  I will never forget every surface filled with something waiting to cool.  I will never forget large bags of goodies going out of our house to friends and coworker, family and neighbors and Granny always leaving a bag of goodies for the mail lady too. Memories of sharing and the joy that can come from it.  Memories of hours and days spent together and laughter and singing Christmas songs along to the radio.  My sister and I giving each other a hard time in a joking manner with good hearted ribbing and that is as adults!  Talk of Jesus and church, babies and kids growing too fast.  Memories of so much love.  

Have you noticed how much I say that about the kitchen? For me, the kitchen is the heart of the home.  A place to pass on traditions.  A place to teach a new generation.  A place always full of good smells. A place of love for my family. 

Christmas candy is so much fun to make and share with others.  It can be customized to your tastes or theirs. You can add fun Christmas colors with a little food gel or even crushed candy pieces if you so desire and sprinkles, so many sprinkles.  Add a recipe card along with one of your favorites as you share it and maybe it will become their new pick too!

This week, I went with all new recipes across the board again.  I have shared my family’s traditional recipes before.  Well, except for the peanut butter balls.  We don’t share that recipe!  So, I went looking for new recipes that sounded good.  A couple I created by just looking at some ingredients on hand and basing them on other recipes I had seen or used.  Nothing makes me happier than trying a new recipe and sharing it with others to see how well it goes over.    The guys I work with love being my testers too!  Sprinkles are optional in all recipes, but they make things so fun especially at Christmas!  Make your grocery list and meet me in the kitchen and let’s make some memories together!

Cream Cheese Candy

3oz cream cheese, softened

¼ tsp peppermint or almond extract

3 cups confectioners' sugar, divided

Place parchment paper on baking sheets.  Mix cream cheese and extract until blended in bowl of stand mixer. Beat in 2 cups confectioners' sugar. Add remaining cup.  Beat until combined if possible.  You may have to knead the last little bit to get it to combine. Here, I split the dough into three pieces.  I dyed one third red, one third green and left one third white.  Shape into 1/2-in. balls. Place on prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with bottom of glass. Let stand until firm, 1-2 hours. Store between layers of parchment paper in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe from tasteofhome.com.

 

Reindeer Chow

2 cups pretzel sticks, broken into pieces

4 cups fresh popped popcorn

4 cups rice Chex cereal

2 cups M&M’s

2 cups white chocolate chips

Sprinkles, to taste

Melt white chocolate in chocolate melting pot or in double boiler.  If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a medium saucepan and a large heat safe bowl instead.  I use my melting pot for everything though.  If you make a lot of chocolate, it’s a good investment.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  In large bowl, combine cereal, popcorn, pretzels and M&M’s.  Pour melted chocolate over ingredients in bowl.  Mix well to coat all pieces in chocolate.  Pour onto prepared baking sheet.  Spread evenly over baking sheet.  Add sprinkles over the top to taste.  Allow chocolate to harden.  Break into small pieces or crumble lightly with your fingers to break apart.  Store in airtight container. 

 

Christmas Crunch

2 cups rice cereal

2 cups chocolate of choice, I used dark chocolate melting wafers

Topping as desired, I used sprinkles but feel free to try peppermint or other small candies if desired

Melt chocolate in chocolate melting pot or double boiler.  Line baking sheet or 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.  The baking sheet will be too big for this amount, but you can spread it to your desired thickness.  The 8x8 will fit it better, but may still not completely cover pan.  I used the baking sheet and made it as thin as I wanted it.  Place cereal into medium bowl.  Pour melted chocolate over cereal.  Spread out to desired thickness on prepared pan.  Top with sprinkles as desired.  Feel free to double the recipe if you want more to give away.

 

Homemade Peppermint Patties

4 Tbsps. butter, softened

½ cup marshmallow cream

1 tsp peppermint extract

4 cups powdered sugar

2 Tbsps. water

Chocolate melting wafers

White chocolate melting wafers

Sprinkles, optional 

Line 2 pans with parchment paper.  Beat butter, marshmallow cream and peppermint until creamy.  Slowly add powdered sugar and water until dough forms.  Roll mixture into even balls. Press each one into a round disc. Place patties on prepared pans. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.  Melt chocolate wafers in melting pot.  Cover work surface with parchment paper.  Dip half the frozen patties in chocolate, one at a time. Place on another sheet of parchment paper to set up. You must work quickly though.  As they thaw, they will be harder to work with as they soften.  If needed, place patties back in the freezer to re-harden.  Melt more chocolate, if needed.  Melt white chocolate wafer melts in melting pot and dip the other half of patties one a time. Place on parchment paper and add sprinkles right away if using. Melt more chocolate, if needed.  If desired, drizzle white chocolate over the chocolate covered ones and vice versa.  This can be done with a spoon or even a fork.  Let set until chocolate has hardened.  Store in an airtight container. 

Recipe adapted from insidebrucrewlife.com