Whether you have five or 50 teachers, students, neighbors, co-workers, family friends, kids’ friends, classmates, cousins, uncles, aunts, employees or service providers on your gift list this year—don’t panic! You do not have to be crafty or know how to cook to assemble fabulous gifts in your kitchen.
You’ll never go wrong giving a consumable (read: edible) gift. It does the job without contributing to your recipients’ stuff-factor.
You will need containers for these gifts and the possibilities are endless. Our favorite: Clear cellophane bags online for about 6 cents each (you’ll pay a bit more for bags like these that are printed with holiday motifs). Or find similar at craft stores like Michaels, Jo-Ann Stores and Hobby Lobby, and at cake and candy supply stores.
Think assembly line and you can turn out dozens of gifts in a single day. So gather your supplies, set up your production line and let the fun begin!
Melt your choice of white, milk or dark chocolate wafers*, Baker’s chocolate, chocolate bars or chocolate chips according to package instructions or see below. Dip pretzels of any size or shape into the melted chocolate. Place on wax paper to harden. Variation: While chocolate is still warm, sprinkle the pretzels with crushed nuts, colored sugar or crushed peppermint candies. Tip: You can dip just about anything in chocolate to make a wonderful holiday treat. Try cookies like Nutter Butters, Vienna Fingers, Teddy Grahams, Chips Ahoy Cookies, even big marshmallows. Place on wax paper to harden.
*Chocolate melting notes: Melting wafers are chocolate that’s formulated for making candy. They are inexpensive, easy to use and come in a vast array of colors and flavors. Make ‘n Mold is one brand available online or at grocery stores, cake and candy supply stores and many craft stores. Chocolate bars and Baker’s sweet or semi-sweet chocolate (supermarket) melt well and are a good option. Chocolate chips, however, are formulated to resist melting. If chips are your only option, you can melt them but it’s tricky: Stir in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil for every 1 ounce of chips. Microwave on medium power at 30-second intervals stirring between until melted.
Crunch ‘n Munch
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- Pinch of salt
- 4 cups corn or rice Chex or Crispix cereal OR 3 cups bran or wheat Chex.
Mix sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Melt butter or margarine in large skillet. Add cereal and mix well. Heat over medium heat stirring until coated (5 to 6 minutes). Sprinkle 1/2 of the sugar mixture over the cereal and continue stirring until well coated. Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture and heat several more minutes. Spread on a layer of wax paper or foil to cool. Yield: 3 to 4 cups. This recipe multiplies well if you have a very large skillet.
Slow Cooker Snack Mix
- 3 cups thin pretzel sticks
- 4 cups wheat Chex cereal
- 4 cups Cheerios cereal
- 1 (12-ounce) jar salted peanuts
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients in 4- to 5-quart slow cooker and stir gently until well mixed and cereal, pretzels, and peanuts are coated with the butter, cheese, and spices. Cover slow cooker and cook on low 3 to 4 hours, stirring twice during cooking. Remove lid during last half hour of cooking to let the mix dry.