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looking for easy, low cost treats for youth Christmas program

Am looking at putting together some care packages (sandwich bag jazzed up) of cookies or other sweets for kids who are in an at risk youth program.

I don't have a large budget; can't use nuts; wish to keep it simple in assembly.

Any ideas would be great.

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  1. Rice krispie treats? Brownies (without nuts, of course)?

    Seems to me that bar cookies, or baked goods you can prepare in a large pan and cut up, would be your cheapest and easiest path. In terms of brownies, I actually like the Ghiradelli mix that you can get in bulk at Costco (or at least used to be able to, I haven't been there in years) - cheap, quick, and tasty.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jacinthe

      Ditto on the Rice Krispie treats. Maybe add red and green M&M. Very easy to make to boot.

    2. I am especially fond of those little bags of M&M's they have for Halloween. They do not melt, can be shoved in pockets, jammed into bookbags, and dropped on the ground, and survive in good shape; plus, they are chocolate (and are especially good for disadvantaged children who may not have had a big bag of halloween candy last month). Don't forget those Xmas candy canes; I hate peppermint, but even I will enjoy them at Christmas. I would also include a small, wrapped present that has a toy or trinket inside.

      1. I've made thousands of these Chewy Molasses Cookies. Very cheap to make and everyone seems to like them. They have a crinkle top. Just don't overbake, they get too hard.

        1. No Bakes---cheap and easy

          the ones with cocoa, quick oats, pb, sugar, and a little butter

          1. Maybe some chocolate dipped pretzels also in with the rice krispy treats?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Val

              such a good idea... i work with kids too and they love the rice krispy treats.. but the idea of adding the salty chocolate pretzel, priceless.

              also, my kids have loved peppermint bark that I make....
              get a box of candy canes and crush up very well (think of it as anger management getting your aggression out on the candy canes). Melt the white candy chips (from Michaels, candy section) in microwave according to directions. Spread thinly onto cookie sheet or waxed paper. While still gooey, sprinkle with a heavy hand the peppermint crushed pieces. Once completed cooled, break into pieces. put in seperate bag since the peppermint smell well attach to everything.

              1. re: Mel

                Thanks! I've done this before but was stuck in thinking baked goods rather than easy to put together. Wrapped up, these look wonderful.

            2. Just a note, if you're avoiding nuts/peanuts, then you'll need to avoid M&Ms as well. The plain ones have traces of peanut in them and can cause reactions in people who have peanut allergies.

              I agree about doing any sort of bar cookie as there are infinite varieties and the prep is fast and easy.

              One very easy, kid-friendly treat is to dump some Cheerios and broken mini pretzel sticks into melted white chocolate, dip out into little mounds on wax paper, and top with a few red or green sprinkles.

              1 Reply
              1. re: weezycom

                these cereal/chocolate goodies are not to be missed! Very quick assembly and real sleepers--great texture and flavor and couldn't be easier. Mix cereal bits into melted chocolate and drop by spoonsful onto waxed paper to set and cool.

              2. Homemade lollipops. Easy to find molds. Many with holiday themes. Rather inexpensive to create.

                1. I don't know how long these hold up without refrigeration, but how about chocolate covered bananas on sticks?

                  1. Rice Krispie treats , or PopCorn Balls. Kids love them

                    Ingredients like chocolate are expensive, so Brownies would be out.

                    1. Brownies are inexpensive if you buy the mixes like Duncan Hines/Betty Crocker that the stores usually put on sale for .99 cents all the time (way cheaper than Ghiradelli, at least, where I live). An added egg and oil/butter & maybe water and you can make at least 9 in an 8 x 8 pan...double it up and use a 9 x 13 pan. You can jazz them up with store bought vanilla whipped frosting (again, on sale at the grocer's or maybe Walmart for little more than 1.00 a can or make your own with powdered sugar, vanilla, etc) mixed with a little red or green food coloring and maybe some crushed peppermint sticks. Very inexpensive.

                      Another thing I like to add to my cookie trays during the holidays are Mexican wedding cookies; basically a butter cookie recipe that can be made with or without nuts, rolled into balls and baked then rolled in powdered sugar. Again, use powdered sugar tinted with red and green food coloring. These will look pretty in small bags tied with Christmas ribbons (Dollar tree stores have clear decorated holiday goodie bags packs with about 20 bags with the twists for a buck and the ribbon is a buck a roll). You can flavor the dough with any of multiple flavors; I've used almond, maple, lemon, peppermint, etc.

                      I like the popcorn ball idea; you can make them miniature and add dried fruits or crushed candies to the mix.