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Homemade Christmas candies gift giving for kids

I've made marshmallows, caramel corn, assorted cookies and a failed attempt at caramel apples as gifts for the kids in the past.

I need ideas or recipes that is easy to make and that six-year olds to 18-year olds will love. I would like to try caramel apples but the caramel slid off even though I tried everything that I was suppose to do.

Can Chowhounders offer some other recipe suggestions that will wow the kids? Most welcomed would be a recipe that is fail-proof.

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  1. Assuming no peanut allergies, make peanut butter balls. Mix peanut butter with enough powdered sugar to hold it's shape so you can roll into balls. Dip in melted chocolate (kids probably like milk chocolate) and roll in crushed peanuts.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jpan99

      look for "Buckeyes" -- you'll find lots of recipes - they're dipped to look like the state nut (yes, there is one) of Ohio -- the horse chestnut (and it does a pretty decent impression of it!)

      1. re: sunshine842

        My parents are both from Ohio and this is one of our favorite traditional Christmas treats. My mother's recipe for the peanut butter dough is powdered sugar, margarine (she refuses to sub butter here - she says the texture is better with margarine) and Jif creamy peanut butter (accept no substitutes!!!). However, I have a friend from Ohio who makes hers with Skippy and would never consider another brand. They're delicious no matter what.

        1. re: biondanonima

          I have a friend here in Paris who set out to make them this past year...but she ran out of patience and energy (she was late in her 1st trimester) after she'd made the peanut balls...so she just jammed a square of milk chocolate on top of each ball and called it done. They tasted fine, but they sure did look funny....

    2. These are easy and loved by most kids I've encountered.


      1. Rice Krispie treats are always welcomed by my inner child (slice small enough to fit into mouth -- I hate those massive cinderblock-sized treats). Accessorize seasonally.

        I've only made caramel apples a few times but always used the Kraft caramels and recipe, successfully. Are you using homemade caramel?

        1. I made these payday bars yesterday and everyone loves them and they were very easy

          1. English toffee-- although the parents may decide that they're entirely inappropriate for children and commandeer the whole lot....

            1. Melt 1-lb. chocolate (or chocolate candy melts if your are not a chocolate snob) in a bowl over barely simmering water. When chocolate is melted, add 1 cup of mini pretzels and 1/2 cup of M&Ms and mix until everything is covered with the chocolate. Pour on to a sheet pan covered with waxed paper or parchment and spread in an even layer. Decorate with holiday-colored sprinkles, jimmies, sanding sugar, etc. and place in a cool room (or refrigerator or even freezer if using the candy melts) and allow to harden thoroughly. When hard, break into various size bite-sized pieces. This stuff is delicious and addictive. I've warned you!

              ps...can also be made with dark chocolate and white chocolate/candy melts (the decorations show up so much better on white chocolate). I always do a few sheets of milk chocolate and a few sheets of white chocolate and then mix & match when packaging for gift giving.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ttoommyy

                A friend of mine makes a version of this that he calls "White Trash" - it's melted white chocolate, poured over a mixture of cereal (Kix, Chex, etc.), nuts, pretzels and M&Ms. Endlessly adaptable. I don't care for it myself because I despise cereal, but it is VERY popular.

                1. re: biondanonima

                  I'm a purist. :) When you start mixing in too many things it gets nasty. The combination of chocolate and pretzels is pure bliss.

                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    Mr. Sunshine would stand on his head for white chocolate-coated pretzels.

              2. Chocolate dipped pretzel rods. If you can find the smaller, twisted ones, they're more bite sized, but the big ones deliver more choc per bite! Dip in melted caramel (or skip this step), let harden a bit, dip in chocolate, then roll in chopped nuts or sprinkles or wherever your sugar tooth takes you.

                1. Fudge of any flavor or variety. Still one of my favorites!

                  1. Either of these two would be fast:
                    1) Muddy Buddies or Puppy Chow (Whichever you prefer to call it)--it is chex cereal covered in melted chocolate and peanut butter, then covered in powdered sugar.

                    2) Our Top Family Patties-- Make sandwiches out of 2 Ritz crackers with a layer of peanut butter in between, then dip each sandwich in melted chocolate

                    1. A friend told me about these, and since I love rolos, I have bought all the ingredients, just haven't made them yet...

                      Another great one is homemade peanut butter cups, very easy and everyone is so impressed at your "candy making" skills....

                      1. I like to do white chocolate-covered popcorn sprinkled with candy cane dust. I'm not exact on the quantities but I think i used 8 cups of popped corn and 6-8 oz of melted white chocolate. In a bowl, drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn and mix well until evenly coated. Take some candy canes and crush into dust then sprinkle into the popcorn mixture. Spread out a layer on a buttered cookie sheet and sprinkle a bit more candy cane dust over the top. Let set at room temperature or cool in the refrigerator. When the chocolate is no longer sticky, break up the popcorn into pieces. I like to fill cellophane or white paper bags to distribute.

                        1. I call these bake sale bars (the church ladies always made them), don't know the real name.

                          1 cup choc chips
                          1 cup butterscotch chips
                          1/2 cup peanut butter
                          3 cups coloured marshmallows
                          Melt first 3 ingredients together. Stir in marshmallows. Pour into an 8 or 9 inch square pan, let set in fridge. Cut into small squares, I usually get 25.