Hello, Fun Friends! It’s that time of year when lots of us are busy in our kitchens. We’re creating all kinds of yummy treats to give to our loved ones when they stop over or just as gifts to let them know we’re thinking of them. We wouldn’t want to stop there! Why let those treats look ordinary when your yummy morsels are anything BUT ordinary? Let’s add some handmade tags and decorations to step up the sweets this holiday season!
Now, why limit yourself to just one treat? Why not create all of your favorites and give them to your loved ones? Let’s take a look at a few of our favorites!
HOMEMADE SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp light-colored corn syrup (can be omitted but helps reduce crystallization)
- 1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract, optional (or substitute with bourbon, rum, Grand Marnier, or a favorite liqueur)
- 1/2 to 1 tbsp salt, optional and to taste (for a true ‘salted caramel’ sauce, I use 1 teaspoon)
- In a medium to large saucepan (use a pan much larger than you think you’ll need because the sauce will bubble very vigorously at the end), add the sugar, water, corn syrup and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until sugar has dissolved.
- Allow the mixture to boil for 5 to 12 minutes, or as necessary, for it to turn caramel-colored, at which point it will likely be smoking slightly. The final stage where the mixture turns from pale amber to that perfect shade of caramel can go quickly, in less than 30 seconds, so keep a watchful eye and don’t let it burn. Super stinky and you’ll have to start over. Throughout the boiling time, you can swirl the pan gently every minute or two if necessary, but the less the sugary mixture gets on the sides of the pan, the better in preventing crystallization in the final sauce.
- As soon as the sauce has turned caramel-colored, reduce the heat to low.
- Very carefully and slowly, add the cream. Stand back because mixture will bubble up considerably.
- Optionally, and very carefully, add the vanilla and salt, to taste. Stand back because mixture will bubble up again.
- Whisk until sauce is smooth and combined, and let it boil another 1 minute, which helps thicken it up.
- Transfer sauce to glass jar or heat-safe container (easiest to pour into a 2-cup measuring cup and then easily pour into glass jar). Allow sauce to cool uncovered to room temperature; sauce thickens considerably as it cools. Sauce will keep airtight at room temp for at least 1 month, although will likely last much longer; use common sense if giving as gifts with storage considerations.
PRETZEL M&M HUGS
- 70 square pretzels (do NOT use butter snaps)
- 70 Hershey’s Hugs chocolates (from nearly 1 full 12 oz package), unwrapped
- 70 Milk Chocolate M&M’s , I used the red and green Christmas package
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Align pretzels on cookie sheet in a single layer then top each pretzel with one Hershey’s Hug chocolate.
- Bake in preheated oven for 4 – 5 minutes, until the chocolate is shiny and soft (but NOT melting, the chocolates should still hold their shape).
- Remove from oven and carefully place one M&M in the center of each soft Hug and press down on M&M to spread the chocolate. Place in refrigerator and allow to rest until chocolate has set, about 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
WHOA! Maybe candy and sweets aren’t your thing buy you still want to whip something up to give. Enter in the Peppermint Sugar Scrub.
PEPPERMINT SUGAR SCRUB
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp oil of choice (sweet almond, coconut, olive, etc)
- 1 tbsp liquid castile soap
- 4 drops natural red food coloring (optional)
- 4-6 drops peppermint essential oil
- 1/2 cup crushed candy cane
- 8 oz glass jar
- Combine first five ingredients in mixing bowl, mix well
- Layer above mixture in glass jar with crushed candy canes
- Repeat until jar is full
Don’t those sound amazing and perfect to give? We’re pretty sure you’d be met with a big smile when you come bearing one, or more, of those as gifts! Thinking about re-creating any of these? Make sure you share with us on our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram.
Supplies Pictured: Journey Girl Stripes | Journey Twice Licorice Twist | Holiday Joy Stamp Set | Special Day Die Set | Black Licorice True Color Fusion Ink Pad | Whip Cream Cardstock | Candy Apple Cardstock | Journey Color Burst Pencils | Sweet Candy Drops | Cozy Prints | Tied Up | Baby Envelope Die | Christmas Cheer Coffee Cup Chipboard Embellishments | Candy Apple Sparkle Ribbon | Cozy Tag Set Pre-Printed Tags | Window Box