Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Minute Homemade Gift Ideas

Well first I want to wish all my readers and visitors a wonderful Christmas and many happy moments with friends and family. For those of you who are still very busy right to the end I thought I’d share a couple of inexpensive but fun holiday gift ideas that can be made and packaged with just a little effort. The first one is a recipe I make for ‘Candy Cane Bark’ easy to package in cellophane bags and tie with a festive gift tag and ribbon. Very tasty and looks pretty too!

1 package semi sweet chocolate chips (like Hershey's morsels)
Several peppermint candy canes crushed up ( if I use the small ones usually about 15 or so)
1 tbsp. canola oil                 

First put candy canes in a zip lock bag, sometimes I double the bag so no pieces fall out! Take a kitchen mallet and smash the candy canes into little bits. If you have children that like to help this would be a good job for them! Melt chocolate chips in microwave. Not too long or they will burn, just keep checking them periodically! Stir until smooth, add the crushed candy canes and the oil and mix together! On a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper spread the mixture out. You can play with how thick or thin you want it to be! Then put this in the fridge for a couple of hours to harden up! Remove from the fridge and break into different size pieces! Package as desired.

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Another last minute gift idea to make is a recipe for Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, a little salt and a little sweetness. Again these can be packaged up in cellophane bags and tied with a pretty gift tag too!

Chocolate Pretzels 015Chocolate Pretzels 023

Approximately 40 mini pretzel knots ( I like Old Dutch Brand)
1 pkg. white chocolate chips
1/2 pkg. pure dark chocolate chips
1 - 2 tsps. canola oil
Coloured sugar or sprinkles (optional)
Place wax paper on a baking sheet and set aside. In a small but deep glass mixing bowl pour in all of the white chocolate chips. Melt in microwave until smooth. Approx. 1- 2 minutes stirring every 30 seconds so it doesn't burn. Add 1 tsp. canola oil and stir. Begin to dip pretzels one at a time, shaking off excess chocolate and lay them on the wax paper lined baking sheet. Do this until you've used up all of the white chocolate mixture. (You may need to reheat chocolate, 30 seconds occasionally to keep runny) Place baking sheet in refrigerator for a few minutes to harden chocolate covered pretzels. Once hardened you can place them in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you'd like to decorate them do this before placing in airtight container. 

Here are a few of my latest creations for my store Designs by Shell