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Helping others is good for the soul―and your health. Here are five ways to reach out during the holidays and beyond.
1. Start simple. Offer to take your grandfather's car in for servicing. Help an office colleague wrap Christmas presents. Invite somebody over for dinner. Make a call to a long-lost family member or friend.
2. Extend your world. Talk to the folks who live on your block. In one Ann Arbor, Michigan, neighborhood, a resident took the initiative and created a computer directory, with photos and e-mail addresses, for 50 neighborhood families. You can also set up newsletters and regular block get-togethers.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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3. Combine personal and community interests. A singles club in Washington, D.C., plans all its events around volunteer activities. Hundreds may show up to lend a hand on a community project and meet new people. (For more local examples, check out the stories at www.bettertogether.org).
4. Go online. Match your interests and schedules with the needs of community groups in your area. VolunteerMatch (www.volunteermatch.org) will ask for your ZIP code so it can hook you up with one of the 45,000 nonprofit organizations it represents nationwide. The Points of Light Foundation (www.pointsoflight.org) maintains a similar national network.
5. Keep it going past the holidays. "Every year, organizations that serve food to the poor are overwhelmed by people who want to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas," says Beth Davis, who left an advertising career to work full-time with Denver's Metro Volunteers. To compensate for the seasonal bunching-up, Davis helps match volunteers with times and organizations that can use the help year-round. "These organizations only have so many slots they can fill during the holidays. But when they ask if people can come back to help in January, they don't get the response they need." If you're connected in March, June, and August, then chances are when Christmastime rolls around, you'll have plenty of new friends to celebrate with.
45 Homemade Holiday Food Gift Recipes
Not feeling crafty? Whip up something extra special for friends and family with our recipes for sweet or savory scratch-made treats.
Gift a Healthy Treat Wreath
Make your homemade gift stand out from the sweet pack this year by gifting an edible that doubles as a colorful holiday decoration. Clementines are a favorite seasonal snack that are doubly hard to resist when packaged as a colorful wreath.
Rum-Soaked Mini Bundt Cakes
The holidays are a time for indulging, right? And, what better way to indulge everyone's sweet tooth than with a moist mini cake that combines seasonal flavors &mdash with a boozy twist. One of our faves? These mini rum-soaked bundt cakes with a butter-rum glaze. Yum!
Snowman Chocolate Bark
Delicious, adorable and easy to whip up even for a big group of people, these sweet snowmen will delight everyone on your Christmas gift list.
Surprise Them With a Snowy Cottage
Seriously, how cute is this gingerbread house?! Our step-by-step instructions below and this quick video will show you how to turn a storebought gingerbread house kit into an entirely edible rustic retreat.
Easy Bourbon Balls
A holiday tradition, bourbon balls are a Christmas classic that combine the kick of bourbon with all the savory sweetness of nuts and chocolate. Give our recipe a try, then package them in colorful card stock cones for a pretty way to package up these sweet-meets-savory mini booze bombs.
Coffee Cupcakes To-Go
Bake coffee-flavored cupcakes in paper to-go cups then top with rich homemade frosting and dash of nutmeg, cinnamon or sprinkles for a morning pick-me-up lookalike that is sure to hit the spot any time of the day.
Monogrammed Shortbread Cookies
Part ornament, part personalized treat, this cookie is almost too pretty to eat &mdash which would be a real shame because our shortbread recipe can't be beat!
Cookie Cutter Peppermint Fudge
Cookie cutters aren't just great for baking, they also make cute containers for decadent fudge you can gift to friends, coworkers, neighbors or any sweet-tooth on your holiday gift list.
Christmas Ornament Cookie Pops
Festive and oh-so-tasty, these colorful ornament cookie pops are almost too pretty to eat -- almost! But, with a gooey chocolatey filling, we bet you'll want to give eating them a try.
Mulled Wine Jar
Jarred food kits are just as much fun to assemble as they are to receive. Delight a foodie on your gift list with one of our 3 gourmet gift jars.
Raspberry Mousse-Filled Chocolate Cookie Shots
A decadent treat for kids and adults alike, these mini cookie cups are a tasty mess-free container that can be filled with anything you'd like but we're partial to piping them full of our rich raspberry mousse.
Greeting Card Cookie
Homemade chocolate chip cookies are always a favorite goodie. Embellish CD tins with our free printable templates to turn this tasty treat into a clever holiday card.
A Sweet Snow Globe
Looking for a unique homemade food gift? Well, look no further! This sweet surprise is a Christmas decoration they can display, then devour!
Cranberry Pistachio Sablés
French for sand, sablé cookies are essentially shortbread with a signature toothy texture. This version ups the ante of a classically delicious shortbread with the addition of chewy cranberries and crunchy pistachios and the perfect balance of salty and sweet.
Glitzy, Tipsy Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Friends and family will flip for these decadent, dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries with a surprise: an inserted pipette is filled with champagne which slowly soaks into the strawberry to make them extra juicy (and boozy)!
Chocolate-Covered Peppermint Crispies
A year-round favorite treat gets a delicious update for the holidays. Add the flavors of chocolate and peppermint to crisp rice treats before packaging them as homemade gifts for family and friends.
Rugelach With Raisin-Walnut Filling
These classic Eastern European pastries are known for their crescent-roll shape, and can be filled with nuts, fruit preserves and spices before baking.
Hazelnut Hot Cocoa
Chocolatey hot cocoa knocks the chill off even the coldest of winter days. Share the warmth this holiday season by packaging the rich ingredients in a canning jar so the recipient can whip one up whenever they need a warm and creamy pick-me-up.
Cranberry Orange Linzer Cookies
Sweet and tart, these artful cookies combine two favorite seasonal flavors -- cranberry and orange --and are as pretty as they are yummy.
Ginger Date Chews
Chewy and not too sweet, dates are a foolproof cookie ingredient. These are so delicious that you'll want to bake several batches so you'll have plenty to give away without depriving your own cookie jar.
Peppermint Bark Chocolate Cookies
Honestly, who doesn't love a moist chocolate cookie? These are definitely moist and chocolatey but with the added kick of peppermint, they're a holiday treat that peppermint fans will gobble up.
Holiday Breakfast Kit
The holidays are a harried, stressful time for most of us. Give a friend a (delicious!) reason to relax with a cup of coffee or tea before hitting the malls for another marathon shopping day by boxing up homemade cinnamon biscuits and a flavorful spread.
Fluffy white chocolate mousse layered between light-as-air homemade meringues give this gorgeous dessert a dreamy texture. Hand-deliver this impressive treat to wow the foodies on your gift list.
Coffee and Caramel Pep-Corn
Give crunchy, sweet caramel corn a flavorful kick with the addition of espresso. Package the "pep-corn" in tubes covered with our free printable template for a one-of-a-kind homemade gift.
Maple Nut Toffee
Take the traditional taste of toffee up a notch with the addition of real maple syrup. Topped with a layer of semisweet chocolate, this toffee is so irresistible that you'll want to box it up as gifts quickly before you're tempted to keep it all for yourself.
Tangy Citrus Marmalade
Marmalade is surprisingly simple to make and, canned in pretty jars, it's a holiday gift they'll enjoy for many months to come. Pair your homemade marmalade with a basket of freshly baked croissants or scones for a treat they'll never forget.
Walnut-Rosemary Olive Bread Recipe
Everyone will love this simple yeast bread that's studded with olives, walnuts and fresh rosemary. Once the loaves have cooled, slide them into a paper bag embellished with a stamped tag.
Lemon-Filled Honey Shortbread
These honey cookies are no ordinary shortbread. They have all the makings of a classic shortbread, but include a textural bite from the corn meal and subtle sweetness of honey. The tart tang of the lemon curd adds a refreshing finish.
Gooey Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Delight chocoholics on your gift list with these soft-centered cookies that are a snap to bake.
Salted Caramel Bars
With a crumbly crust topped by rich, gooey caramel, these sweet-meets-salty treats are destined to become a comfort-food favorite.
Homemade Baked Churros
Treat health-conscious friends to this baked version of the typically fattening (but oh-so-yummy!) Spanish pastry.
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies
For many people, classic oatmeal cookies are a nostalgic treat. For holiday gift-giving, try our recipe for a thick, hearty cookie that pairs the clean taste of citrus with chewy dried cranberries.
Simple Homemade Fudge
With just 5 ingredients and 5 steps, this decadent fudge is a snap to make -- and so irresistible that friends and family will ask for more.
Lemon Lavender Pound Cake
Lemon and lavender taste divine together and the sweet, tart icing adds a wonderful finishing touch. This cake is moist and totally fork-worthy. Make it anytime or save its tangy sweetness for special occasions.
Chocolate-Dipped Kettle Chips
Coat super-crunchy, salty kettle-fried potato chips with semisweet chocolate and a thin layer of caramel and chopped nuts to create a sweet-meets-salty snack that satisfies all your cravings at once.
Coconut Hot Chocolate Spoons
Gift friends with a colorful coffee mug and silver teaspoon they just swirl in hot milk to create a delicious homemade hot chocolate. Our free printable tag adds the perfect finishing touch.
Herb-Infused Olive Oil
Make your own flavor-infused oils and package in vintage bottles for a personalized gift aspiring chefs will appreciate.
White Chocolate Truffles
Surprise friends and family with a box-full of these decadent little mouthfuls they'll think you spent hours slaving away but they're actually easy to make.
Ale Pretzel Caramels
Brown or pale ale lends these caramels a complex flavor while salty pretzels add just the right amount of crunch.
Mincemeat Thumbprint Cookies
Mincemeat -- which, don't worry, doesn't actually contain meat -- is a centuries-old holiday favorite. Made with a variety of diced fruits, the flavor is complex and spicy. Surrounded by a rich, crumbly cookie, these little goodies are a perfectly balanced, not-too-sweet treat.
Pear and Fig Tart in a Jar
These fruit-and-cream tarts are simple enough for novice chefs to make, thanks to a pie crust shortcut. Individually portioned in clear glass jars, they're just the right size for holiday gift-giving.
Friends and family will flip for these crunchy, chocolatey cookies filled with rich mascarpone cream and then rolled in mini chocolate chips. The mascarpone cheese makes these cookies unsuitable for shipping they're best for treating guests in your home or for local delivery.
How to Give Back on Giving Tuesday and During the Holidays
This time of year, there’s a lot of spending going on—it seems as soon as the Halloween costumes are barely put away athat the frenzy of holiday consumerism is upon us. Of course, there’s Black Friday, when megastores and malls around the country break out their craziest deals and shoppers line up for hours in the cold night to take advantage of sunrise deals.
Over the past decade or so, other shopping occasions have been tacked onto the post-Thanksgiving weekend: Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and, more recently, Giving Tuesday. While we’re not opposed to bargain hunting or great online savings, Giving Tuesday is the day that’s most important to us.
Giving Tuesday launched in 2012 as an initiative begun by the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the United Nations Foundation. The day, focused on charitable giving, is positioned as a response to the nonstop commercialization at the start of the holiday shopping season.
Although we understand that people have been asked to dig deep into their pockets throughout the year to help with natural disaster relief efforts, wildfires and the growing list of local and global causes that matter to them, we want to remind you to give locally as well. Just as you try to boost the local economy by shopping at the farmers market and supporting independent retailers, please remember your neighbors in need right here in Chester County with a Giving Tuesday donation to Chester County Food Bank on Tuesday, December 3.
At the CCFB, we can turn every dollar given into four dollars’ worth of healthy food. By leveraging our buying power, working with markets and local organizations to rescue food and communicating with our network of farm partners to glean excess crops, we are able to really stretch out our supporters’ generous monetary donations. We use these donations—and the food we can buy with them—to further our many initiatives and programs that combat food insecurity in our communities.
Every year, we notice a cultural switch around charitable giving. Thanksgiving is all about food, but as we turn the corner toward Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, many people begin to donate toys (to other organizations). Gifts for children are important, but hunger never takes a break, especially in the winter, when colder weather often drives up families’ expenses with higher heating bills. As we so often say, hunger lives closer than you think. Though Chester County is home to many middle- and upper middle-class families, many of our neighbors are working families just barely scraping by. In fact, 27 percent of households in Chester County struggle to make ends meet, and the added financial pressures around the holiday can exacerbate the problem.
Anne Shuniak, CCFB’s marketing and communications manager, reminds us that it’s not just the holidays we’re preparing for. “We’re stocking our shelves for winter days ahead too,” she said. “We’re trying to bring in as much as we can during this time, because it’s always the trend that things slow down in the New Year after the holiday season has passed.”
So as you gear up for holiday giving, consider a monetary donation—our online giving platform includes an easy way to make a tribute gift in a loved one’s honor or memory, and we’ll even send someone a card via email letting them know of your generous gift. What a cool idea for a unique hostess gift, or for a meaningful gesture instead of a physical gift! You can also designate CCFB as your preferred charity on Amazon Smile, and give back while shopping for all the friends and family on your holiday list!
If you’d like to make a food donation, we’re currently most in need of pantry staples like pasta, rice, hearty soups, and canned chicken and tuna. We do accept holiday-specific items, like turkeys, hams and instant potatoes, but its the pantry staples that really help local families put together those day-to-day meals that are just as important (nutritionally) as big holiday feasts. Food donations can be dropped off at our facility in Exton Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Please bring food donations to our warehouse loading dock entrance, where you can pull directly in and will be assisted unloading your vehicle. Note that we will be close at noon on December 23rd and remain closed through January 1, 2020. We will return to the office at 8 a.m. on Thursday, January 2, 2020.
Thank you for your support and generosity all year long, and for considering us as your focus on Giving Tuesday and the 2019 holiday season!
Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate food, funds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or requesting a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.
The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We take a steadfast approach to provide food and build support in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among our community.
Photos, top to bottom: Pexels Chester County Food Bank Ed Williams Pexels
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Friendsgiving Casserole Recipe
Friendsgiving Casserole is one of my kid’s favorite dishes and a go-to of mine when I want to take dinner to a new mother or a family who could use a hot meal—mostly because it’s easy to love, even for the pickiest eaters. The chicken is mild in flavor, yet completely satisfying. A lot of the traditional recipes will serve the chicken on a bed of rice or with a ritz or stuffing-like topping. I prefer to crumble a loaf of French bread and bake it right on top, because it never fails to meld oh-so-perfectly with the creamy sauce—which makes it that much easier for a bread-dipping connoisseur like me to get a taste of the good stuff! I like to serve this dish over mashed potatoes and with a side of Holiday Cranberry Sauce.
From Magnolia Table, Volume 2
Prep: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
1 baguette torn into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1/2 cup minced celery
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups heavy (whipping) cream
5 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (home-roasted or rotisserie chicken)
1 cup sour cream
2 cups chicken broth
Freshly cracked black pepper, for serving
3 green onions, minced (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Holiday Cranberry Sauce (recipe follows), for serving
1. Lay the torn bread on a sheet pan and place it in a warm oven until dried out, 1 hour on low heat.
2. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté until tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and flour and cook, whisking constantly, until fragrant but not burned, about 1 minute. Add the garlic salt, salt, and pepper and slowly pour in the cream. Cook, whisking often, until just at a simmer, about 5 minutes.
5. Spread the chicken in a 9 × 13-inch baking dish and spread the sour cream on top. Pour the cream sauce evenly on top and sprinkle on the bread cubes. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, mix it with the chicken broth, and pour it over the casserole, coating the bread well.
6. Bake, uncovered, until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Broil the last 3 or 4 minutes for a good toasty top. Top with freshly cracked pepper and a sprinkle of minced green onions and parsley, if desired.
7. Scoop out the casserole to serve with mashed potatoes, green beans, and cranberry sauce on the side.
8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
Holiday Cranberry Sauce
From Magnolia Table Volume 2
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Cool: 2 hours 30 minutes
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, orange juice, sugar, cinnamon stick, and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until thickened and bubbly, about 10 minutes.
2. Let cool, then refrigerate. Serve chilled. 3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
8 Must-Try Friendsgiving Recipes for Your Holiday Gathering
Friendsgiving is here! It’s that time of year where you gather your closest friends (or fr-amily) around the table to eat, drink and give thanks for each other. What better way to celebrate some of the most important people in your life than with a meal that will leave everyone’s bellies – and hearts – happy.
But, you’re not going to just do a repeat of Thanksgiving. Friendsgiving is your chance to try out that new recipe you’ve been stalking online and bring a dish that everyone will still be talking about when you get together again for New Years. So make that vegan dish your uncle would never try and ditch the traditional sides and appetizers for more Instagram-worthy recipes.
A few of our influencer partners shared their go-to Friendsgiving recipes with us – all made with ALDI ingredients – for a beautiful and easy Friendsgiving spread. These recipes feature fresh, high-quality ingredients that celebrate the fall season including pumpkin, squash, pecans, cranberries and more.
What Friendsgiving recipes will you be making this year? Let us know in the comments below!
6 Canadian cookbooks perfect for holiday gift giving
If there was ever a year to get into cooking at home, it was 2020.
Whether you wanted to become a bread connoisseur or you attempted to make your own sushi at home, most of us had ample time to get busy in the kitchen and explore some dishes that may have been outside of our comfort zones before.
This, to us, is a silver lining of 2020, the year things heated up, and we all got cookin’!
So, what better way to carry this can-do attitude into 2021 than by gifting or receiving a new cookbook full of fresh-to-death recipes to try?
We’ve compiled a list of some top-notch culinary reads that we think are worth gifting to your loved ones (or yourself) in order to keep the good vibes and deliciousness baking, frying, and boiling well into the future.
Here are six cookbooks perfect for holiday gift-giving this year.
Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery
Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery
Chef Matty Matheson has had a big year. In addition to recently launching his new Toronto burger joint, the Ontario-born chef released a follow up to his New York Times bestseller. Home Style Cookery is all about the magic of making things at, well, home. From basic staples like focaccia to bread and butter pickles to absolute show-stoppers (Hard Smoked Merguez Sausage and Polenta, anyone), Matheson’s new book is well worth buying considering the wide array and impressive amount of recipes inside of it.
Amy Ho: Blooms and Baking
Amy Ho is known in the Canadian baking scene for her incredible sweet treats and sugary delights (seriously, she’s amazing). The Vancouver influencer and baker came out with her first book of recipes this year, Blooms and Baking. The book offers readers recipes for vibrant goodies like Jasmine and Honey Éclairs and Orange Blossom Ganache, to name a few, alongside step-by-step photos of how to make your creations picture-perfect. Earlier this year Ho shared her essential baking tips for new bakers with Dished, check them out ahead of attempting her recipes.
Jenell Parsons: You Wanna Piece of Me?
If there’s anyone that knows pies, it’s Jenell Parsons. If you don’t recognize this pie aficionado from her celebrated family of shops, The Pie Hole in Vancouver, BC, then maybe you’ve seen her alongside the mayor of Flavourtown, Guy Fieri himself, on a recent episode of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Soon, regardless of where you live, you can get a taste of The Pie Hole’s epic offerings via You Wanna Piece of Me? and there are a whopping 100+ pie recipes in this book for you to tackle. While it’s not out just yet, you can pre-order this ahead of its release on November 17.
Kelsey Siemens: The Farmer’s Daughter Bakes
The Farmer’s Daughter Bakes
Kelsey Siemens has taken her blog, The Farmer’s Daughter, and created a book for treat lovers to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. Siemens’ farmhouse kitchen creations like apple crisp cheesecake with salted caramel (drool) and sour cream-cardamom cake donuts are inspired by her family’s stunning Abbotsford, BC, farm.
Angus An: Maenam
Discover Thai cuisine as you’ve never seen it before with award-winning Chef Angus An and his new cookbook, Maenam. This book’s title is also the name of his popular restaurant located in Vancouver, BC (which also happens to be a favourite of A-lister Kate Winslet when she’s in town). An has included over 100 of his signature recipes for home cooks of all skill levels who are hungry to whip up some vibrant, flavourful meals like stir-fries, soups, curries, snacks, and desserts too.
Angela Liddon: Oh She Glows for Dinner
She’s baaack. Earlier this year New York Times best-selling author Angela Liddon released a third installment of the popular plant-based cookbook series Oh She Glows, this time with a focus on dinner and lunch-friendly vegan eats. The crowd-pleasing recipes in this book come complete with detailed dietary and cooking labels, simple ingredient lists, and storage and reheating instructions. Oh She Glows for Dinner offers everything from meal-worthy salads to hearty soups and stews.
Fudge Recipes For Gift Giving
The versatility of fudge recipes make it ideal to make and give as food gifts. In addition, since you can make many varieties quickly and easily, you can create a flavor (or two!) and gift them any time of the year.
Chocolate chips and caramel bits are mixed together and topped with toasted coconut for an out-of-this-world Samoa Fudge. Get more Samoa-inspired recipes!
The Flavors Of The Holiday Season
It’s your favorite holiday drink in fudge form. Does it get any better than that? I don’t think so!
Cookies and Cream Delight
A simple Oreo fudge recipe that’s so dreamy and creamy that no one can resist it. It’s a perfect no-bake recipe for any time of the year and makes a terrific DIY gift idea!
Easy Turtle Cheesecake Fudge
I’m telling y’all… this Turtle Cheesecake Fudge is heaven on earth. Make sure you give it as a gift because you will not. stop. eating. it.
Cotton Candy, Please
Here’s a recipe for fudge that’s a big hit with kids. And since I love cotton candy-flavored things, too, I can’t wait to try this one!
Calling all Harry Potter fans! If you like the sweet, creamy, butterscotch flavor of butterbeer you will love this fudge! It’s the perfect gift for any serious Harry Potter fan – or anyone who loves butterscotch.
Orange Swirl Fudge
This fudge recipe is a family favorite! My sister-in-law makes a variation of this every Christmas, and I can assure you, there’s none left when she leaves.
Nothing Is Better Than Cake Batter
Get the flavor of a birthday cake in bite-sized pieces with yummy Cake Batter Fudge. Don’t forget the sprinkles, of course!
White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Fudge Recipe
Fall brings pumpkin spice everything! And this White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Fudge will definitely satisfy your pumpkin spice craving.
Made with real pumpkin, a graham cracker crust, and is topped with a white chocolate drizzle – perfection!
White Chocolate & Peppermint
Nothing says Christmas like peppermint, and this White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge really hits the spot with its minty flavor and cookie crust. Yum. Plus, it’s super easy to make – just as fudge should be!
Two-Ingredient Caramel Apple Fudge
You only need TWO ingredients to make this super simple Caramel Apple Fudge recipe. What a quick and easy food gift idea for your neighbors!
Make Your Tastebuds Dance With Blueberry and Lemon
This recipe is amazing. Blueberries and lemon were just meant to go together, right? The secret to this super soft Blueberry & Lemon Fudge is creamed coconut!
Gooey Coconut Pecan Perfection
German Chocolate Fudge is sinfully chocolatey and delicious. It’s truly a decadent fudge, so a little goes a long way. This is a crowd-pleaser.
Cookie Dough for the Win!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge is just as good as eating cookie dough straight from the bowl. It’s a hit with everyone, and this is one fudge that is meant to be eaten all year long!
A Different Take on Cookie Dough Fudge
Here’s a different way to make cookie dough fudge – with chunks of cookie dough all throughout! Santa would love a belly full of this Milk and Cookies Fudge. Why not put out a plate of these for him on Christmas Eve?
Old-Fashioned Candy Fudge Recipe
This Butter Pecan Fudge is an old-fashioned holiday treat that young and old alike enjoy. This fudge recipe gives you a taste of making fudge candy without the marshmallow fluff.
Chocolate Turtle Candy
Chocolate Pecan Turtle Fudge contains all your favorite things… chocolate, caramel, and nuts. It’s like eating those pecan turtles in fudge form. You really can’t go wrong!
Bright Lemon Sweet Spot
Lemon Fudge is another 2-ingredient fudge recipe that you have to add to your holiday candy making list. But don’t just make it around the holidays… It’s perfect in spring and summer, too!
A Match Made in Heaven: Peanut Butter and Chocolate
Nothing goes better together than peanut butter and chocolate, so this easy Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Fudge is a recipe made in heaven.
Mix Candy Into Your Fudge Recipes
Take your favorite fudge recipe, add your favorite candy bars, and you have a winner like this Homemade Twix Fudge (Twix just might be my favorite candy!).
Have you noticed a caramel theme in a lot of these? Caramel is just… perfection. And Jersey Caramel Fudge packs a lot of caramel into each chewy bite.
To test boiled potatoes for doneness, use a skewer or the tines of a fork rather than the tip of a knife so you know they’re truly tender (a knife slides through the flesh way too easily). To test boiled eggs for doneness—wait, you can’t! Just make sure the eggs are room temperature when you drop them in the water (otherwise they’re prone to cracking), set a timer right away, and have an ice bath at the ready.
That three-ingredient sauce can go on anything. Double batch = necessary.
50 Edible Gifts
1. Chocolate Fudge Melt 1/2 stick butter, 4 cups marshmallows, 1 cup cream, 2 cups sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Simmer, stirring, 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 3 cups chocolate chips until smooth. Spread in a foil-lined 9-by-13-inch pan. Let cool and cut into squares.
2. White Chocolate Fudge Make Chocolate Fudge (No. 1), replacing the chocolate chips with white chocolate chips. Spread in the prepared pan and top with sprinkles. Let cool cut into squares.
3. Peanut Butter Fudge Melt 2 sticks butter in a saucepan with 1 cup creamy peanut butter. Off the heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and a sifted 1-pound box confectioners’ sugar. Spread in a foil-lined 8-inch-square pan. Press 1/2 cup chopped peanuts on top. Chill until firm and cut into squares.
4. Chocolate Truffles Bring 1 cup cream and 1/2 stick butter to a boil in a saucepan pour over 1 pound finely chopped chocolate in a bowl. When melted, add 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir until smooth. Chill until firm. Scoop with a spoon and roll into balls, then roll in crushed peppermint candies, chopped nuts or cocoa powder. Chill.
5. Earl Grey Truffles Make Chocolate Truffles (No. 4), steeping 1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves in the hot cream mixture, 5 minutes. Strain, then pour over the chocolate. Roll the truffles in cocoa powder.
6. Mexican Truffles Make Chocolate Truffles (No. 4) without the vanilla stir 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon each ancho chile powder and almond extract, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper into the melted chocolate. Roll the truffles in chopped toasted almonds.
7. Coconut-Almond Truffles Combine 3/4 cup almond butter, 1/2 cup each confectioners’ sugar and unsweetened shredded coconut, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla work into a dough. Roll into balls, then roll in shredded coconut. Chill.
8. Pistachio-Cherry Buttons Melt 1/2 cup white chocolate chips with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave. Spoon onto an oiled parchment paper–lined baking sheet to form circles. Let cool slightly, then top with pistachios and dried cherries. Let harden.
9. Chocolate-Raspberry Sauce Simmer 1 cup water, 1/2 cup each sugar and cocoa powder, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the chocolate melts. Let cool, then stir in 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur. Divide among jars and chill.
10. Chocolate Haystacks Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in the microwave. Stir in 2 1/2 cups chow mein noodles until coated. Drop spoonfuls on an oiled parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Let harden.
11. Candied Grapefruit Peels Peel 2 grapefruits. Cut the rind into strips and boil in water 1 minute, then drain repeat 4 times, using fresh water each time. Simmer 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Add the peel and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to dry, 8 hours. Toss in sugar.
12. Chocolate Orange Peels Peel 3 oranges. Cut the rind into strips and boil in water 15 minutes, then drain and rinse. Simmer 3 cups each sugar and water. Add the peel and cook until soft, 45 minutes. Drain and toss in sugar. Transfer to a rack to dry, 8 hours. Dip in melted bittersweet chocolate let harden.
13. Crystallized Ginger Cover 1 pound sliced peeled ginger with water and simmer until tender, 45 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain. Simmer the reserved cooking liquid, the ginger and 1 1/2 cups sugar, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the ginger in the sugar left in the pan. Transfer to a rack to cool.
14. Strawberry Jellies Puree 2 pounds thawed frozen strawberries strain through a sieve into a wide saucepan. Stir in 2 cups sugar and boil, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reaches 223 degrees F, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 5 tablespoons liquid pectin. Pour into a foil-lined 8-inch-square pan and chill until firm. Cut into squares toss in sugar.
15. Peach Jellies Make Strawberry Jellies (No. 14), replacing the berries with thawed frozen peaches.
16. Kiwi Jellies Make Strawberry Jellies (No. 14), replacing the berries with 2 1/2 pounds peeled kiwis and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
17. Chocolate Fruit Jellies Melt 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave. Dip Strawberry, Peach or Kiwi Jellies (Nos. 14, 15 or 16) in the melted chocolate. Chill until firm.
18. Cocoa Almonds Melt 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave. Dip toasted almonds in the melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to a foil-lined pan. When just firm, roll in cocoa powder.
19. Chocolate Pecan Caramel Clusters Arrange small clusters of pecans on a baking sheet. Melt unwrapped soft caramels in the microwave and drizzle over each cluster. Top with melted chocolate. Let harden.
20. Chocolate Coins Melt 8 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave. Spread teaspoonfuls in circles on a foil-lined baking sheet. Decorate with silver or white nonpareils. Chill until firm. Wrap in gold foil.
21. Sugar Plums Finely chop 1 1/4 cups toasted almonds in a food processor with 1 1/2 cups each prunes and dried apricots, 3 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Roll into balls, then roll in coarse sugar.
22. Spiced Rum Balls Mix 3 3/4 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies, 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 3/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Stir in 3 tablespoons light corn syrup and 1/3 cup each brandy and rum. Roll into balls and chill until firm. Roll in confectioners’ sugar.
23. Nutty Cookie Balls Mix 3 cups crushed butter cookies, 1 cup each finely chopped salted mixed nuts and sweetened condensed milk, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll into balls, then roll in crushed butter cookies.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Crunch Balls
24. Chocolate-Hazelnut Crunch Balls Mix 3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts, 1 cup crisp rice cereal and 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread. Roll into balls, then roll in confectioners’ sugar.
25. Minty Marshmallows Drizzle marshmallows with melted chocolate and press in crushed peppermint candies. Chill until firm. Float in a cup of hot cocoa.
26. Cinnamon Marshmallows Drizzle marshmallows with melted chocolate and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Chill until firm. Float in a cup of hot cocoa.
27. Pumpkin Seed Candy Cook 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a skillet over medium-high heat, swirling the pan but not stirring, until dark amber, about 7 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 1/2 pounds toasted hulled pumpkin seeds. Using an oiled spoon, scoop and spread into circles on an oiled parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Let cool.
28. Sesame Seed Candy Make Pumpkin Seed Candy (No. 27), replacing the pumpkin seeds with toasted sesame seeds.
29. Salted Caramel Sauce Simmer 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling the pan but not stirring, until dark amber, about 12 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in 1 cup cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Let cool, then divide among jars and chill.
30. Chocolate Caramels Line an 8-inch-square pan with foil and brush with oil. Melt 2 sticks butter in a saucepan, then add 2 cups sugar, 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup, a 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reaches 248 degrees F, about 15 minutes. Pour into the prepared pan and cool. Cut into squares.
Sea Salt Chocolate Caramels
31. Sea Salt Chocolate Caramels Make Chocolate Caramels (No. 30). Sprinkle with sea salt while still warm.
32. Nut Clusters Cook 1 1/2 cups sugar over medium heat, swirling the pan but not stirring, until dark amber, about 10 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 3 cups salted mixed nuts. Pour onto an oiled baking sheet separate into clusters. Let harden.
33. Nut Brittle Microwave 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup and 1 1/2 cups salted mixed nuts until the syrup is golden, about 8 minutes, stirring twice. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon each vanilla and baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Spread on an oiled baking sheet and let cool. Break into pieces.
34. Maple Walnuts Spread 1 pound toasted walnuts on an oiled baking sheet. Heat 1 3/4 cups maple syrup in a saucepan over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees F, about 15 minutes pour over the nuts and stir to coat. Bake at 350 degrees F, 5 minutes, then separate the nuts. Let cool.
35. Almond Nougat Microwave 1 cup each sugar and honey in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup until a candy thermometer reaches 290 degrees F, 10 to 15 minutes. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 2 egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. With the motor running, drizzle in the hot honey mixture and beat until thick, 8 minutes. On low speed, add 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 2 1/2 cups almonds. Transfer to an oiled, parchment paper-lined baking sheet flatten to 1 inch thick with a rolling pin. Cool 2 hours, then cut into squares.
36. Pistachio Nougat Make Almond Nougat (No. 35), replacing the almonds with pistachios and adding 2 teaspoons orange zest with the nuts.
37. Honeycomb Candy Boil 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup each water and light corn syrup in a saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees F, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon baking soda and pour quickly onto an oiled rimmed baking sheet (do not spread). Let harden, then break into pieces. Melt 8 ounces chopped milk chocolate with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave dip the candy in the chocolate. Let set.
38. Butterscotch Candies Boil 2 cups water, 1 1/2 cups each granulated and brown sugar, 1 1/2 sticks butter, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 270 degrees F (this could take up to 40 minutes). Remove from the heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and pour into a parchment paper–lined 8-inch-square pan. Let cool slightly, then cut into squares and let cool completely.
39. Saltine Toffee Lay 16 saltine crackers in a foil-lined 8-inch-square pan. Boil 1 stick butter and 1/4 cup each granulated and brown sugar, stirring, 3 minutes pour over the crackers. Bake at 375 degrees F, 5 minutes. Top with 1 cup milk chocolate chips bake 1 more minute, then spread the chocolate evenly. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Chill, then cut into squares.
40. Cheesecake Bites Line 36 mini-muffin cups with paper liners. Mix 3/4 cup finely crushed graham crackers, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons melted butter press into the liners and chill until firm. Blend 8 ounces cream cheese, 1/4 cup each sour cream and confectioners’ sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon each vanilla and lemon zest fold in 1/2 cup whipped cream. Pipe or spoon into the crusts chill 1 hour. Top with cherry or plum jam.
41. Frangipane Bites Line two 24-cup mini-muffin pans with paper liners. Combine 1 stick softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs and 1/3 cup each almond paste and cake flour in a food processor blend until smooth. Divide among the liners, filling one-third of the way. Press a dried fig or prune into each one and sprinkle with sliced almonds and coarse sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
42. Vanilla Apricots Bring 3 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups water, 3 strips lemon zest and 1 split vanilla bean to a simmer, stirring. Add 3 cups dried apricots cook 10 minutes. Let cool, then divide among jars.
43. Double-Dipped Strawberries Separately melt 1 cup each semisweet and white chocolate chips. Dip 12 long-stemmed strawberries in one chocolate, then in the other. Chill until firm.
44. Peppermint Stars Beat 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, 1 1/2 tablespoons softened butter, 2 teaspoons milk and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract until smooth. Chill 30 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and roll out until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into stars and freeze until hard. Melt 8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate with 2 teaspoons shortening in the microwave let cool to room temperature. Dip the stars in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with nonpareils, if desired. Chill until set.
45. Frosted Candy Canes Melt 1 cup white chocolate chips with 4 teaspoons shortening in the microwave. Dip candy canes in the melted white chocolate, let cool slightly on oiled parchment paper, then roll in colored nonpareils or sprinkles. Let harden.
Homemade Christmas trail mix is the perfect stocking stuffer, teacher gift, mailman gift, or family gift. Trail mix recipes vary in specific ingredients, but generally they contain cereal, nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, and at times, small candies like M&M's or Heath Bits.
It's easy to make up large batches of trail mix at one time, which means you can make plenty for everyone on your list in one day. It's much easier than baking and is a nice switch from the traditional cookies and fruitcake.
Package your homemade trail mix in tins, cellophane bags, or small paint cans for an interesting and fun presentation. Add a small card with all of the ingredients listed, just in case you're not sure about potential allergies.
Homemade Christmas Trail Mix Recipes
Christmas Tree Trail Mix
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with sides. Also, grease the sides of a large bowl. Set aside.
1 cup dried cranberries
Pop the popcorn according to the directions. Mix the toasted walnuts and popcorn together in the prepared bowl.
In a saucepan, combine the syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Set to medium heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil and let it cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the baking soda and blend well (the mixture should have a creamy consistency).
Let the mixture cool slightly and then pour it all over the popcorn and nuts. Make sure the popcorn and nuts are thoroughly covered.
Turn everything out onto the prepared cookie sheet and distribute evenly. Bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit or until the mix is 'dry'. Cool for 20 minutes. Add the cranberries last.
Christmas Party Trail Mix
Yogurt covered raisins or pretzels
Peanuts, walnuts, or your favorite nut
Dried oranges, cranberries, or apricots
Toss all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Take the entire bowl to the office Christmas party or divide it up into smaller containers to give as gifts to family and friends. Easy and delicious!
Holiday Snack Mix
M&M's, Heath Bits, or your choice of small candy
Dried fruit - apples, bananas, apricots, cranberries, etc.
Chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or white chips
Toss the ingredients together and then divide into mason jars, tins, coffee can, or any other interesting container idea that comes to you.
Packaging Your Presents
Keep an eye out all year at garage sales, dollar stores and sales at World Market to find interesting containers and canning jars to store and gift your recipes. Add a bow or ribbon and the recipe and I'm sure the recipients will appreciate such an attractive and tasty gift.
Trail mix is so easy to make at home! The colors and textures are fantastic from a presentation standpoint too. Try different methods and ingredients in your trail mix and maybe you'll come up with your very own version of homemade Christmas trail mix. Serve it at family functions, give as gifts, or munch on it while you make your homemade Christmas cards. No matter how you serve it, trail mix is the perfect gift.
Shellie Gardner is the owner of Christmas Light source, a great place to find Christmas Lights. Christmas Light Source is a one stop shopping website for all your Christmas lighting needs. From traditional to LED lights to hardware and every thing in between, they have everything for holiday lighting decor as well as tips, tricks, videos and do it yourself projects.