I cannot believe that Christmas is just days away! If you are like me, you have finished your last minute shopping but you still need to complete (or start!) your holiday baking. Baking is always the last thing on my checklist because one, I want it to be fresh for my guests, and (mostly) two–I generally don’t have time to spend during the week for baking! I have compiled four easy treat recipes fit for Santa’s Christmas plate that fit into my “last minute baking” time slot. These recipes are great for anyone short on time, or those who are not very comfortable baking!
Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods
I have always loved chocolate covered pretzels. The mix of salty and sweet is absolutely delicious and is a classic combo. Making chocolate covered pretzel rods is one of the easiest and quickest treats to make.
You will need:
Pretzel Rods (amount will vary depending on how many guests. I generally buy two bags of rods to account for breakage (and since I will nibble on some as I go!)
Chocolate Candy Melts- these are not chocolate/baking chips. I used milk chocolate and white chocolate for mine, but they also come in a variety of colors like green and red
Sprinkles to decorate
Wire cookie cooling rack, paper towel for under rack
Foiled lined baking sheet
Heat your chocolate candy melts per package instructions. Once your melts are melted, start dipping individual rods. I use a spoon to make sure the pretzels are coated evenly. Once they are dipped place cookies on wire rack to let excess chocolate drip off. Once the chocolate is tacky (not completely dry) you can add on your sprinkles! Make sure to transfer the pretzels from the rack to the foil-lined baking sheets before they cool completely. If you don’t, the chocolate will harden around the rod making it difficult to remove without breaking them. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet, then remove and keep at room temperature.
That’s it! Quick but yummy and festive! You can be as elaborate as you would like with your decorations. I have been known to add bacon bits to my milk chocolate rods, to add another layer to the sweet and salty combo. If you have more time, you can melt different color chocolates and drizzle them over your rods!
The second easy Christmas treat is a riff on your traditional Marshmallow Krispy Rice treats. Whether you call them Scotch-A-Roo’s or Choco-scotch bars, these little treats are addictive! My grandmother used to make these all the time and they have continued to be a family tradition!
You will need:
9″ x 13″ pan
6 cups crispy rice cereal (Kellog’s Rice Krispies or store brand)
4 tablespoons salted butter
1 16oz. bag mini marshmallows
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
Spray a 9″x 13″ pan with cooking spray
Although the normal recipe for marshmallow treats tells you to melt the butter over the stove, I utilize my microwave–after all we are trying to save time! In a microwave safe bowl, melt your butter. Add in your marshmallow and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each time until the marshmallows and butter have combined and marshmallows are smooth. Next, gradually stir in cereal until all is combined. I use a spatula that I continually spray with cooking spray to make it easier to stir. Once the ingredients are combined, spoon mixture into your prepared pan and squish it down until it is even. Next, melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between times, until melted. Pour choco-scotch mixture over marshmallow rice and spread to cover surface evenly. Add on sprinkles to make your treats more festive. Let the chocolate set at room temperature, then cut and serve!
The next recipe that is a Christmas tradition in my family is Christmas Crack! It is given such a “loving” name because this is another addictive sweet! It is slightly more time consuming than the other recipes but is totally worth it!
You will need:
Foil lined baking sheet (standard full size)
1 sleeve saltine crackers
1 cup salted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Optional toppings (chopped pecans, sprinkles, mini M&Ms, toffee morsels)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray
Place crackers on baking sheet in a single layer. Next, melt the brown sugar and butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil and stir constantly for three minutes, watching the mixture closely. Do not overcook the ingredients they will crystallize and you won’t be able to pour over the crackers. Pour melted sugar over crackers, be very careful as this mixture is extremely hot and will cause severe burns! Once your crackers are covered, bake them for 8 minutes. Once they are done baking, sprinkle chocolate chips on the top and let them melt. Once they have started to soften, use a spatula to spread chips into a smooth layer. You can leave your toffee like this or at this point you can add your toppings! Place your baking sheet in the fridge (or freezer if you are trying to speed up the process!) Once your crack is solid, gently break it into pieces. This is really cute as a gift for friends or neighbors when it is packaged in a cute holiday tin! If you do not have saltines you can substitute these for regular graham crackers, chocolate graham crackers, or Ritz crackers.
The final easy Christmas treat is the always popular delicious peanut butter and chocolate Buckeye! If you are a fan of Reese’s peanut butter cups, you will love these!
You will need:
1-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar. The dough will look crumbly and dry. Using your hands, roll dough into 1 inch balls and place them on wax paper lined baking sheet. Place a tooth-pick into each ball. (This makes them easier to dip later!) Chill the balls in the freezer for 30 minutes or until the balls are firm. While the balls are cooling, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds at time, stirring between each time. Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate using the toothpick as a holder. Leave a small bit of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like buckeyes. Once they are dipped, place the buckeyes back in the fridge and keep them in the fridge until it is time to serve. You can roll your buckeyes in sprinkles before the chocolate dries to make them more festive. Then enjoy!
These are just some of my quick and easy treats to get you through the holiday craze! Let me know if you attempt any of these recipes. What are some of your holiday treat traditions? Are you interested in more complex baking recipes?
XOXO, Cait B.