Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Inexpensive and Simple Sweet Treats

Here are a few ideas to make treats inexpensively and simply. They would be appropriate for Christmas stocking stuffers or a gift basket of treats any time.

Chocolate covered marshmallows. 

One bag of miniature marshmallows or marshmallows of your choice.
One chocolate bar
A sheet of waxed paper

Really, that's it. Using a small pan, melt the chocolate over low heat. Drop marshmallows into it and turn them to be sure they're completely covered, then remove them with a toothpick and let them cool on waxed paper.

When they're completely cool, store them in a glass jar or package a few in plastic wrap for stocking basket stuffers.

Rock Candy

Rock candy is crystallized sugar. Make it ahead of time because it takes awhile to crystallize properly and making it is NOT a science, so you might have to try a couple of times. Basically, water is super saturated with sugar and allowed to evaporate so that the sugar forms a few large crystals instead of thousands of small ones.

A simple recipe is 1 cup water and 2 cups of sugar. Bring the water to a boil and stir the sugar into it until it's completely dissolved. Now's the time to add color if you like.

Pour the mixture into a clean jar and balance a pencil across the top of it. Tie one or two strings from the pencil and position so that they hang into the sugar mixture. When it cools somewhat, cover with plastic wrap or foil and put it in a place where it won't be disturbed.

It takes upwards of a week for the crystals to form - and if they simply won't form on your string, look in the jar... they could be clinging to the sides of it instead. As I said, it's not a science.

Chocolate Covered Citrus Peels

Save the peels from oranges, lemons or other citrus fruits, cut into strips and candy them. This done simply by making a simple sugar syrup: 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. Bring it to a boil and add the peels. Cook until the peels are soft, about 45 minutes, then remove and cool, being sure to separate them  so they don't stick together.

Melt a bar of chocolate over low heat and drop the peels into it one by one. Fish them out with a fork and let them cool on wax paper.

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