5 Homemade Candy Recipes Ideal for Holiday Gifting

It’s the holiday season and that means it’s time to determine what you can possibly buy for your neighbors, friends, relatives, coworkers, and kids’ teachers. There are few things you can count on everyone enjoying as Christmas gifts, but one of them is homemade candy, because it doesn’t get much sweeter than that. Toffee, fudge, brittle, and bark are delicacies that no one can resist, and they make the perfect presents. Bundle your homemade treats up in pretty packaging and bake in bulk. You can ship these candies out to everyone, and have your Christmas present list checked off in no time. Here are 5 homemade holiday candy recipes to choose from. Get your candy thermometer and your sweet tooth ready.

1. Easy Homemade Toffee

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

First up is a homemade toffee recipe from Damn Delicious. This candy recipe is dangerously easy and will make your Christmas gifting a breeze this season. Many toffee recipes require candy thermometers, but this formula is gadget and fuss-free. Make this toffee, let it cool, and then package it up to be sent off immediately or else your elves might eat your gifts before they get shipped.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½  cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup pecans, chopped

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread almonds in an even layer on baking sheet. Place in oven and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until butter is melted and mixture is almond brown in color, about 7 to 10 minutes. Immediately spread hot mixture over the almonds. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. After 1 to 2 minutes, spread the chocolate chips in an even layer until smooth. Sprinkle with pecans.

Let cool immediately — about 2 hours.

2. Golden Cashew Curry Brittle

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Here’s one homemade candy recipe from Bon Appétit that you should make for your loved ones with sophisticated palates. Don’t knock it until you try it — you’ll be surprised by how well these flavors blend together. This brittle recipe yields a crisp candy that is perfectly spiced. The curry powder takes your typical brittle up a notch, and as we’ve seen time and time again, sugar and spice is always nice.

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup cashews
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a silicone baking mat or parchment paper with nonstick spray. Toast cashews on an unlined rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until just beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool.

Bring sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan fitted with a thermometer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally (do not stir; doing so could encourage the sugar to crystallize), until thermometer registers 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Add salt, curry powder, and cashews and stir, making sure cashews are completely coated and spices are evenly combined. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thermometer registers 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and carefully stir in butter and baking soda; caramel will bubble and foam.

Immediately pour mixture onto prepared baking mat and let cool slightly. Wearing gloves (the mixture will be hot), lift up an edge of baking mat and use it to fold mixture onto itself as if you were going to knead it; continue working in this fashion 1 minute. As soon as mixture begins to firm up, stretch out, making it thin in places, but keeping it in one piece. Let cool, then break brittle into uneven pieces.

3. Christmas Bark

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Dessert

Source: iStock

Christmas Bark — the 3-ingredient wonder. This treat from Taste of Home is too good to be true. Just chocolate chips, vegetable oil, and chocolately add-ins of your choosing are necessary to yield the perfect treat for all your loved ones this holiday season. Making 20 to 24 servings, this bark will feed more than enough, and will alleviate your gift-gifting stress in all of 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package white or milk chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1¼ – 1½ cups mini M&Ms, pretzels, sprinkles

DirectionsIn a heavy saucepan or microwave, melt chips with oil; stir until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in M&M’s or pretzels. Spread onto a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator; break into pieces. Store in an airtight container. Yield: About 1 pound.

4. Christmas Fudge Pops

Christmas tree cookie cutter, dough

Source: iStock

Fudge pops are next — get ready to deliver your seasonal treat on a stick. This recipe come from Betty Crocker is utensil and mess-free, and it can be delivered to elves of all ages. No one can resist this sugary sweet, and luckily for them, it even helps facilitate portion-control. The main ingredients in this food formula are sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and marshmallows, so as long as you have those all-stars stocked in your pantry, you’re almost ready to bake. These fudge pops will make this gift-giving season your easiest one yet.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • Dash salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup white nonpareils
  • 22 paper lollipop sticks
  • ⅓ cup white vanilla baking chips
  • 1 teaspoon shortening

Directions: Line 11-by-7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil 1 inch over 2 opposite sides of pan; grease foil with butter. In 3-quart heavy saucepan, mix sugar, milk, butter, marshmallows and salt. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour into pan. Immediately sprinkle with nonpareils. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Use foil to lift fudge out of pan. With 2-inch Christmas tree-shaped cookie cutter, cut fudge. Insert 1 stick into bottom of each cutout. In small microwavable bowl, microwave vanilla chips and shortening on medium (50%) 30 to 45 seconds; stir until chips can be stirred smooth. Drizzle over plain side of fudge. Let stand until set.

5. Nut Brittle

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Back to the brittle game, we’re highlighting this nutty recipe from Food & WineUnlike the aforementioned formula from Bon Appétitthis brittle recipe will appease all of your eaters, even those who don’t like their treats spiced. Requiring only 7 ingredients, this candy recipe is also almost too easy, and once you perfect it, your loved ones will never forget. They’ll remember you every season as the gift giver responsible for the brittle, and pretty soon, this will be your annual treat. Start practicing now.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 ounces roasted salted peanuts, pecans, cashews, and/or pistachios
  • Fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt

Directions: In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and butter and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel is light brown and registers 300 degrees Fahrenheit on candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in baking soda. Mixture will bubble. Stir in the nuts and then immediately pour onto a large, rimmed non-stick baking sheet. Using a large spoon, spread the brittle into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle with salt. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.