6 Homemade Candy Recipes No Holiday Party Should Be Without

Sweeten your holiday parties by treating party goers’ tastebuds to homemade candies that are filled with chocolate, peppermint, pistachio, and cranberry flavors. Whether you’re a novice cook looking for a chocolate recipe to quickly whip up or you want to make an intricate peppermint sweet that will leave a lasting impression, there is a recipe here for every skill level. No holiday party should be without these six confections, so grab your rubber gloves, candy thermometer, and sweet ingredients — it’s time to get started!

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1. Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Bark

No party should be without Women’s Health’s Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Bark. Not only does this delicacy taste delicious, but bark is also extraordinarily easy to prepare. The hardest part is patiently waiting for 20 minutes to pass while your candy hardens in the fridge!


  • 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • Pinch of salt

Directions: Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Stir in pistachios and salt. Pour onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread to ¼-inch thickness. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until completely firm. Peel the parchment off the hardened mixture and break into pieces.

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2. Peppermint Candy 

Peppermint and chocolate pair perfectly in Taste of Home’s sweet holiday candy. Green food coloring adds festive flair to these treats, which only require 5 ingredients and 25 minutes of prep time. The recipe yields 64 servings.


  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 1 cup white baking chips
  • 3 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 2 to 3 drops green food coloring

Directions: In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips with ¾ cup condensed milk over low heat, stirring occasionally. Line an 8-inch-square dish with waxed paper; butter the paper. Spread half of melted chocolate mixture into pan; chill for 5-10 minutes and let remaining melted chocolate mixture stand at room temperature.

In another saucepan, melt white baking chips. Stir in remaining condensed milk until smooth. Remove from the heat; add extract and food coloring. Refrigerate until set. Spread over chocolate layer; spread with reserved chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until set. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

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3. Creamy Cranberry Fudge

Better Homes and Gardens’ vibrant candies look festive and taste delicious. Orange zest, pistachios, and cranberries ensure your sweet will stand apart from the other treats at the party. You can even prepare this recipe in advance; it’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.


  • Butter
  • 3 cups white baking pieces
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries, snipped
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: Line an 8-by-8-by-2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over edges of pan. Butter foil; set pan aside. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan cook and stir white baking pieces and sweetened condensed milk over low heat just until baking pieces are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove saucepan from heat.

Stir in ¾ of the dried cranberries, ¾ of the pistachios, the orange peel, and vanilla. Spread mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Top with the remaining dried cranberries and pistachios. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until firm. Using the edges of the foil, lift fudge out of pan. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Source: iStock

4. Christmas Turtle Candies

Filled with chocolate, caramel, and pecans, this four-ingredient treat will satisfy any seasonal sweet tooth. AllRecipes.com’s gooey candies can be prepared in less than an hour, and the recipe makes 24 sweets, meaning there will be more than enough of these gourmet Christmas Turtle Candies to take along to your party.


  • 4 ounces pecan halves
  • 24 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
  • 1 teaspoon shortening
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover cookies sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side exposed. Lightly grease foil with vegetable oil spray. Place 3 pecan halves in a Y shape on the foil. Place 1 caramel candy in the center of each Y. Bake just until caramel is melted, about 9 to 10 minutes. Heat shortening and chocolate chips over low heat just until chocolate is melted. Spread over candies and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Source: iStock

5. Cranberry-Raspberry Jellies

Eating Well’s Cranberry-Raspberry Jellies, which are a more sophisticated version of gum drops, are bursting with aromatic flavors and lovely seasonal colors. These sweets are time consuming, but you’ll find that the end result is well worth it! Plan accordingly to ensure your recipe turns out perfectly: have a candy thermometer readily available, and give your candies plenty of time to dry.


  • 2 cups thawed cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, divided
  • 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin, (about 6 packets)
  • 2⅔ cups raspberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups granulated sugar, plus about ⅔ cup for dusting

Directions: Lightly coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with plastic wrap, allowing it to overhang by 2 inches on two sides. Lightly and evenly coat the plastic wrap all over with cooking spray. Place ½ cup cranberry juice concentrate in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over it and let stand, stirring once or twice. Meanwhile, in a heavy, nonreactive Dutch oven, stir together the remaining 1½ cups cranberry juice concentrate, raspberries, cranberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 3 cups sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring, over medium-high heat.

Clip a candy thermometer to the pan, adjusting it so the tip is submerged but not touching the bottom. Boil briskly, stirring frequently, until the mixture cooks down slightly, 6 to 7 minutes. Lower the heat so the mixture boils gently and cook, stirring frequently, until it reaches 244 degrees Fahrenheit, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the gelatin mixture, stirring until it completely dissolves. Immediately pour the jelly mixture into a fine sieve set over a nonreactive bowl. Force through as much juice and pulp as possible using a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon; work briskly, as the mixture will thicken as it cools.

Transfer the jelly to the prepared pan. Let stand, uncovered, on a cooling rack until completely set, 3 to 4 hours. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight, to reduce the stickiness before cutting. Generously dust a large cutting board with granulated sugar. Holding the edges of the plastic, lift the jelly out of the pan. Lay the slab top-side down on the board. Peel off the plastic. Sprinkle the slab all over with some of the remaining ⅔ cup sugar. Using a lightly oiled large sharp knife, trim off and discard the slab edges all around, forming clean edges.

Cut the piece lengthwise and crosswise into eighths or tenths, forming individual jelly squares, cleaning and re-oiling the knife as necessary. Roll each square in sugar until coated on all sides. Let the jellies stand, uncovered, to dry for 4 hours, or overnight. Once dry, dust with additional sugar, covering all surfaces. Store the jellies, not touching each other, in single layers separated by wax paper, in a flat, wax paper-lined storage container in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

Source: iStock

6. Peppermint Icicles

Pretty pastel tones and invigorating flavors create Martha Stewart’s whimsical Peppermint Icicles. This hands-on recipe requires you to work with the candy while it’s hot, so wear protective rubber gloves when you’re in the pulling and twisting stages. It yields 16 icicles. If you’d like to bring your icicles in a festive container, follow Martha Stewart’s packaging instructions.


  • Vegetable oil, cooking spray
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1 drop blue gel-paste food coloring
  • 1 drop violet gel-paste food coloring

Directions: Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves. Cook, undisturbed, until mixture registers 305 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and stir in lemon juice and peppermint extract. Working quickly, pour hot sugar mixture onto prepared sheet. Let cool until bubbles subside, about 30 seconds. Coat a metal spatula with cooking spray, then fold 2 edges of mixture inward, toward center.

Continuously fold candy in half on itself with spatula until it is cool enough to handle, about 1 minute. Wearing rubber gloves and working quickly, pull candy to a length of 1 foot, then fold in half on itself. Repeat, twisting and pulling until candy starts to turn white. Remove a golf-ball-sized piece, and add food colorings to the smaller piece. Continue to stretch and fold both pieces separately. When candy is almost cool, and the uncolored piece is white, pull each piece into a 12-inch-long rope.

Place ropes side by side, and fold in half together to layer colors. Twist pieces together. Starting at 1 end, pull and twist until rope is ½ inch thick. Working quickly, twist and pull end to taper slightly, and cut off a 6-inch length with scissors. Continue twisting, pulling, and cutting icicles until candy becomes too hard and can no longer be pulled. Transfer icicles to a baking sheet to harden. Store, covered, for up to 4 days.

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