Last Minute Christmas Gifts: Easy Homemade Candies

by Kim Tilley

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Still looking for something for that hard-to-shop-for special someone? Give them candy! No time you say? These recipes are easy and delicious. They've become part of our family's Christmas tradition. Every year, we make candies and give Christmas pictures to our adult relatives. It's an easy, low-stress, low-money approach to the age-old question 'What I am going to get them for Christmas?'

Ohio Buckeyes

This recipe tops them all. It's so fattening that we only make it around Christmas time, and many of our friends and relatives enjoy receiving buckeyes as Christmas gifts. Some of our friends have offered to buy it off of us! For packaging, we often collect cookie tins all year to put them in. This year was not the best year for tin collecting (couldn't hit as many yard sales this year!), so I am spray painting baskets to give them in, and also using some colored plastic wrap tied with ribbon. You could also go the super easy route and just put them on paper plates and wrap with colored or clear plastic wrap.

1 16-18 oz jar creamy peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) soft butter or margarine (leave at room temperature for an hour or two to soften)
1 12 oz bag chocolate chips
1/2 cake paraffin wax (found in canning section, yes, it's safe for eating)

Combine peanut butter, sugar and softened butter/margarine in very large bowl. Mix well, and roll into small balls about 1 inch in diameter. If balls are soft after shaping, refrigerate until hardened a bit.

Melt chocolate and paraffin together in double boiler or in small, deep bowl in the microwave, being careful not to overcook and burn the chocolate. Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to dip peanut butter balls in melted chocolate, leaving very top of balls without chocolate to look like a real buckeye. Set buckeyes on cookie sheets lined with waxed paper. Let cool, then remove and place in cookie tins (lined with plastic wrap).

These can be done ahead of time, and store well in the freezer or refrigerator. They are also pretty cheap to make if you use generic or store brand ingredients. Chocolate chips that taste more like dark chocolate (such as Aldi's brand, comparable to Nestle Toll House Morsels), do much better than the milk chocolate chips such as Hershey's.

Dipped Cookies

Super duper easy! Get the generic versions of Oreos and Nutter Butters for this recipe.

1 package white or chocolate Almond Bark
1 package generic Oreos, Nutter Butters, or other cookies (can be homemade sugars, chocolate chip, whatever)
waxed paper

Melt almond bark carefully in microwave. When hot, carefully dip cookies, one at a time, into almond bark, covering half of cookie. Place on waxed paper and shake on sprinkles. Repeat for all cookies. My recommended combinations include white almond bark with Oreos, chocolate almond bark with Nutter Butters.

Peppermint Crunch

1 package candy canes or peppermints
1 package white almond bark
1 hammer
resealable baggies
Waxed paper

Unwrap peppermints or candy canes and place in resealable baggy. Seal. Get out some pent-up aggression by pounding the candy to smithereens. Little chunks of candy should remain.

Melt almond bark carefully in microwave. Mix in crushed peppermints. Pour into pans or cookie sheets lined with waxed paper. Let cool (best in refrigerator or freezer). When cool, remove from waxed paper, break into bite-sized chunks and store in cookie tins.

No-Cook Peanut Butter Fudge

3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup light Karo syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract or maple syrup
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

In a large bowl, beat together the first 6 ingredients. Knead mixture on a wooden cutting board until smooth. Work peanuts into fudge. Pat candy into 8" square pan. Chill.


A bit delicate- they tend to break if shipped. This is a good gift to hand deliver, and perfect all wintertime! The kids love to help make these.

1 cup walnuts
1 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
confectioners sugar to cover

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Finely chop the walnuts in a blender or food processor, set aside. Cream together the margarine and 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar. Add the vanilla extract or maple syrup. Stir in the flour, salt and chopped up nuts.

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them an inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until set but not browned- about 10 minutes. Roll cookies in confectioner's sugar while warm and then again when they've cooled. Makes about 4 dozen.

Kim Tilley is the mother of three boys, ages 9,6 and 2. She is the online editor for a local tv station and the editor of Frugal Moms. She is also a tightwad at heart. Her interests include cooking, crafts, gardening, computers, and saving money! When not typing away at the computer, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something out of nothing!

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