There are many sacred traditions in my family over the holiday season. We put up the tree together. We sing carols together. I am sure we even deck the halls together…not that I really know what that means but if it’s associated with Christmas, I am sure we do it!
My favorite tradition of them all: making Christmas treats as a family. Seriously.
Now it wasn’t always so enjoyable until I changed my recipes so that my kids could help me make the treats and that the ingredients didn’t blow our budget. What more could you want during the holidays than kid-friendly and cheap Christmas treats?!
My Top Kid-Friendly and Cheap Christmas Treats
1 –Dipped pretzels
Ingredients – Pretzel Rods, Vanilla Almond Bark, Assorted Toppings
Melt 4 ounces of vanilla almond bark in a bowl. Holding onto the top of the pretzel rod, dip all but 2 inches into the vanilla almond bark. Use a spoon to get any hard-to-reach spots. Once covered hold the pretzel rods upside down and let the chocolate run down back into the bowl. Immediately, top the melted almond bark with toppings like coconut, melted milk chocolate, sprinkles or mini-chocolate chips. You can also roll them in toppings for full coverage. Lay them on a sheet of parchment paper to completely dry. If you are in a hurry (or just really hungry!) let them harden in the fridge for about 15 minutes!
2 – Peanut butter balls
Ingredients – Smooth Peanut Butter, Powdered Sugar, Butter, Chocolate Almond Bark
Melt 6 Tablespoons of butter in a medium bowl and add in 1 cup of smooth peanut butter. Stir until combined. Add in 2 cups powdered sugar and combine the ingredients. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 1-inch balls and lay on a cookie sheet. Melt 8 ounces of chocolate almond bark or milk chocolate. Dip the balls into chocolate. Use two spoons to cover the balls completely and then use a toothpick to remove it from the chocolate. Place it on parchment paper until the chocolate is set. Then it’s ready to eat!
3 – Peppermint White Chocolate Popcorn
Ingredients – Popcorn, Crushed Peppermints, Almond Bark
Cover a baking pan with foil or wax paper; set aside. Crush 2 Tablespoons peppermint candies either in a ziploc or a small chopper/food processor so they are close to powder. Pop popcorn (13 cups popped) and remove the old maids–the unpopped seeds. Use a cookie rack on a baking sheet and just dump the popcorn on top of that for easy removal. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth OR melt 6 ounces almond bark in a microwaveable bowl — 1 minute, stir, 30 seconds, stir until melted. Place popcorn in a medium sized bowl and spoon the almond bark over the popcorn and toss with two spoons to get equal coverage. Start with a couple spoonfuls and then toss it together. You don’t want the popcorn to get damp or soggy. Sprinkle in the crushed peppermints and stir so all the popcorn is minted. Spread onto prepared pan. Let the popcorn dry completely. When the chocolate is cooled and set, break into chunks for serving. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
4 – Andes Mini Brownies
Ingredients – Brownie Mix, Andes Mints
Place disposable liners in a mini-muffin pan. Make a batch of your favorite brownie mix. This is my go-to recipe but feel free to use any mix you want! Fill the cups about 2/3 full. Chop up a box of Andes Mints (4.67 ounces). Sprinkle 3/4 of the Andes Mints on top of the uncooked brownie batter. Bake as directed. After pulling them out of the oven, sprinkle the last 1/3 of the Andes mints on top of the brownies. Enjoy!
5 – Chocolate Marshmallows
Ingredients – Large Marshmallows, Vanilla Almond Bark, Chocolate Almond Bark, Peppermints
Place a large marshmallow on a wooden kabob stick. You could use straws for the little ones! Melt 3 ounces of almond bark and place in a bowl. Dip the marshmallows in one at a time in the almond bark using a spoon to spread and also to help get rid of excess chocolate. Immediately roll and sprinkle in 1/4 cup crushed peppermints until covered. Lay the marshmallow on parchment paper and cover the other marshmallows. Melt 1 ounce of milk chocolate in a ziploc bag in a bowl for 30 seconds and then squeeze it. Repeat until melted. When it is melted, cut a tiny hole in the corner and squiggle the melted chocolate over the peppermint marshmallow. Allow to dry completely before eating on either parchment paper or standing up in a deep bowl or cup.
6 – Peppermint Bark
Ingredients – Milk Chocolate, Vanilla Almond Bark, Peppermints
Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and set aside. Melt 4 ounces of milk chocolate over a double boiler (or in 30-second intervals in the microwave on 50% power, stirring after each time until it is fully melted. Once the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and pour into the prepared pan. Spread it evenly to create a solid layer. Melt 4 ounces of vanilla almond bark. Pour over the almond bark onto of the milk chocolate and spread it evenly over the top. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of crushed peppermints on top and press down lightly to push the mints into the top layer. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until completely set or let it harden overnight. Remove the parchment paper from the pan and peel it off the bark. Cut the bark or break into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. When stored in the refrigerator, it will keep for at least 2 weeks–if it lasts that long!
What are some of your family’s favorite Christmas treats?
Food is my love language. But so is saving money. So I like to combine the two a lot and make thrifty make ahead and freeze meals to save time. Because life is busy, and freezer meals can come to the rescue for all of us. And yes, they actually CAN taste good. Read more...