Make some quick and delicious treats ready for your Holiday party in no time!
One of my favorite places to be is in the kitchen making treats. I started learning about cooking and baking at a young age, and I continue to enjoy it very much to this day. During the holiday season, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Whether I’m making my Great Grandma’s Potica or a quick batch of thumbprint spritz cookies, it’s all so much fun!
I also know that it gets very busy during the holiday season so I like to keep ingredients on hand for some simple but delicious treats to take to a holiday party or gift to someone special. Let’s take a look at a few ideas!
Homemade Chocolate Popcorn
Chocolate Popcorn was one of the first recipes I was taught how to make on my own in the kitchen as a pre-teen. To make chocolate popcorn all you need is some air-popped popcorn. I like to use air-popped popcorn because there is no oil or extra flavorings on the popcorn. The air-popped popcorn will hold up nicely to the melted chocolate, and won’t go stale as quickly as traditional popcorn. I love using my Dash air-popper for this recipe as it pops the popcorn quickly and consistently. For the popcorn itself, choose a kind that pops larger kernels versus smaller artisanal popcorn.
You will also need some good-quality melting chocolate. You can use candy melts that you find in big box stores, but the quality just isn’t the same. I suggest checking out your local cake decorating supply or candy-making store for good quality melting chocolate. It may cost a little bit extra, but trust me the taste will be way better! Those eating your treats will appreciate the extra step too.
To make your chocolate popcorn, pop some fresh popcorn in your air popper. I like to take a large cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. This makes cleanup a breeze after your chocolate popcorn is all finished. Fill your cookie sheet with the popcorn, trying to keep the popcorn in one layer, but pushed together. If your popcorn is all piled on top of itself or spread out too far, it won’t stay together when you pour the chocolate on it. You can add a small sprinkle of salt onto the popcorn at this point if you would like.
Next, melt your melting chocolate using your favorite method. You can use a plug-in chocolate melter, or a double-boiler setup for melting your chocolate. I would steer away from the microwave, just so you don’t burn the chocolate you spent good money on.
Now it’s time to pour the chocolate over your popcorn. To make those pretty lines, and also keep the chocolate consistent, I like to put my melted chocolate into piping bags and move from one end of the pan to the other creating those lines of chocolate across the popcorn. I let gravity do the work with the piping bag, not squeezing the bag too much. If you don’t have a piping bag, that’s ok, you can use a spoon and gently drizzle the chocolate over your popcorn.
I like to mix both white and milk chocolate to give my chocolate popcorn an elegant look. Before your chocolate dries you can sprinkle extra toppings onto your popcorn including crushed candy canes or nuts. Some flaky sea salt would also be tasty as well. The great thing about this recipe is that you can get as creative as you would like.
Allow the chocolate to dry completely, then you can break your chocolate popcorn into smaller pieces. Place into a decorative container, and share this simple but delicious treat.
Roasted Pecan Chocolates
Another really simple treat to make is homemade chocolates. You can find so many fun candy molds in all different shapes in sizes. I like to add some extras to my homemade chocolate to make them extra special.
Pecans are very tasty alone, but giving them a quick roast releases the oils giving them a rich, robust taste. We picked up some pecans from the Peach Truck over this summer, just for this recipe!
To roast your pecan, place them onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Roast them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes. Your nose will definitely tell you when they are done. Don’t let them roast too long or they will burn. You will want them to turn slightly darker. After the pecans are roasted take them out of the oven and allow them to cool.
Prepare your candy mold. I like to make sure my mold is totally clean, and then place it on a small cookie sheet. This makes transferring much easier.
Take the cooled pecans and put them into a food processor, and grind them up until they are smaller pieces, almost like sprinkle size. The smell from the food processor will be amazing!
Make sure you have some milk chocolate melted, and mix in some of the ground-up pecans. For about a 1/2 cup of melted chocolate, I add in about 2-3 tablespoons of ground pecans. You can adjust the mix amount to your liking, just make sure the chocolate is still able to flow easily into your mold.
Carefully fill your mold with the ground pecan chocolate mixture. To give my roasted pecan chocolates a little extra personal touch, I like to use a piping bag and add some white chocolate stripes then fill the mold.
Allow your chocolates to harden completely, and enjoy! The mixture of the milk chocolate and roasted pecans is amazing!
The last-treat idea is to make crunchy-style chocolates similar to the candy bar. You are going to follow the same process as the pecan chocolates, only instead of adding some roasted ground pecans to your melted chocolate, add some small crisp rice pieces. Easy to find anywhere you purchase candy-making supplies. You will never buy another crispy candy bar after you make your own!
Hopefully, I have given you some ideas for quick and easy holiday treats! Anyone would love to receive these treats under their tree!