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I’m gonna go ahead and be 100% honest with you guys. I LOVE baking. It’s a huge passion of mine, and the holidays are my absolute favorite time of the year because I have an excuse to bake non-stop. On Thanksgiving I always try to make two really fancy side dishes to bring to family gatherings as well as one delicious and pretty dessert, and during the entire month of December you can find me baking all day and bringing holiday sweet treat baskets with me basically EVERYWHERE I go!
I am overly joyful when I get to bake, getting in the kitchen with my apron on is therapeutic for me, and I love sharing this hobby of mine with the people who surround me. During the holiday season, I want to recognize my thankfulness to everyone I know, and while budget-wise I can’t cross something off everyone’s wish list, I always bake treats for the sweet people in my life. These gift baskets are a great way to show appreciation to the wonderful staff at my sons’ pediatrician’s office, extended family members, our mail carrier, and to bring to Christmas parties our friends host. They are super easy to assemble, and even if you don’t LOVE to bake like I do, you can buy pre-made things and create the same baskets without all the dishes, if you so please.
There are 3 basic’s that go into my baskets each year, known as my “Staples”:
1. Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods. You melt some chocolate candy melts in the microwave (heat for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted), dip half of your pretzel rod in the chocolate, sprinkle with some festive sprinkles, and freeze for 30 min to let the chocolate set. These are always a family favorite, and take less than 5 min to prepare! All you need is: Sprinkles, Chocolate Melts, and Pretzel Rods!
2. Marshmallow Pops. Another easy one, 10 min prep time! I get cool colored/patterned paper straws and cut them in half. Then, I stick the straw into a large marshmallow and dip into melted chocolate. After that I dip the pop into a ramekin of sprinkles, and set on a baking tray. Once all the marshmallows are dipped I freeze them for 30 min to allow the chocolate to set, then bag them up!
3. Sugar Cookies. I always do the cookie cutter cookies, and decorate each individual cookie in a special and different way. This is probably the most time consuming part of the gift basket, but to the baker in me, it’s the best part. This is wear I put my personal touch on each basket, often using certain colors or shapes to decorate to each person’s own individual likes.
With each of my staple items I add 2-3 of each treat per person on the receiving end. So if I’m bringing this to a couple like my friends Brian & Amanda, I’ll put 4 total Marshmallow pops, sugar cookies, and pretzel rods. If I’m bringing this to a single person like my Aunt Mary Carol, I will put 3 of each item in. This helps you stay organized and do the math to make sure you get the most out of your ingredients, so you can pass out the most holiday cheer.
After I finish my basic basket staples I always like to add a “wow” factor to each basket. I’ll pick something decadent and indulgent that is different from what most people add to their baskets, to really knock the treat receiver’s socks off! This year I selected these amazing Milk Chocolate covered Wavy Lays potato chips. Last year I couldn’t find them in stores so I actually made them because I wanted to try them so badly! Chocolate covered chips are seriously the perfect combination of sweet and savory, so to add even more fun to my treat baskets I also made a delicious sweet and salty dip to go with the Milk Chocolate covered Wavy Lays.
This dip was SO delicious and pairs perfectly with the chips. It’s only 4 ingredients and you can make it in less than 5 minutes!
14oz Marshmallow Fluff
16oz Creamy Peanut Butter
2 tbsp Honey
1/2 cup mini chocolate covered peanut butter cups
- Mix Marshmallow Fluff, Peanut Butter, and Honey together throughly.
- Add mini peanut butter cups and mix well.
- Scoop into mini-mason jars, top with a few mini-peanut butter cups, and seal lid.
This recipe makes enough dip to fill 4 mini-mason jars fully, but you could easily fill the jars only half-full and top with extra peanut butter cups to make 8 jars with the same recipe.
SO EASY RIGHT?! This dip is incredible and it’s complemented so well with the Milk or Dark Chocolate covered Wavy Lays. This season they actually have three flavors available in Target: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate Covered with Almond Bits. These two items really upped the anti on gift basket giving that is for sure.
I finish my gift baskets off with other personal touches, like a hand-written Christmas card and a beautiful handmade bow. In the spirit of giving I always keep an extra one in my car as well to spread some holiday cheer to anyone I meet that may need it.
Do you make any treats or baskets during the holiday season? If so, what do you put in them? Leave your comments below! <3