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There are two holiday treats that I give continuously as gifts throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. This wasn’t something that I originally set out to do, but as people tried both of these delicious treats, I couldn’t get the requests for more to stop. Therefore, I not only give these as birthday gifts sometimes, upon request, but also in mass quantity during the holidays. Both of these recipes are so easy to make, pretty darn quick and REALLY budget friendly. I call that a win-win!
The present that I end up making for about 4-5 months out of the year, because it is in such high demand, is my toffee. This one is SO simple to make, as long as you either have a candy thermometer or you can eyeball it, which I can do because I have done it so many times. However, patience and consistency is the key here. Because if you stop stirring or walk away for a second the darn thing and start burning and then you have to toss it and start again. That is no bueno!
- 1 lb Unsalted Butter
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 t Salt
- 1/2 cup Water
- 12 ounces Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt to taste
- Cayenne to taste
Put everything in a large stock pot and raise to a boil, while continuously stirring. Constantly stir until the candy thermometer reaches 300 or until you see the color turn a darker shade of caramel color extremely quickly. This is the hard crack stage and depending on your stove, takes about 8-10 minutes to reach it once boiling.
Quickly pour it onto a large baking pan (I use a half sheet pan) and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Be careful not to burn yourself because this bad boy is HOT! Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly all over the top and let melt for approximately 1 minute. Then spread the chocolate chips out across the top and grind sea salt over the top, where desired.
Put it in the refrigerator for about 2-3 hours. The next part is my daughter’s favorite part to help me with. Slam the pan onto the counter a few times to get the toffee to crack. This is also a great way to relieve holiday stress!
I like to sprinkle salt on a little more than 2/3, put some cayenne pepper on about 1/4 and leave the remaining plain. This way I get 3 different versions out of 1 batch. These are the versions that people request the most, especially the version with the pink Himalayan sea salt.
But during the holidays you can always get a little bit more creative by adding crushed up candy canes. This makes it even more festive than my traditional versions. Some people love this holiday twist!
How much does this cost to make, you may be asking? Well, here is the cost breakdown to answer that burning question:
- Unsalted Butter – 1 lb is $3.99 + tax = $4.26
- Sugar – 16 oz @ $.12 per oz = $1.92
- Sea Salt Crystals – 3.3 oz is $1.99 + tax = $2.12. There are 16.43 teaspoons in this bottle, therefore the cost is $.13
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – $2.12 per 12 ounce bag
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt – the same as the sea salt crystals, therefore = $.13
Grand total for the batch of toffee is $8.56. This one yields approximately 6 gifts out of each batch, but if I need to, I can stretch it to 8. Therefore, the total cost per gift (at the regular 6 gifts per batch) runs only $1.43!
Peanut Butter Cookie Love
I used to own a gluten free bakery and one of my best sellers was the easiest peanut butter cookie recipe, that my mother made for me as a child once I got diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I have been making these as impromptu rainy day treats for the kids for years, because they are so easy and I always have the 3 ingredients on hand.
In fact, one of them was begging to cook or bake just yesterday, so I suggested he make these. All of the kids were thrilled with the idea and he ended up making them all by himself. He was really impressed with himself and told me that this was his favorite recipe ever because it is so quick and easy and only takes 3 ingredients, plus it is delicious. I don’t know how that rave review can be beat!
So if you are ready for it, here is the recipe that gets the rave reviews from adults and children alike:
- 1 jar (16 oz) of Peanut Butter
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 Egg Whites
Mix everything together with a hand mixer, spoon onto a greased cookie sheet (I use olive oil or coconut oil spray), flatten with a fork and then top with chocolate chips, if desired. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Yields 20-24, depending on how large you choose to make them.
- Peanut Butter – 16 oz jar = $2.12
- Sugar – 32 oz bag of Organic Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar is $3.49 + tax = $3.73. That breaks down to $.12 per ounce. I use 8 ounces, so the total cost of the sugar is $.96
- Eggs – 12 cage free eggs is $2.29 + tax = $2.44. That breaks down to $.20 per egg. So 2 eggs = $.40
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – 12 oz bag = $2.12. I use about 1/6 of a bag, so about 2 ounces, which breaks down to about $.26
Grand total for a batch of delicious peanut butter cookies = $3.74. I usually break that down into 4 gifts of 6 cookies each. Therefore, this present cost me around $.94 to make, which is pretty darn good if you ask me!
Giving gifts like these always give me more joy than just purchasing something for my recipients. It takes a little bit of time, but I enjoy doing it and everybody I have always given these gifts to has loved them and asked for more. I don’t know what better gift can be given than one like this that comes from the heart, plus these are extremely easy on my budget. BONUS!
What are some of your favorite holiday treats to give? How did this tradition get started for you?