Holiday gift giving is often loaded with stress, from finding the absolutely perfect present to battling the crazy mall crowds. Here’s a better option: make-it-yourself treats! Your friends and family are sure to appreciate the personal touch and, of course, the delicious taste.
If you choose smart recipes, these homemade goodies can also be a little healthier than your typical holiday dessert. The following recipes for popular sweets all pack fewer calories than traditional versions. We might even make a double batch – one to give away and one to enjoy ourselves!
Decorate a small box with wrapping paper, glitter and ribbon to make this homemade gift look like it came straight from the finest chocolatier in Michigan.
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla, peppermint or other desired extract
- In saucepan over medium heat, combine chocolate and cream. Cook, stirring, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Remove from heat and whisk in flavoring or extracts of your choice.
- Pour into a small glass dish and refrigerate until set, but not hard (1 ½ to 2 hours).
- Use melon baller to form mixture into individual balls and roll in toppings of your choice. We’d suggest powdered sugar, chopped almonds or toasted coconut shavings.
Nutritional Information (Makes 35 truffles)
Per truffle: 62 calories; 4.1g total fat; 1mg sodium; 5.6g carbohydrates; 0.7g fiber; 0.7g protein
Have all the ingredients for this recipe measured out and ready before you start, as you’ll have to move quickly once you get going! The broken-up brittle looks delightful gifted in a festive mason jar.
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup peanuts
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.
- In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar, corn syrup, salt and water to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then stir in peanuts. Set a candy thermometer in place in the pot and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until temperature reaches 300 degrees or a small amount of the mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard, brittle threads.
- Remove from heat and immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. Use two forks to lift and spread peanut mixture into a 14-by-12 inch rectangle.
- Allow the mixture to cool and then snap into pieces.
Nutritional Information (Makes 16 servings)
Per serving: 143 calories; 6g total fat; 132mg sodium; 22.3g carbohydrates; 0.7g fiber; 2.2g protein
Whether they’re shaped liked men or stars, these tasty treats feel right at home packaged in colorful cellophane and topped with a bow.
- ¾ cup molasses
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/8 cup butter, softened
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a medium bowl, mix the molasses, brown sugar, water and butter until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, allspice, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture until entirely absorbed. Cover the dough and chill at least 3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and space out the cookies one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.
Nutritional Information (Makes 36 cookies)
Per cookie: 75 calories; 0.8g total fat; 43mg sodium; 15.8g carbohydrates; 0.3g fiber; 1.2g protein
Turn this do-it-yourself present into a two-in-one gift by buying or decorating a tall mug to house the indulgent bites.
- 4 cups white sugar
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup butter
- 7-ounce jar marshmallow crème
- 1 ½ cups peanut butter
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine sugar, milk and butter. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow crème and peanut butter. Slowly stir in flour.
- Pour into baking dish, spread out and let cool.
Nutritional Information (Makes 60 servings)
Per serving: 116 calories; 4.5g total fat; 41mg sodium; 18.3g carbohydrates; 0.4g fiber; 1.7g protein
Do you have all the right ingredients to whip up these delicious holiday gifts? Remember, Michigan Blues members have access to savings and special discounts on healthy products (including groceries!) thanks to Healthy Blue Xtras.
What holiday treats do you think make perfect gifts? We’d especially love to hear about any healthy twists on classic favorites!