Everyone Loves a Homemade Christmas Treat.
5 year-olds are no exception.
Neither are 35 year-olds (Yikes, that December, almost-mid-life-crisis birthday snuck up on me!)
Going for minimum effort, maximum effect, Parker and I settled on Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark (with a generous sprinkling of M&M’s- yes, they were Parker’s ingenious addition) and Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls. Let me tell you- no one turns down a peanut butter ball on the holiday dessert buffet.
The most difficult thing about both of these recipes is stirring and chilling. That is to say, nothing is hard about these two holiday beauties. Let the kids sprinkle the pretzels and M&M’s and feel ownership of these insanely delicious treats.
- 12oz flat pretzels
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 oz (half bag) Christmas M&M's
- sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, wax paper or tin foil. Lightly butter. Cover the bottom of the pan with both whole and broken pretzel pieces.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine the butter and brown sugar. Stir well. When the butter/brown sugar mixture begins to simmer and bubble, leave it alone and allow it to cook for 3 minutes. Do not stir! Immediately pour hot caramel mixture over the pretzels in a zig zag motion, covering most of the pretzels.
- Place pan in pre-heated oven and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- While caramel pretzels are cooling, melt chocolate chips in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Once the chips are completely melted and smooth, pour the chocolate mixture over the caramel pretzels. Use a rubber spatula to gently spread the melted chocolate.
- While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle with M&M's. Finish off with a light sprinkling of sea salt.
- Place pans and refrigerate for 30 minutes-1 hour.
And then we decided to continue with Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls. They’re so easy, you don’t even need a recipe card. The only part that you really need to pay attention to is CHILLING. No, not you- the balls. When I tell you to put them in the fridge or freezer, listen. Otherwise you’ll have a globby mess. Here’s what you need to get together and do:
*2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies *2 cups smooth peanut butter (this is not the time to go fancy/organic- I think Jif is the best) *1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted *2 cups powdered sugar, sifted *1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter and melted butter. Stir in the sifted powdered sugar and the Rice Krispies until the mixture is smooth. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes (to make it easier to form into balls).
Remove mixture from the refrigerator. Using a tablespoon, scoop out mixture and form peanut butter balls by rolling the “dough” between your hands. Place formed balls on a parchment or tin-foil lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for one hour.
Remove from freezer. In a medium sauce pot over low heat, melt the chocolate chips. With a toothpick, “spear” the semi-frozen peanut butter balls and spoon chocolate over them. Smooth the chocolate around the ball the best that you can. Place chocolate-coated peanut butter balls back onto the baking sheet and freeze for at least one hour.
Serve chilled. Watch as they disappear…