Recipes: Homemade Christmas Candy

Homemade Christmas Candy

Cary, NC — Like every family, mine has changed and evolved throughout the years–along with many of our Christmas traditions. However, each and every year, we always enjoy making homemade Christmas candy for friends and loved ones. 

Homemade Christmas Candy

I can’t remember a December when I didn’t spend at least several days in the kitchen with my mom surrounded by chocolate chips, nuts, sugar, flour, butter…you name it.

We’ve found that homemade candy is the perfect treat to give out as little gifts to neighbors, teachers, bus drivers, friends, and extended family around the holidays. Then, we save our “big dinner” for Christmas Eve and snack on leftover candy and appetizers on Christmas Day. These treats also make great stocking stuffers or snacks for Santa.

I’ve picked my two favorite homemade candy recipes and shared them below.

Recipe: Haystacks

These are so easy to make, and one batch makes quite a few haystacks to give out as gifts (for about 20 people). If you have time, I like to double this recipe to make sure I have plenty for others and for myself, too.

These are pretty rich, so try to stick to small teaspoonfuls.

These are pretty rich, so try to stick to small teaspoonfuls.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 cup shoestring potato chip sticks (these can be tricky to find, but most grocery stores have them)

Directions:

  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt both kinds of chips together and stir well (it’s best to stop and stir the mixture in 45 second intervals to make sure it doesn’t burn).
  • Immediately mix in the potato sticks and the peanuts (I like to add a little extra) until they are covered in the chocolate.
  • Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed or parchment paper and let them sit for 15 minutes or until set.

Store the haystacks in the refrigerator in an airtight container–they’ll start to melt if they are left out too long.

Recipe: Coconut Macaroons

My grandparents always loved these–they’re soft, lightly sweetened, and full of shredded coconut. Like the haystacks, they have minimal ingredients and are simple to make. This recipe makes about 24 macaroons.

These are not too rich, not too sweet, and so delicious.

These are not too rich, not too sweet, and so delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz sweetened shredded coconut
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  • Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed with an electric or hand mixer until peaks form.
  • Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
  • Drop the batter by rounded spoonfuls (I like to use a small ice cream scoop) onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool and serve.

You can drizzle these with chocolate (my favorite) or put one cherry in the middle of each, but they are truly great without anything added to them.

Gifting Your Candy

It’s fun to arrange an assortment of Christmas candy on a plate or cupcake stand for holiday parties, and it’s also simple to make “goodie” bags to give away to friends and loved ones. These candies can make great presents when paired with cookies, holiday breads, or “trash”–a baked snack made with Chex cereal, peanuts, melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, and Bugles.

The best part is that, in baking them, you’re spending time with family.

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Recipes and haystacks photo by Jessica Patrick. Lead photo by PV KS; macaroons photo by Stacy Spensley.

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