It’s not too late.
Isn’t that music to your ears? I’m a repeat offender when it comes to procrastinating, and I almost always wait until the last minute to tackle tasks I think I’ll have plenty of time for “later”… namely, picking out gifts.
However, this weekend I had a little bit of time to myself and was able to whip up a few things that look fancy but are (mostly) easy to make. Here are six that you can make tonight (or tomorrow, or even Christmas Eve*) and are sure to impress.
1. Chocolate Bark. It looks impressive, but is a breeze to make! There are also so many varieties you can make. Just be sure not to leave your chocolate unattended or it’ll scorch. Burnt chocolate isn’t the tastiest thing.
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BARK
- 9 oz milk chocolate
- 9 oz white chocolate
- 3.25 oz dark chocolate-covered Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Coal OR crushed up candy canes
Line a cookie sheet or medium-sized baking dish with parchment paper.
Melt milk chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat; pour onto parchment-lined cookie sheet and spread evenly. Allow to cool slightly, and wash your pan while you wait.
Melt white chocolate over low heat; pour over milk chocolate in an even layer. Scatter candy cane bits on top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until bark has set, then remove parchment and use a knife to break into pieces.
DARK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BARK
- 9 oz milk chocolate
- 9 oz dark chocolate
- handful of mini chocolate-peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped (Trader Joe’s sells a small bag of dark chocolate cups for $.99)
Melt milk chocolate in a saucepan over low heat; pour onto parchment-lined cookie sheet and spread evenly. Allow to cool slightly, and wash your pan while you wait.
Melt dark chocolate over low heat; pour over milk chocolate in an even layer. Scatter peanut butter cup bits on top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until bark has set, then remove parchment and use a knife to break into pieces.
Other bark ideas:
- dark chocolate with dried cherries and ginger
- dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt
- milk chocolate with toffee and coffee grounds
- milk OR dark chocolate with lavender and walnuts
2. Spiced nuts. Ridiculously easy, ridiculously tasty, super classy. I tripled the recipe for these Rosemary Roasted Almonds and added walnuts and cashews, and they’re delicious. I might make another batch for us to eat, too!
3. Cookies. I don’t know a single person who would be sad to open a gift bag filled with home-baked cookies. I tried a new recipe, for Chocolate-Sesame Cookies, which were a crowd-pleaser but still just unusual enough to be a little unexpected.
5. Cookie Dough Dip. I made this for a friend last week, put it into a snazzy little container, wrapped it up with a ribbon and voila! Be sure to include something to dip with, like a package of graham crackers or pieces of dark chocolate.
6. Infuse some booze! And happy holidaze. *It’s usually best to leave infusing alcohol for about a week, but with five days to go, you can still store your bottle in a cool, dark place (AKA the closet) and hope for the best. All you do is add ingredients you think would make a yummy flavored vodka (or gin, or tequila), and when it’s ready, pour it into a couple nice bottles. (I picked up the below at The Container Store.)
Flavored liquor ideas:
- jalapeño-pineapple (I did this and used about a cup of Trader Joe’s frozen pineapple with four chopped peppers)
- persimmon (or other seasonal fruit)
Don’t forget to make your gifts look like, well, gifts! You can find clear gift bags and ribbon at most craft stores; I found these at Michael’s.
Triple Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Hope you like these! Let me know if you try any of ‘em.
Are you making any gifts this year? Please share your ideas!