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Recipe Spotlight

Four DIY Treats to Dazzle Your Friends This Holiday Season

These edible gifts can be whipped up on the fly and keep for weeks, if not months.

Published Oct. 7, 2021.

Nothing says thoughtful like a homemade edible gift—plus, they’re inexpensive to make, can be assembled in big batches, and are guaranteed to be unique. Below, browse some of our favorite edible gift ideas sure to please anyone on your list this year.

Spicy Caramel Popcorn: The Ultimate Caramel Corn

We turned our best caramel sauce—perfectly bittersweet, easy, and reliable—into a glossy, complex coating for popcorn by adding cayenne pepper, salt, and baking soda. The latter reacts with the acidic caramel and produces tiny air bubbles that make the caramel easy to toss with the popcorn and the final product delicately crisp, not hard. If you’re doling out the popcorn to spice lovers, up the cayenne to give it even more punch.

Yield: About 3½ quarts

Total Time: 45 minutes

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Dark Chocolate–Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce: Like a Liquid Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

This sauce is perfect for spooning over ice cream or as a dip for cookies or graham crackers. Its lush, rich body and shine are the result of swirling cold butter into the chocolate mixture off the heat, just as you would to thicken a savory pan sauce. Using both cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate provides a foundation of complex flavor and richness.

Yield: 2 cups (10 to 12 servings)

Total Time: 25 minutes

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Hot Chocolate Mix: Better than Boxed

Whisked into hot milk, this mix boasts the deeply chocolaty flavor and luxurious body of European sipping chocolate, but its richness is restrained enough that you can easily indulge in a full mug's worth. The key is supplementing the cocoa powder (any type works) and bar chocolate with a combination of nonfat dry milk powder and cornstarch: Both add creamy body, and the milk powder helps mask any chalkiness from the cocoa powder. The mix can easily be halved or doubled.

Yield: 3 cups (12 servings)

Total Time: 10 minutes

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Brigadeiros: Fudgy and Festive

Many sources suggest that these dense, chocolaty, two-bite confections were popularized by Brazilian air force brigadier Eduardo Gomes's 1945 presidential campaign. Brazilian women, who had recently won the right to vote, reportedly sold the treats at his political rallies. Making them couldn’t be simpler: You cook sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter until thick; pour the mixture into a dish; chill it; and then roll it into truffle-size nuggets that can be coated in any number of fun toppings.

Yield: 30 candies

Total Time: 45 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling

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