baking

Small DIY Gifts Go A Long Way

It is officially 12 days until my favorite holiday of the year, which means that I always get super excited when personalizing gifts I am giving to people. Last year, it was so difficult for me to think of gifts for my coworkers. I was a manager at the time, so I had about 20 people to buy things for. I like to stay on budget, especially this time of year (I have a bad habit of swiping my credit card for Christmas gifts, I hope I’m not the only one). I also have a pretty big family, so there are a lot of people that I get things for. I thought of inexpensive gifts that the associates would appreciate. I decided to make hot chocolate cupcakes on Christmas Eve for everyone as well as chocolate covered pretzels. Here’s how I personalized them.

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Do they look like hot chocolate? I think so. The majority of the items I needed were available at my local supermarket. However, the Christmas-themed baking cups were on sale at Michaels and I bought the box to carry them in there as well. I suggest you check that store out for all their sales (you might stay there for a while with all the ideas that pop up in your head as you walk through the aisles, but trust me, it’s totally worth it).

My local supermarket sells mason jars, but I saw cute patterned ones at the discount store in my area, so I bought a few of those. As I waited for the cupcakes to cool before putting on the frosting, I worked on the pretzels.

 

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All you need is about 2 or 3 bags of pretzels, depending on how many people you are giving them to. And I buy Wilton Candy Melts (also available at your local Michaels). They have a variety of colors to choose from, perfect for any occasion. I melted the chocolate by using two pots, one bigger than the other. As the bigger pot boiled a cup or two of water, I added the chocolate into the smaller pot and stirred the chocolate until it melted. If you’re trying this for the first time, please be cautious. If the chocolate is left over the heat for too long or if water ends up in the pot where the chocolate is, the chocolate hardens. That is not what you want.

After the chocolate melted in the smaller pot, I removed it from my stove top. I then threw a hand full of pretzels in the chocolate and stirred it to completely cover the pretzels. I like to put the pretzels in the fridge for a little bit after laying them out on a plate. This way, the chocolate dries faster.

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This is an example from another project I was working on, but a way to decorate the pretzels could be to make a drizzle effect by placing a little bit of white chocolate in a piping bag (or a ziploc bag) before cutting a small hole and squeezing it onto the plate of pretzels. I put colorful sprinkles on my pretzels instead of this.

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This is the one I gave my boyfriend for Christmas, so it’s a bigger mason jar. This was what the finished product looked like. I put a ribbon around it and wrote little notes for my coworkers. They really loved them. I remember one of the associates thought it was cookies, and they were complimenting me on how irresistible they were. The combination of the sweet and salty tasted amazing.

Are there any ideas that you have of inexpensive gifts that go a long way? Share in the comments!

 

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