Treat Basket DIY And Recipes
Hello everyone. It is the beginning of the new year and several awesome holidays have just barely passed. I hope everyone had a wonderful time with family and friends. I have been quite busy settling in to a new apartment, which paritally explains my absence in recent weeks, but I did make some time to get together with my cousins Tony and Cory to combine our efforts into making treat baskets for the family for christmas.
As a quick DIY that you could use for any occasion or any other holiday, I’ll just show you the process we used to put together the treat baskets.
What To Make
It took us a little bit to settle on the right items to include in our baskets because at first we were going overboard and wanting to do quite a lot. It’s hard to pick! We love treats around here. But eventually, we settled on these:
- Pretzel sticks with meltable candy
- Cookies (diabetic sugar cookies, carob chip cookies, and chocolate chip cookies)
- Hot cocoa mix with marshmallows
- Candy canes
- Crochet Coffee Sleeves
We didn’t leave it just like that, though! Nope. We decorated the little baskets to look like Santa Claus’s belly. The instructions for that are below.
Stuff You Need
Now, to get you started, let me just make you a list of the items you’ll need to get for everything. We made 15 baskets total and approximately 40 people, so estimate roughly for your own needs.
For the Pretzel Candies:
- Large Pretzel Sticks (I found the larger tubs at CVS)
- Meltable Candy (I bought them at Jo-Ann’s and Michaels)
- Candy Molds (at Jo-Ann’s)
- Disposable Candy Decorating Bags (at Jo-Ann’s)
For the Hot Cocoa:
- Regular 16 oz Mason Jars (at Jo-Ann’s or Target)
- Hot Cocoa Powder of your choice
- Optional — Carob Powder for those who are allergic to chocolate (we used Bob’s Red Mill Toasted Carob Powder)
For the Cookies:
I would recommend using a recipe of your own choice; after all, no one knows your family and friends better than you. But I will include the cookie recipe I use for the chocolate chip cookies. I’ve had this since high school, but for the life of me, I just can’t remember where I got it. Anyway, use it if you’d like to as a basic recipe for all kinds of cookies, just take out the chips and add peanut butter, oatmeal, nuts, the carob chips, or fruit bits instead. Your choice!
- 3/4 c. White Granulated Sugar
- 3/4 c. Brown Sugar
- 2 1/4 c. All-purpose Flour
- 2 Sticks of Butter (or 2 Sticks of Vegan Butter; we use Earth Balance)
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 Bag of 12 oz Semisweet Chocolate Chips (or Carob Chips; we used Sun Spire Vegan Carob Chips; this could be substituted out for other items to make a different kind of cookie)
I’ll also include the altered recipe we used for the diabetic sugar cookies. It took us a bit of effort to get this to work to our taste, but I rather liked the results. The original recipe can be found on Splenda’s website. But this is a slightly altered version that worked better for us.
- 1 1/2 c. Splenda
- 2 1/2 Sticks of Butter (or Butter substitute, such as Earth Balance or Margarine)
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 3/4 c. To 4 c. All-purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
For the Crochet Coffee Sleeve:
- Size “K” Hook
- Worsted Weight Yarn in desired colors
For the Santa Basket:
- Red Basket, tub, bucket, or box (we found ours in the Dollar Store)
- White Ribbon (make it wide, at least 7/8th inch)
- Black Ribbon (make it thinner than the white one, at least 5/8th inch)
- Gold or Yellow Ribbon (make it as thin as or thinner than the black one)
- Glue or Double-sided Tape
Instructions For Everything
So let’s get started! I’ll start with a few notes to consider first.
- You can customize all these items to your liking. One way is to be sure to make note of who has food allergies to grab substitutes. Another way is to use the colors you want for the coffee sleeves. And another is to use a different color basket and ribbons to symbolize a different holiday, such as green for St. Patrick’s Day or perhaps blue as a Marine dress uniform for Veterans Day.
- Plan ahead of time and spread out these crafts so you aren’t rushing at the end…like I did. That was a crazy mess. Start with the crochet sleeves and the baskets. Next, set up the hot cocoa jars and pretzel candies. And lastly, make the perishable items last, so they’ll be fresh when you give the treat basket away.
- Remember to start by cleaning and drying your candy molds.
- Detailed instructions for melting candy can be found here on a previous blog post with meltable candies, one for a St. Patrick’s Day DIY. But basically, melt the candy in the microwave in short bursts of time in the disposable decorating bags.
- Spread the melted candy into the mold, filling it almost fully. Be sure to push it into all the grooves so that you can avoid having little air bubbles when it hardens.
- Use one pretzel stick per mold. Carefully push the stick down into place, about half way down. Then rotate it slowly so that the stick is covered all the way around with melted candy. Do this for all the molds.
- Set it aside to harden. I stuck mine in the freezer for a few minutes while I worked on the next candy mold.
- Make as many as you need; we made about 70 pretzel candies for 15 households. That averaged out to about 2 pretzels per person. But it’s up to you how many you want to make.
- Remember to start by cleaning and drying your mason jars.
- Fill your jars about half way full with hot cocoa mix. I’ve also seen baking cocoa used with powdered non-dairy creamer and a thin layer of sugar.
- Fill the last half of the jar with marshmallows.
- Optional — instead of cocoa mix, you can use carob powder for those who have chocolate allergies. We made 2 jars like this and marked them with ribbons to tell them apart.
Start with the Diabetic Splenda Sugar Cookies.
- Make your dough first. Start with the butter, softening it in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.
- Add the eggs and vanilla next.
- When blended, add your dry ingredients one at a time and mix thoroughly with each addition.
- Refrigerate the dough for about an hour, or until it is just a little firm.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to give the cookies shape. Or, you can do what I did; make small balls, about 1 inch thick then flatten them to about 1/2 in thick.
- Cook for 12-14 minutes.
Next the Chocolate Chip Cookies.
- You can make this dough while the Splend dough is chilling in the fridge.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you make your cookie dough.
- Soften the butter 10-15 seconds in the microwave.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
- One by one, add the dry ingredients, saving the chocolate chips for last.
- When everything is mixed and smooth, go ahead and add your chips (or peanut butter, fruits, oatmeal, etc.).
- Grab about 1 tbs worth of dough, roll it into a ball in your hand, and place it on the cookie sheet, pressing down slightly to flatten the ball a little.
- Bake for 10-13 minutes. I prefer about 12 minutes so they’re just a little crunchy.
Crochet Coffee Cozy:
For the crocheted sleeves, I used a pattern I have already published. You can find it here, on a Mothers’ Day blog post. Go ahead and make as many as you like for your family.
- Start with your white ribbon. Measure from the top rim of the basket to the bottom. Cut ribbons to that length. I used two per basket to show the white “fur” trim of Santa Claus’s coat. Stick them on with glue or tape. I used double-sided tape because it was faster and gives the recipient the option to remove it more easily and use the basket later as they wish.
- Next use black ribbon. This will be placed all the way around the basket to be the black belt Santa uses. I recommend placing tape or glue in strategic places as you go around to make sure it stays in place. I also recommend cutting the ribbon and doing about 4 strips of it total as you go around, that will avoid the ribbon bunching up if, like mine, your baskets are sloped and wider at the top than the bottom.
- Then use the gold ribbon. This is the buckle of the belt. Measure and cut small strips of the ribbon to frame a little of the black belt ribbon. I cut two 3-inch strips (for the top and bottom of the buckle) and two 2-inch strips (for the sides of the buckle). Be sure to line this up over the white and black ribbons to show that this is the “front” of your Santa belly basket.
If you want to use filling of some kind to cushion the items in the basket, go for it. Ours were too full, so we couldn’t spare the space. But I would recommend it because it gives you something to stick the items into to keep them from sliding around. However you choose to label the baskets will work fine too, maybe a little note tied to the handle. Anyway, enjoy the recipes and the DIY ideas!