Christmas Baking Made Simple

Every year, like so many others, I try and do some holiday crafting or baking  for co-workers, visiting teaching and home teaching people. Like last year, when I had too many dietary restrictions in the office, I crafted up these cute little succulents gifts (and made some zucchini bread for those who ate bread).

The year before I spent hours and hours making these mini apple pies in small mason jars. These were so adorable (but time taking)!

(You can certainly tell when I use my camera phone and when I use my real camera can't you? I really should bust out my real camera more often!)

This year, however, I was  really feeling the pressure because I didn't really have the time to spend on something that would require a lot of effort or time. This is when my Mom came to the rescue. Of course. Every year for Christmas she makes us Cereal Candy (basically one of those Chex mix recipes) to munch on during Christmas day. Everyone LOVES it, and it usually doesn't last the day it's eaten up so quickly. So, she gave me the recipe and let the secret out of the bag, this stuff is easy and quick to make. Even I could do it!

So, I rushed out to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients and some cute containers, rushed home,  put it together, made the packaging cute-ish, and was done with EVERYTHING in about an hour. And this stuff makes A LOT, so I was able to cross off tons of people in one fell swoop! Have to love that. Thank.You.Mom!

I bought a couple of classic red tins and the Dollar Tree and adorned them with some green ribbon and left over gift tags from a few years ago for the people I work with. For visiting teaching and home teaching people I bought a few of those 4 packs of tupperware from the Dollar Tree. Then I just used the circle label that came with them to cut out cute festive tops from scraps of last years wrapping paper, put the paper in place with a couple of glue dots, tied a ribbon and tag on, and it was done.

Sure, it's not the cutest or most creative idea out there, but this definitely worked for me this year when I was in a pinch. Besides, I would be totally stoked to get a nice red tin full of Cereal Candy goodness! Sometimes I think I get carried away and believe whatever I give out has to be ubber creative or painstakingly made with sweat and tears. It was very refreshing this year to have my Christmas crafting/baking completed so easily!

Here is the recipe from my mom with a few extra instructions from me if anyone else is in a pinch and wants to give it a go, or just wants to melt into a delicious holiday snack.
Cereal Candy

Mix in a large bowl: (I used 2 bowls and split the mix, so easier to cover with sweet stuff)

1 large box Golden Graham Cereal
1 large box Corn Chex Cereal
1 package Coconut (reg. size)
1 16oz. jar Salted Dry Roasted Peanuts (or any other kind of nuts you like)

Boil for 3 minutes:
(I pre-melted the butter a bit before I put it in the pot to make things go faster. Once everything comes to a boil set a clock and boil it for 3 minutes exactly.)

3 cubes real Butter
2 cups Sugar
2 cups (16oz. jar) Karo Syrup

Pour over cereal mix until fully coated. Put in container and cover.  Enjoy your free time.

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