Easy Holiday Baking on a Budget
For some, the words Cookie Exchange and Bake Sale only serve to add pressure to an already stressful time. But baking doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Over the years, I’ve learned some tricks and some recipes that make it easy for even the most timid baker with the tightest budget can still create homemade treats to share.
Here are 3 easy recipes that you can make in just a few minutes (the third one takes slightly longer) with only a few ingredients. These are everyday items so there’s no need to head to a fancy grocery store. I did most of my shopping for these easy holiday baking recipes on a budget at Giant Tiger. They have a great grocery selection and I found everything I needed for these recipes AND stocked up on other holiday pantry basics.
Festive Magic Bars
Squares are a quick and easy way to make enough for everyone. And this classic recipe has been tried and tested countless times. I’m sharing the one I make every year. It’s a slight variation from the original because I needed a recipe without nuts for the school, but I’ll make another pan later in the season with walnuts. I love the flavour of walnuts and they are generally a budget friendly choice.
Prep Time: 10 minutes plus baking time
Preheat To: 350ºF
Serving: 24 bars
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 can Regular or Low Fat sweetened condensed milk like Eagle Brand
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
- Melt the butter (I use the microwave – be sure to use a microwave safe bowl)
- Stir the graham crumbs and butter together
- Press the mixture press evenly into a parchment-lined 13×9″ baking pan.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk like Eagle Brand over the crumbs.
- Sprinkle the chips, cranberries and coconut overtop. Press down firmly.
- Bake in preheated 350ºF oven* 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. Cool thoroughly and cut into bars.
- Store loosely covered at room temperature.
Ten Minute 3 Ingredient No-Fail Fudge
Everyone loves chocolate but baking with it can be pricey and there’s nothing worse than having to throw it out if a recipe fails. This one isn’t expensive and it’s just about impossible to mess it up. Despite being the easiest fudge recipe around, people love these. I brought some to an event last night and folks were raving.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serving: about 30 pieces
10 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate (I use Bakers)
1 can (330 ml) sweetened condensed milk
4 oz white baking chocolate (I use Bakers)
- Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides and grease the foil.
- Roughly chop the semi-sweet baking chocolate.
- Place in medium sized microwaveable bowl with 2/3 can condensed milk.
- Microwave on MEDIUM for 1 min., stirring after 30 sec. Repeat if necessary.
- Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is well blended.
- Pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate while preparing the top layer.
- Roughly chop the white chocolate.
- Place in medium sized microwaveable bowl with remaining condensed milk.
- Microwave on MEDIUM for 1 min., stirring after 30 sec. Add extra time if necessary.
- Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Pour over fudge layer in pan.
- Refrigerate1 hour or until firm. Cut into squares to serve.
Cheery Marshmallow Pops
If you need a treat for New Years Eve or any party really, these chocolate sprinkle pops are a great choice. The get high points on the cute scale and they are yummy too. Traditional cake pops are a pain to make, but these are not. Using baking chocolate is key though, as you want them to be shiny and crisp.
Prep Time: 10 minutes + dipping time
Serving: about 20 pieces
1 bag regular sized marshmallows
16 oz semi-sweet chocolate (I use Bakers)
Lollipop or Cakepop sticks.
- Place the marshmallows on the sticks.
- Find a 2 glasses or containers that allow the sticks to stand, but is lower in height than the marshmallows.
- Roughly chop the semi-sweet baking chocolate. Place in medium sized microwaveable bowl.
- Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 sec. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Repeat if necessary. Ideally, the chocolate will finish melting while you’re stirring, so make sure you stir in well each time, working out the lumps with the spoon.
- Dip 6 marshmallow pops into the chocolate, one by one. Allow excess chocolate to run off the marshmallow before placing them to stand in the container without touching. (Try to place them in order, so you know which one was first).
- Go back to the first pop and add sprinkles. I like to hold the pop over a cookie sheet and drop the sprinkles on from above to avoid disturbing the chocolate. Continue this process for all 6 pops, returning them to the container as you go.
- Place container in the fridge to allow the pops to set.
- Repeat until you’ve made the desired number of pops. You may need to reheat the chocolate slightly. Use the medium setting and reheat 10 sec at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. Don’t overheat.
I hope you enjoy doing a little holiday baking this season. Let us know what you’re making. Tag us on Facebook or drop a comment below.
Melanie from mommydo.com writes about parenting, food, neat stuff and the unexpected beauty in life, all while juggling work, family life and spreading awareness and raising funds for Williams Syndrome.