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I’m just as likely as the next person to eat a frozen pizza for dinner (three nights in a row…) so people are often surprised when I turn around and tell them that I like to bake semi-complicated things from scratch. They could also be surprised because I don’t identify as the “domestic type” (whatever that means).
These people underestimate how much I really, really love food. Not in a millennial foodie way, but in a cookie-monster-esque way that extends to other foods, like fresh-baked cinnamon rolls. Or a hot pot of chili. Or warm homemade biscuits with gravy. Or, as it would happen, good, old-fashioned, church-lady Christmas candy.
As luck would have it, I’m also declaring it “self-care” because hobbies and the like are good for you. We say so. Research says so. As luck would also have it, there’s some seriously delicious candy that is seriously easy to make.
My uncle’s mother-in-law (say that five times fast) makes these peanut clusters every year and brings them to family things and every year I eat them like a racoon eating out of a trash can. That’s right — desperately shoving them into my face like they’ll cure rabies.
Finally, I decided, screw it — I’ll ask for the recipe and make some. I don’t care how hard it is! That’s when they ‘fessed up and told me they make it IN A CROCKPOT. Long story finally shortened, I’m making some right now. While I write this article.
Yes, you can just buy chocolate-covered pretzels, but if you’re going to do that, why are you reading this article? You can make homemade dipped pretzels with a microwave, some melting chocolate (chocolate chips, special melting wafers, white chocolate chips, whatever), and pretzels. You melt the chocolate/candy/whatever coating, dip the pretzels, and then lay them on wax paper to dry.
Pro tip? Pretzel rods are the easiest because then you have a built-in handle for dipping and you avoid getting chocolate on your hands. If you want to be fancy, add sprinkles or use extra morsels to make a pretty drizzle. And make me a batch, too, k?
This is a year-round classic. By which I mean that I make this year round and other people think that’s weird but eat the fudge anyway.
I’m going to link to a recipe, but you won’t need it because you literally just mix one can of vanilla frosting and one bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and then you microwave it for 30 seconds at a time until it’s all melted and mixed. Then you put it in a pan and wait for it to set.
Best part? It will actually set every single time. (For the people out there who aren’t 87 at heart, sometimes real, made-in-a-double-boiler-on-a-stove-top fudge sometimes just won’t harden correctly. It’s maddening).
The first year my granny made these, we looked at her like she was crazy. Sugary graham crackers just didn’t sound like they’d hold up to the glory of true Christmas candy. Of course, this story ends with us trying it and realizing that Granny was right all along.
If you don’t like pecans, you can leave them off and in my opinion, they’re still delicious. Because without the pecans, they’re just buttery, sugary, graham crackers.
If you don’t like chocolate or are allergic to peanuts, you’re going to notice pretty quickly that this article features a lot of chocolate and/or peanuts/butter. That’s because you can put peanuts and chocolate in a blender, garbage can, freezer, crock pot, whatever and it still tastes awesome. Sorry, this is just the life I know.
Anyway, now that I’ve officially said #sorrynotsorry, check this stuff out. Ya melt chocolate chips, then ya melt peanut butter chips and peanut butter and drizzle it on top. The hardest part is making the drizzle look pretty. Actually, that’s the second hardest part. The actual hardest part is breaking the cooled bark into effortlessly-pretty pieces, much like putting your hair into an artfully careless messy bun.