Something to Make, Bring, and Give

Wait, wait, wait, don’t go anywhere! You’re in the right place, I swear this is Dinner: A Love Story! Even though, yes, what you are looking at is a collection of perfect candy Christmas tree lollipops topping a perfectly iced cake on a blog that once might have said that “perfect” is “the enemy of good.” Big shocker here: I had nothing to do with this. It’s the beautiful handiwork of Jodi Levine, master artist (you may remember her as the craft editor at Martha Stewart), and genius behind the cult-favorite blog Supermakeit, and two books, Candy Aisle Crafts and Paper Goods Projects. Her philosophy — you can make extraordinary creations from the most ordinary things, mostly found in the aisle of a supermarket — is one we can all get behind, and we are so lucky to have her share three crafty food ideas for the holidays: Something to Make with the Kids (those lollipops), Something to Bring to a Holiday Party (whether it’s classroom or cocktail!), and Something to Wrap Up as a Gift (hope you are not reading coaches and teachers!) Thank you Jodi!

Something to Make With The Kids: Tree Lollipops

Use different hard candies and melting times to vary the tree’s textures. Little kids can arrange the candies on a cool baking sheet. Adults and older kids can do the hot work of adding the lollipop stick or shaping the melted candy.

• wooden skewers or lollipop sticks
• red and green food coloring (optional)
• parchment paper
• green hard candies such as Jolly Ranchers, sour balls, and Life Savers. I used 5-6 hard candies for each pop
• white chocolate or white candy melts (optional)

1. For brown stick “trunks” use wooden skewers (with the pointy tips cut off with kitchen shears) and dye them in a small dish of hot water mixed with 10 drops each of red and green food coloring. Drain on a paper towel and allow to dry before using.

2. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Arrange a group candies in a tree shape.

4. For the light green Jolly Rancher pointy “Pine Tree:” Place in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove and let cool for 30 seconds to 1 minute and carefully shape it and press in a stick, twisting to cover. Place it back in to the oven for 1-2 minutes, watching the whole time and take it out when it has smoothed a bit. The lollipop will continue to smooth and spread even after removing. Allow it to cool completely on the baking sheet.

5. For the Bumpy Pops: Use 5-6 Life Savers or sour balls and melt for 4 minutes. Remove and press on a stick, twisting to cover. Put back in the oven for 1-2 minutes until it is your desired shape. Remove and let cool completely on the baking sheet.

6. For snow effect, delicately dip or spoon melted white chocolate or candy melts onto the edges. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in short increments (around 20 seconds) on low power, stirring in between increments. (The low-power setting is super important. If you melt on regular microwave settings the white chocolate will seize.)

Something to Bring to a Holiday Party: Cupcakes with Marshmallow Toppers

These trees can be made with jumbo, medium, or mixed marshmallow sizes. Use candy and sprinkles to add presents and ornaments. Below are instructions for one cupcake. Stock up on more supplies as needed.

• scissors
• 2 jumbo or 2 regular marshmallows, or 1 jumbo plus 1 regular marshmallow
• one candy stick (or a candy cane with the hook broken off)
• toothpick
• pink jumbo nonpareils sprinkles (like these) for ornaments (optional)
• 1 white frosted cupcake
• confectioners’ sugar for snow (optional)
• Starburst Fruit Chews for presents (optional)

1. To make the tree bottom, if you are using a jumbo marshmallow, trim two sides of one marshmallow at an angle to taper it, as shown. (If you are using a regular marshmallow, cut two triangular pieces off and stick the cut sticky sides together to make a cone.) Trim the top off of the tree bottom to make it sticky.

2. To make the treetop, cut two triangular pieces off the second marshmallow, and stick the cut sticky sides together to make a cone. Trim off the bottom to make it flat and sticky, and put the piece on top of the cut top edge of the tree bottom.

3. Using closed scissors, poke a hole into the bottom of the tree, and stick the straight candy stick into the tree.

4. If you’re adding ornaments, using the toothpick, poke holes evenly all over the tree. With the now-sticky toothpick, pick up the pink nonpareils and push them into the holes.

5. Dust the frosted cupcake with confectioner’s sugar “snow,” if desired, and poke the tree trunk through the frosting into the cupcake. Surround the tree with Starburst Fruit Chews “presents,” if desired.

Something to Give: Peppermint Bark Dots

These dots are inspired both by classic peppermint bark and the fruit- and nut-studded chocolate discs called mendiants, a traditional French confection. Each 4-ounce chocolate bar will make about eight to nine 2½” dots. One candy cane (or 2 peppermint candies) will make enough crushed candy topping for each bar. For gifts: Pack bark dots in cellophane bags tied with bakers twine or ribbon.

2 candy canes or 4 peppermint candies
resealable bag
2 four-ounce white chocolate bars
¼ teaspoon vegetable oil (optional)
waxed paper

1. Crush the peppermint candies by placing them in a resealable bag and hitting them with a hammer or the back of a metal spoon.

2. Break the chocolate into somewhat even pieces and put it in a stainless steel bowl. Put the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water). When the chocolate is almost melted, turn off the heat and stir until the chocolate is fully melted. Add up to ¼ teaspoon of the vegetable oil, if needed, to thin the chocolate.

3. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Spoon mounds of chocolate that are about 1½” in diameter onto the waxed paper, leaving 2″ between them. When you have filled the baking sheet, give it a little smack on the counter to smooth and flatten the mounds. Sprinkle the tops with the crushed candies.

4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to harden. Store in an airtight container, separated by layers of waxed paper, in the refrigerator.

For more everyday inspiration, follow Jodi on instagram.

PS: Remember Jodi’s Gumdrop Menorah? Last night Andy was looking at it and he said, “The amazing thing about this is that she managed to give each of those animals some personality.” He kept walking away from my computer, then coming back to it. “LOOK AT THAT OWL!”

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You could also dye the tree “trunks ” by making a very strong cup of tea if you don’t have food coloring. These are so cute and easy. Love this post. What ever you think of MS she did have a great creative talented group of people working with her.

Erin S

I made those little Jolly Rancher trees to perch atop a gingerbread bundt cake last month! The bundt pan had ripped up the top of the cake that I was planning to bring to a party, so I made some whipped mascarpone frosting and the green trees to make it pretty again. Thank you for the simple and sweet idea 🙂