December 14, 2011

All good things come dipped in chocolate -- easy homemade gift ideas

Chocolate dipped pretzels are almost as easy to make as they are to eat.
Looking for ideas for quick homemade thank-you gifts for the teachers in your lives?  Make chocolate coating to dip and decorate pretzels, crackers, or your favorite safe snack.  You can dip cookies (homemade or store-bought) for an easy way to dress them up for a special occasion.  I only half-dip.  It looks more elegant and it's a lot neater and easier!

Chocolate Coating

12 oz. bag of dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips (For soy-free, use Enjoy Life semisweet chips)
3 Tbsp vegetable shortening (Use Spectrum Organic Shortening if you need a soy-free shortening.)
Decorations such as sprinkles, non-pareils, cocoa, or crushed bits of candy canes
  1. Line jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Open shakers of decorations or prepare small bowls with decorations and spoons.
  2. Set 1/4 cup of chocolate chips aside.  Cook remaining chips and shortening in a double boiler over low heat.  If you don't use a double boiler, put the chips and shortening in a glass bowl that sits in a pot of an inch or two of water, being careful that no water will bubble into the bowl.  You can also microwave the chips and shortening for about 2 minutes, checking and stirring the chips every 30 seconds to prevent burning or seizing.
  3. Stir chips and shortening frequently over low heat until the mixture starts to melt.  Stir until there are almost no lumps remaining in the bowl.  Then turn off heat and add in remaining 1/4 cup of chips.  Stir until melted and smooth.
  4. If coating is too thick, melt in more shortening.  If it's too thin, melt in more chips.
  5. Dip foods one by one into chocolate mixture. 
  6. Place dipped items on a parchment-lined pan.  Drizzle non-pareils, sprinkles, crushed candies or whatever your decoration of choice.
  7. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until chocolate is completely hardened.  Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

 I added peppermint oil to make the treats more festive.  Experiment by pairing the chocolate coating with different salty snacks.  I dipped some tortilla chips in an effort to use up some excess coating and thus created an interesting new gluten-free treat!
Tortilla rounds look lovely after dipping.

Not too lovely for devouring!

You can also drizzle the melted chocolate over snack foods.  This works well with popcorn.  Again, refrigerate until chocolate is hardened.  Break the popcorn into small pieces and store airtight in a cool place.

Enjoy making these treats and try to save some for your intended recipients!


  1. I love these treat/gift ideas! Maybe I will attempt them for Tristan's class party. They're sure to be a big hit! Thanks!

  2. This is a great idea, I think I have tried to put almost every kind of food into chocolate. My favorites are chocolate covered spoons for hot chocolate, pretzels, pineapple and oreos.

  3. All good things come dipped in chocolate indeed. I'm a chocoholic :0)

    I give chocolate-peanutbutter truffles as gifts and they are a big hit. I know - most of you hear truffles and say - it's a lot of work...

    I have a secret I'd like to share with you -
    I put the melted chocolate peanutbutter mix in a square silicone baking mold and put it in the freezer for atleast a night.

    Then I take it out of the mold, cut it into little squares.

    I put some cocoa powder in a plastic box - put 5-10 squares in it, close it and shake it. Then I take each truffle out and put it in a paper cupcake cup -

    That's it - 10 nimute to melt the chocolate and the peanut butter and 10 minutes to cut it!