Friday, December 3, 2010

Candy As Gifts

You've probably noticed that I make quite a bit of candy this time of year. I like to give hand made gifts because they aren't something that anyone can just buy somewhere. Also, my hand made gifts tend to save me money during a time of year when money needs to stretch as far as it can go.

When giving candy it's important to make sure that the candy is properly packaged. It's easy to find cute containers to put them in, but the candy should always be wrapped in something else before it's put in the cute container. If properly packaged, candy can last for weeks, unlike cookies and bread which must be eaten right away and prepared right before they are gifted.

All candies do best when put in air tight containers. Soft candies should always be stored separately from hard candies. Otherwise the moisture from the soft candies will migrate into the hard candies. Your soft candies will dry out and your hard candies will soften. Neither is palatable.

Caramels need to be individually hand wrapped in candy foils or waxed paper. Those can be put in your packaging as is or you can put them in a zippered top plastic bag before packaging. Fudge should be gifted as a block and not cut into individual pieces. Air dries fudge quickly, so wrap it either in several layers of plastic wrap or in a zippered baggie with all the air squeezed out. You want the plastic touching the fudge all the way around. I prefer baggies because it makes it easier for the recipient to keep the fudge air free while they get into the packaging.

Hard candies can be placed in plastic baggies as well, of course. Disposable/reusable plastic food storage containers make great containers for hard candies, too. The lids are tight fitting and easy to get into and seal up again. It also allows the candy some breathing space in their packaging. If you are going to put the hard candies in a paper or other non-air tight container for gift giving, like a take out box, do put it in a baggie first.

Remember that candy is very rich and dense. While you would give a large plate of cookies as a gift, hand made candy can be given in much smaller amounts. A pound of fudge may not look like much, it's a generous amount to give as a gift. The recipe I have for chocolate fudge and my other fudge recipes make about 2lbs of candy. That's enough for two gifts.

For labels, I love printable labels I download off the internet. Just Google printable gift tags. They are all over the place. You can also check out One Pretty Thing and Tip Junkie Printables for collections of tags to print. Just print, cut out, personalize, and attach to your cute container with a ribbon. Done and ready to gift.

Good luck with your gift giving. I'm working on some batches of fudge myself today. My husband asked for gifts for his coworkers and our local librarians need some fudge as well. I love giving candy and it's always well received.

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