Sweet Penny Treats for the Holidays

by Merissa on November 23, 2015

in Penny Treats

Homemade Penny Candy Christmas Treats

Homemade Penny Candy

By Hilary Bernstein of HilaryBernstein.com

One of my favorite parts of Little House on the Prairie is on Christmas morning, when Laura and Mary get to look in their stockings. They find new tin cups, peppermint candy sticks, heart-shaped cakes “made of pure white flour, and sweetened with white sugar,” and a bright, new penny.

“They had never even though of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny. There never had been such a Christmas.”

I often ask my children if they would only like to get an cup, a cake, a stick of candy and a penny for Christmas. (Like most children today, they wouldn’t.)

You may choose to give more at Christmas, but you also can follow the lead of the Ingalls family and give penny candy as a gift. In fact, a Mason jar filled with penny candy would make a sweet gift.

The great news is that homemade penny candy is easy and affordable to make – perfect if you’re crunched on time or money at Christmas.

Enjoy these 4 penny candy recipes this season!


Peanut Brittle

What You Need:

  • Butter (for greasing cookie sheet and metal spatula)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ cup salted peanuts


Grease a rimmed cookie sheet with butter. Grease a spatula with butter. Set both aside.

Combine 2 cups sugar, ½ cup water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over high heat, without stirring, about 3 minutes, until the sugar begins to melt and turn golden.

Continue to cook on high, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts completely and the mixture begins to turn a golden amber color. Watch carefully for the color after about 5 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in peanuts. Immediately pour the peanut mixture onto the buttered cookie sheet. Quickly spread the mixture over the baking sheet with the buttered metal spatula. Cool completely (about 15 minutes). The peanut brittle will have a glassy look when cooled. Break brittle into pieces.


Chocolate Pretzel Kisses

What You Need:

  • Bag of mini pretzel twists
  • Bag of Hershey’s Kisses or similar candy
  • Bag of M&Ms or similar candy


Place pretzels on a cookie sheet. Top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes. Quickly take the cookie sheet out of the oven and gently press an M&M candy on top of each softened Hershey’s Kiss. Cool and enjoy!



What You Need:

  • 3 cups chocolate chips
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Over low heat, melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk in a heavy saucepan.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Spread evenly into a buttered 8- or 9- inch baking dish.

Chill until firm. (This should take 1 to 2 hours.) Cut into bite-sized squares and enjoy!

Note: First Day of Snow Fudge is a favorite tradition in my home!


Peppermint Bites

What You Need:

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract


In a large mixing bowl, stir together 3 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon softened butter and 3 cups powdered sugar. Once the mixture comes together in a ball, add the peppermint extract and mix to incorporate the flavor into the dough.

Sprinkle powdered sugar on work surface. Place dough on surface and knead dough. Roll dough into ropes, then cut into small pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Roll each ball in powdered sugar.

Place dough balls on waxed paper. Flatten each ball with a fork, then stand 2 hours or until dry.

Variation: Once the candy is dry, you can create your own peppermint patties by covering each ball in melted chocolate.


Other candy recipes

You also may want to whip up other Little House Living candy recipes:

Hilary Bernstein is a Christ follower, wife, mama and writer who believes homemaking should be simple ... not stressful. She writes about creating a happy, healthy home at HilaryBernstein.com.. Hilary's the author of several healthy living eBooks.

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8:00 am

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenny November 23, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Rolo candies also work well for the pretzel bites, adding a bit of caramel to them. I’ve also used animal crackers in place of the pretzels and pecans in place of the m&m. I think my favorite combo is pretzel, rolo, pecan, kind of like the turtles candy.


2 Jackie in Canada December 4, 2015 at 9:38 am

Just a couple of questions about the Peppermint Bites. Do they need to be stored in the fridge? How long do they keep when dipped in chocolate? I don’t want to make them too early for gift giving & have them spoil.


3 Merissa December 4, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Yes, since they have butter and cream cheese in them they would be best stored in the fridge. I would say make them no more than a week in advance.


4 FromAcorns December 7, 2015 at 10:10 am

Thanks for sharing all of these lovely sweetie ideas. Two of my girls have been reading Little House in the Big Woods recently so I want to share this post with them. Your extract about the Ingalls girls’ stocking contents really brings perspective doesn’t it?! I have made the same recipe for fudge before, and can back up how yummy it is! I keep meaning to try it with whipped coconut cream instead of condensed milk but have never yet got around to it… must make a note to give it a whirl these holidays. Oh and your peanut brittle looks amazing – I love its dark glassiness and I’ll bet it has a real treacly flavour. Thanks again!


5 Kari Wagner Hoban November 30, 2016 at 7:32 am

We make candy like this every year! I love it because it doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, it’s easy to make and so yummy.


6 Sandra L Garth November 30, 2016 at 5:50 pm

I haven’t made much candy but all of these recipes look like something my family would love. Happy to have found you via Wonderful Wednesday’s.


7 angie December 2, 2016 at 7:11 pm

Love those simple Christmas gifts but oh so powerful. We have all had those Christmas surprises I love them and I am sure you did as well. Your candy all looks awesome


8 Marie December 7, 2016 at 7:17 am

I love homemade peanut brittle! It’s the best! Thanks for sharing your candy recipes with us at Merry Monday this week!


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