Break out of the box with holiday treats this season

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Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Come holiday time, ovens in America get a little worn out with the constant cooking of turkeys, side dishes and desserts. And that still leaves the cook wondering what to make for the work parties, holiday get-togethers and cookie swaps that fill up the winter months. 

Don’t fret. If in need of a quick holiday gift this season, there are quite a few no-bake sweet treat options to spread some cheer. Don’t resort to buying anything already made or ready-to-bake. Pre-packaged sugar cookies with pictures of snowmen emblazoned on top of them are old news.

Instead, think outside the box this holiday season and throw away the roll-and-slice cookie dough stuck in the back of the freezer. Steering clear of the oven is easy with simple recipes that will surprise and delight at any party. 

Cake balls are a fun option for those with a real sweet tooth. Purchase a bag of the holiday Circus Animal frosted cookies — those red and green cookies that suddenly disappear after eating just one. Grind them up in a food processor or just put them in a Ziploc bag and take a hammer to them. Then, add a can of fluffy white frosting and mix it all up. Form round balls of joy, refrigerate and then coat in white chocolate.  

For those with slightly less sugary wants, pretzel sticks are another easy option. Find a bag of pretzel rods at the local grocery store, dip them about two-thirds of the way up in white chocolate and then decorate accordingly. 

Peppermint candy cane bits are a great option to really make them look festive. Put them in goodie bags tied with red ribbon, and, just like that, a delectable treat is ready to be gifted. 

Lastly, everyone’s favorite gets a remake for the holiday season. Puppy chow becomes holiday chow with a few adjustments to what is normally a heavy, chocolate-filled recipe. It will look like the most delicious mound of snow at the end. 

Start off by melting a combination of butter, white chocolate and Biscoff in a saucepan. Biscoff is basically the cinnamon cousin of Nutella — the cousin you actually like at family reunions — and adds a little spice to balance out the decadence of white chocolate. Once the mixture is smooth, remove it from heat and pour it over a large bowl already filled with Rice Chex, pretzels and dried cranberries. Feel free to add nuts if wanted — pecans or almonds would be good options. 

Stir all of the deliciousness together, making sure everything is coated in the Biscoff mixture. Next, transfer it all to a container, add powdered sugar, close the container and shake to coat. At the end of it all, a winter wonderland of chow is ready to be gifted. Take everything up a notch by purchasing a nice pie plate as the chow container. Who wouldn’t want a pie plate filled with holiday chow? 

So, don’t stress out about finding the perfect gifts for friends and holiday-party hosts this season. Food is always the answer, especially when an oven isn’t needed. Just add a little creativity and love, and a delightful treat awaits.

Ingredients:
- 6 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 cup white chocolate melting chips
- ⅓ cup creamy Biscoff
- 6 cups Rice Chex
- 1 cup pretzels
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
- Mix Chex, pretzels and cranberries in a large bowl.
- Melt butter, white chocolate and Biscoff in a saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth. Pour over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
-Transfer to large container and add powdered sugar. Close container and shake until everything is coated.
-Remove any excess powdered sugar and enjoy.