16 Christmas Barks and Brittles to Bake All Season Long

Salty-Sweet Nut Brittle
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Holiday baking is full of sentimental moments and nostalgic recipes. Some families bake the same chocolate chip cookie recipe for Santa every year. Others faithfully recreate the gorgeous white cake that graced that December's cover of Southern Living. And plenty can't imagine a holiday season without the slice-n-bake Christmas cookies from the grocery store (even the best Southern bakers are guilty of this).

For decades, Christmas barks and brittles have been part of Southern holiday traditions, and it's easy to see the allure of these simple desserts. Christmas barks and brittles are giftable, easy to make, and absolutely delicious. With as little as three or four ingredients and often no baking required, Christmas bark is attainable for even the most novice bakers, and it makes it a great dessert to create with the kids while they're out of school. A few pieces of Christmas bark thoughtfully wrapped make the cutest gifts, too.

Since Christmas barks and brittles keep well, you can make several large batches and hold onto them until you need a last-minute teacher, neighbor, hostess, or drop-by guest gift throughout the season. If making Christmas bark with your family isn't already part of your holiday schedule this year, you should add it to the list.

01 of 16

Milk Chocolate-Peppermint Bark

Milk Chocolate-Peppermint Bark
Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Recipe: Milk Chocolate-Peppermint Bark

This Christmas classic is so simple to make for all your neighbors and friends this season. To create this holiday staple, combine white chocolate chips, chocolate chunks (or milk chips), crushed peppermint candy, and some peppermint extract. You don't even need an oven for this classic treat.

02 of 16

Classic Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle
Charles Walton

Recipe: Classic Peanut Brittle

No Southerner has ever been unhappy to receive a tin of classic homemade peanut brittle around the holidays. Using a candy thermometer can help avoid burning the sugar. This old-fashion treat is a beloved tradition you should add to your family's to-do list this season.

03 of 16

Mixed Nut Brittle

Salty-Sweet Nut Brittle
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Mixed Nut Brittle

This perfectly salty and sweet treat travels well, so you can bring some to every relative you visit on your Christmas road trip. Switch up your brittle by adding toasted pecan halves and pistachios to one mixture and pumpkins seeds to a second. The flaky finishing salt tops this candy blend.

04 of 16

Cracker Toffee

Cracker Toffee
Abbi Wilt

Recipe: Cracker Toffee

Would you believe this delicious snack starts with a sleeve of saltine crackers? Chocolate morsels and brown sugar have a way of sweetening up any recipe. This cracker-based snack, topped with pecans, has a delightful texture.

05 of 16

Southern Pecan Pralines

Southern Pecan Pralines
Southern Living

Recipe: Southern Pecan Pralines

One of the South's most iconic candies, pecan pralines are easy to make, but be sure you have a candy thermometer for guaranteed success. This classic candy, made from mostly pantry staples, is great when you need to whip up something sweet—mimicking round cookies. A pecan praline is a bite-size Christmas masterpiece.

06 of 16

Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy

Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy
Ralph Anderson, Charles Walton IV / Styling Mindi Shapiro Levine, Rose Nguyen / Food Styling Marian Cooper Cairns, Angela Sellers

Recipe: Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy

This homemade candy seamlessly blends salty and sweet with just four ingredients. Start by placing chopped pecans on a tray and toasting them for around 10 minutes. After, alternate bittersweet and white chocolate baking bars in a checkerboard pattern. Top with coarse sea salt, and you have a flawless gift to share or a snack to enjoy with your family.

07 of 16

Pecan Toffee

Pecan Toffee Recipes
Southern Living

Recipe: Pecan Toffee

Don't waste your money on store-bought treats this Christmas. This recipe only takes four ingredients for a homemade candy that is sure to impress your friends. Store it in an airtight container to enjoy this decadent candy throughout the season.

08 of 16

Buttermilk-Pecan Pralines

Buttermilk-Pecan Pralines
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Buttermilk-Pecan Pralines

This New Orleans favorite is always a must-bake during the holidays. Measure your bourbon and pecans before starting so you can easily continue to stir while slowly adding the ingredients to the mixture. Use a wooden spoon to scoop out praline portions onto a baking sheet or paper baking cups.

09 of 16

Mississippi Mud Medallions

Mississippi Mud Medallions
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Mississippi Mud Medallions

These four-ingredient bites are an easy snack to make with the kids while they're out of school this season. If espresso beans aren't your thing, you can substitute them for mini marshmallows. This swap creates a recipe for a s'more-like candy.

10 of 16

Pecan-Toffee Shortbread

Pecan-Toffee Shortbread
Southern Living

Recipe: Pecan-Toffee Shortbread

A simple shortbread base separates this festive toffee recipe from its counterparts. If you plan for a lot of holiday baking, toast extra pecans and store them covered in the refrigerator for the next time you bake.

11 of 16

Jessica B. Harris' Peanut Brittle

Jessica’s Peanut Brittle
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Jessica B. Harris' Peanut Brittle

You can never have too much peanut brittle around the holidays. The combination of unsalted butter, sugar, baking soda, and raw shelled peanuts without skins is about as simple as it gets. This dessert treat is perfect for hostess gifts or to bring to your next holiday event.

12 of 16

Stained Glass Candy

stained glass candy
Photographer: Frederick Hardy II, Food Stylist: Margaret Dickey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

Recipe: Stained Glass Candy

Peppermint candy in a festive red color? Sign us up. You can double the batch and make a green to pair with this adorable treat. This candy is sure to be sweet because it's mainly sugar, corn syrup, and peppermint extract.

13 of 16

Toffee Candy

Toffee Candy
Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

Recipe: Toffee Candy

These 10 ingredients will help you make the best toffee candy of the holiday season. Kick this recipe's flavoring up a notch by adding cinnamon and instant espresso granules. After breaking this toffee into pieces, store it in an airtight container for up to seven days.

14 of 16

Texas Peanut Patties

Peanut Patties
Courtesy Texas Tea Cake Company

Recipe: Texas Peanut Patties

This old-fashioned candy is perfect for your next holiday party, using as gifts, or even bringing to a cookie exchange. It's similar to peanut brittle but with a softer texture. Under a hard caramelized shell, the peanut patty mixture contains only six ingredients.

15 of 16

Homemade Turtles

Homemade Turtles
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Homemade Turtles

Turtles are the ideal candy when you can't choose between chewy caramel and sweet chocolate. Plus, adding toasted pecans makes this sweet treat practically irresistible. Measure your ingredients ahead of time so you can continuously stir and prepare to scoop out the mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

16 of 16

Homemade Pralines

Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Homemade Pralines

Pralines are classic Southern candies. For a thick and chewy variety, swap the molasses for dark corn syrup and heavy cream for the milk in this praline recipe.

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