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How to Make an Edible Hard Candy Tray as a Gift

I write about my love of cooking and trying out new recipes that come to me via family or an old cookbook.

Peppermint Candy Tray

Peppermint Candy Tray

Edible Hard Candy Tray

Instead of buying a tin or seasonal patterned tray that everyone will just put somewhere and maybe use, or possibly regift, try this simple candy tray for your home baked goodies. This tray is simple to make and can include all of the children in the family. Better yet, your recipient can break it apart, place the bits in a candy dish, and eat it.

Getting the whole family involved in making these candy trays can be an excellent way to spend an evening together. Each person can get a lined pan and begin to make all kinds of designs from various candies. The end result is that each tray will be unique. The children will get to spend time with the family doing a holiday craft and will learn some very basic baking techniques.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

11 min

26 min

1 Hard Candy Tray


  • 18 ounces hard candy of your choice, wrapped

How to Make A Hardy Candy Tray

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Remember to bring the paper up above the height of the hard candy that you will be using.
  2. Unwrap the hard candies. Place them in seperate dishes if using various patterned candies.
  3. Make any pattern using the hard candies. Once you have the look you want, start to line the bottom of the baking pan. The candies will melt together, so do not worry about small spaces in between each piece of candy.
  4. Bake for 7 minutes and check to see if the candies have been melted together. If they have not melted together, bake for an additional 2 minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and place it onto a wire cooling rack. In about 10 minutes, you should be able to lift the candy tray out of the pan. Peel off the paper.
  6. Place the hard candy tray down on a smooth surface to finish cooling. Depending on the size you have made, you can use a trivet, dinner plate, cookie sheet or even a serving platter.

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Ingredients for an edible hard candy tray

Ingredients for an edible hard candy tray

Create your design before baking.

Create your design before baking.

The tray is done once all the candies have melted.

The tray is done once all the candies have melted.

Allow to cool and now your edible candy tray is done!

Allow to cool and now your edible candy tray is done!

Tips and Tricks

I experimented with a few different types of candies before I found what really works. Some candies will have a great color pattern, but will not stand up to being heated in the oven. I loved a nougat pattern that had Christmas trees in it, but all the nougat candy did was bubble up and distort the image I was looking for. The nougat never quite hardened, and in turn, this left a soft spot in the tray I was making.

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The other thing I found out while experimenting is that flavor matters. Peppermint does not taste very good with melted butterscotch. Cherry is also not a good complimenting flavor. It may look spectacular, but the taste is awful.

I also learned just because you have waxed paper on hand, does not mean it will suit the purpose. The wax paper actually stuck to the candies and made it near impossible to get all of the paper off. Use parchment paper. It works and saves you a lot of time from trying to peel off the waxed paper.

The aluminum cooking pan that you use can be any size that you want. I use an 8x8, (1 1/2-inch in height) pan. I find it to be the perfect size for the baked goods I give as gifts each year. If you are baking for a family, you may want to use a bigger pan or even a pizza pie pan. Just make sure the pan you use has sides high enough to contain the melting candies.

The nougat remained soft after melted, rendering the tray useless.

The nougat remained soft after melted, rendering the tray useless.

Candy Tray Gift Ideas

  • Teacher appreciation
  • Yankee Swaps
  • Give it to the mail person
  • Send one to your neighbor
  • Bring it to a party
  • Give it to a coworker
  • Use it as a tray for Santa Cookies
Butterscotch candies ready for the oven.

Butterscotch candies ready for the oven.

Edible tray to use as a gift.

Edible tray to use as a gift.

Butterscotch Candy Tray

To make this tray, I line a bread pan with parchment paper.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Add in the butterscotch candies. You can use broken pieces to fill in any gaps.
  3. Check on pan after 8 minutes. Add an additional 2 minutes if not melted.
  4. Remove from oven.
  5. Let pan cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  6. Lift out parchment paper to remove edible tray.
  7. Tray should finish cooling on a flat surface.
  8. If needed, you can trim off edges with scissors while the candy is still warm and flexible.

Butterscotch edible trays can be the base to compliment homemade shortbread.

Finishing Touches

  • Cut a piece of thick cardboard to fit the bottom of the candy tray and trim a piece of parchment paper to fit on top of the cardboard.
  • Place the cardboard in the bottom of the cellophane gift bag then the parchment paper.
  • Place the completely cooled candy tray on top of the parchment paper. Begin to stack the baked goods on tray.
  • Pull the cellophane gift bag around the baked goods and tie the bag off with a twist tie or piece of cooking string. This is used only to seal off the bag.
  • Attach a ribbon and bow over the twist tie or string to finish off your package.
  • I use a tag that has to and from on one side and on the other side has information about all of the items contained in the bag. I do this just in case the recipient or their family has food allergies I am not aware of. For example:

Please enjoy all of the baked goods in this bag.

Your gift contains, chocolate chip bars, anise cookies, snickerdoodles and a edible candy tray made from peppermint candies. When you are ready to eat it, just tap the tray with your hand and the tray should fall into bits. If the tray doesn't fall apart, use the end of a wooden spoon to hit the tray just a bit harder. Be careful not to smash it into shards. Enjoy & Merry Christmas!

© 2013 Susan McLeish

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