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Candies: A holiday hit

Homemade treats add a tasty, decorative flair to the season’s meals and parties

November 26, 2019
By Jean Teller - Grit Magazine , Farm News

By JEAN TELLER

Grit Magazine

During my childhood years, Thanksgiving and Christmas were major events at our house. My parents often hosted the holiday dinners that drew relatives from other towns, and at such gatherings, our home was stuffed with people, joy, and laughter.

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Old-fashioned peanut brittle is a classic favorite.

Nowadays, celebrations are a bit more low-key. The children have all grown up, and there are fewer youngsters among the crowd, but we all still enjoy those holiday get-togethers. Looking back, I realize that Mom spent a lot of time on the little touches a good hostess brings to the event.

Her candies and cookies are legendary. For many of us, those treats were the highlight of the day.

My favorite among the candy selections were the chocolate-covered coconut balls that tasted like Mounds candy bars. Although, come to think of it, they weren't dipped in dark chocolate, which would have been the only thing to make them even more scrumptious.

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Candy canes

2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

2/3 cup water

Red and green food coloring

1/4 teaspoon mint flavoring

In saucepan, combine sugar, cream of tartar, and water. Place over low heat and stir constantly until mixture begins to boil. Cook, without stirring, to 250 to 266 F, or hard ball stage. Remove from heat. Pour hot syrup into lightly buttered pan to form a thin sheet. Allow to cool.

When cool enough to handle, divide into two equal portions. Add red food coloring to one part and green to the other. Add a few drops mint flavoring to each portion.

Pull both portions, one at a time, like taffy, until very firm and candy loses most of its gloss. Stretch each portion into a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter. Twine red and green ropes together. Cut into 3-inch pieces and gently stretch to 5 inches, then curve one end to form a cane.

Place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet and let stand overnight.

Note: They may be very soft, but if not, tie with a red satin ribbon bow and loop to hang on tree.

Chocolate cashew clusters

2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces

1 1/2 cups lightly salted cashews

1/4 cup vanilla baking chips, melted, optional

Combine chocolate chips and butter in microwave-safe bowl; microwave on medium for 2 minutes, then stir. Microwave for 30 to 60 seconds longer, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Quickly stir in cashews.

Using 2 spoons, drop mixture into 36 mounds on wax paper-lined baking sheets. Drizzle with melted vanilla chips, if desired. Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, about 40 minutes. Store in container with tight-fitting lid in refrigerator.

Note: This recipe was tested in a 650-watt microwave oven. Adjust for your microwave.

Old-fashioned peanut brittle

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1 cup light syrup

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup raw peanuts

1 teaspoon baking soda

In saucepan, mix sugar, water, and syrup; cook over moderate heat until a small amount of mixture forms a soft ball when tested in cold water (235 to 245 F).

Add salt, butter, and peanuts, and continue cooking, stirring often, until candy becomes golden brown. Add baking soda; stir up and pour immediately on large sheet of heavy wax paper.

Cool thoroughly, then break into pieces.

Never-fail divinity candy

Yields about 2 pounds candy.

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup hot water

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Line 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan with lightly buttered wax paper or aluminum foil; set aside.

In 3-quart saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove cover and cook, stirring occasionally, to hard ball stage (260 F/125 C), or until a small amount of mixture is dropped into cold water and forms a ball that holds its shape but is pliable.

Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually pour hot syrup in small stream into egg whites, while continuing to beat. Add vanilla and continue beating until mixture holds its shape when dropped from spoon. Fold in nuts, if using.

Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper, and cool. Or, pour into prepared pan, cool, and then invert pan, peel off wax paper and cut into squares.

Cinnamon pecans

1 tablespoon margarine

3 cups pecan halves

1/2 cup sugar, divided

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In large, nonstick skillet, melt margarine. Stir in pecans and all but 1 tablespoon sugar. Cook until sugar melts, about 5 to 10 minutes, tossing pecans often so they brown but don't burn. Remove from heat.

In small bowl, mix together remaining sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add to skillet and toss to coat pecans.

Spread mixture on wax paper and let cool for about 20 minutes, then break up clumps and store in resealable plastic bag.

Mrs. Eisenhower's favorite fudge

4 squares (1 ounce each) chocolate

4 tablespoons butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons cream or top milk

1 pound confectioner's sugar

1 cup chopped nuts

In saucepan over medium heat, melt chocolate and butter together.

In bowl, combine egg, vanilla, cream, and confectioner's sugar. Stir into melted chocolate, and then knead in nuts.

Transfer fudge onto buttered platter and refrigerate for several hours before cutting.

Note: If using sweet butter, add a pinch of salt.

Mounds bars

3 eggs

1/2 cup margarine, softened

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup chopped nuts

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

2 1/4 cups coconut

Dark chocolate, melted, optional

Heat oven to 350 F.

In bowl, mix together eggs, margarine, flour, salt, sugar, cocoa, nuts, and vanilla.

Pour and spread mixture evenly into 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

In another bowl, mix sweetened condensed milk with coconut. Spread evenly over cooked bar mixture in pan, and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Cool completely, and then top with melted chocolate, if desired.

Excerpted from GRIT. To read more articles from GRIT, please visit www.grit.com or call 866-803-7096 to subscribe. Copyright 2019 by Ogden Publications Inc.

 
 

 

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