HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS CANDIES

HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS CANDIES

*This was originally posted on my blog in September, 2009–I made a few changes.

As promised, the following are from my personal recipe boxes and are favorites I have been making for many years. The first two are recipes for making Buckeye Balls. Any good Ohioan knows what Buckeyes are, and most probably have a recipe or two for making Buckeye Balls candy (You can also buy them in almost any good candy store in Ohio) but they aren’t hard to make and it’s an easy enough recipe to make with children. (This is the second year that my sous chef grandson has made buckeye balls; we buy suitable small containers with clear plastic covers to put them in, for him to give to his favorite people).

The first Buckeye Ball recipe is from my sister Becky’s collection and is in her handwriting. I have a lot of her recipes and my ultimate goal is to get them put together in a cookbook of just her recipes. She was an excellent cook, as all Schmidt & Heileman family members knew.

To make Becky’s Buckeye Balls you will need:

½ pound butter

1 pound jar peanut butter

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar (5 cups)

12 ounces chocolate

¼ bar paraffin

Have ingredients at room temperature. Mix together the butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar; mix well and shape into balls (bite size); then chill*

When the balls are thoroughly chilled, melt 12 ounces of chocolate and ¼ bar of paraffin in top of a double boiler.  Coat each ball and place on wax paper. (to make it look like a real buckeye, you need to dip the candy balls into the chocolate but not quite covering it all. There should be an uncovered spot on top of each ball.

*Becky wrote chill but didn’t say – she assumed everybody knew–it may be a lot easier to chill the buckeye balls if you place them on cookie sheets to chill. If you line the cookie sheets with wax paper, you can use the same cookie sheets again after the candies have been dipped.

This next recipe is similar.

BUCKEYE BALLS #2

To make Buckeye Balls #2, you will need:

1 jar (16 ounce) creamy peanut butter

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 ½ (16 ounce) packages  powdered sugar

1 (12 oz) package Nestle Toll House semi sweet chocolate morsels

2 TBSP shortening

Beat peanut butter and butter at medium speed with electric mixer until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until blended.  Shape into 1” balls and chill 10 minutes or until firm.  Microwave chocolate morsels and shortening in a 2 quart glass bowl at HIGH 1 ½ minutes or until melted, stirring twice.  DIP each peanut butter ball in melted chocolate until partially coated and place on wax paper to harden. Store candy in airtight container. Makes 7 dozen.

CREAMY NUT TOFFEE

This recipe has been in my files so long – it was typewritten on an index card; I don’t know how many years it’s been since I have even owned a typewriter.

To make Creamy Nut Toffee you will need:

1 cup sugar

½ tsp salt

¼ cup water

½ cup butter

1 cup chopped walnuts (divided in half)

1 12-oz package semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine sugar, salt, water and butter in a medium size saucepan. Cook to light crack stage (285 degrees on your candy thermometer). Add ½ cup chopped walnuts and then pour onto a well greased cookie sheet. Cool.  Melt the semi sweet chocolate pieces (over low heat, top of a double boiler). Spread half of the chocolate on top of the candy; sprinkle with half of the remaining chopped walnuts.  Cool. Turn the candy over and repeat with remaining chocolate and nuts. When cool, break toffee into small pieces.

**

VERY GOOD ENGLISH TOFFEE

To make Very Good English Toffee, you will need:

½ cup finely chopped peanuts

½ cup butter or margarine (if using margarine don’t use a soft spread)

1 cup granulated sugar

Line a 12×10” with aluminum foil; shape piece of foil to about 10×8”. Sprinkle chopped nuts in pan and set aside. In 1 ½ quart pan, melt butter over medium heat. Immediately begin to stir in sugar with a long handled wooden spoon. Continue to cook over medium high heat about 6 or 7 minutes or until mixture turns golden, stirring only enough to prevent burning. Pour over nuts in prepared pan. Cool, break into pieces.  Makes ¾ pound.

AUNT ANNIE’S VERSATILE WHITE CHOCOLATE CANDY

Aunt Annie wrote on the recipe card, “I have used all kinds of nuts and different kinds of pretzels and it all turns out good!”

To make Aunt Annie’s Versatile White Chocolate Candy, you will need:

1 pound white chocolate

4 TBSP grated paraffin

1 ½ cups stick pretzels, broken

1 ½ cups cocktail nuts

– or peanuts

– or mixed nuts

or cashews

Melt white chocolate and paraffin in the top of a double boiler.  Stir in broken stick pretzels and your choice of 1 ½ cups of nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet sprayed with Pam.

(Sandy’s Cooknote: I have a recipe similar to this in my files; it was called Sticks & Stones.

HOLIDAY SUGARED WALNUTS

I have been making all of the variations of this recipe for so many years, I no longer remember where I originally got it. This is my favorite confection recipe to make up (I could make up three or four batches in one evening, after work). My penpal, Bev, has been keeping us supplied with walnuts from their walnut tree in Oregon–I keep them in the freezer so they won’t go bad.

To make Holiday Sugared Walnuts you will need:

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup liquid*

1 tsp light corn syrup

¼ tsp salt

2-3 cups walnuts, halves or whole pieces

Cook first 4 ingredients to soft ball stage, (236 to 240 degrees F); remove from heat; add walnuts; stir until creamy; turn onto foil, separate pieces and let cool.

*To make Orange Flavored: ½ cup orange juice; 1 ½ tsp orange rind

To make Sherried Walnuts: ½ cup sherry wine, ½ tsp cinnamon

To make Spiced Walnuts: ½ cup water, ½ tsp EACH nutmeg & cloves and 2 tsp    cinnamon

To make Minted Walnuts: ½ cup milk, green food coloring, and ¾ tsp mint flavoring, stirred in after cooking milk, sugar, corn syrup & salt, but before you add the walnuts.

CHRISTMAS YULE LOG:

To make Christmas Yule Log you will need:

1 6-oz package butterscotch chips

1 8-oz package cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

1 lb powdered sugar

Chopped nuts

Melt chips in pan; add cream cheese (room temperature will blend better) and mix. Next add vanilla extract and stir in 1 pound package of powdered sugar.  Cream in mixer; put in refrigerator to chill.  When chilled, form into logs. Roll in chopped nuts. Return to refrigerator until solid enough to slice. (This is a very rich candy. You will want to make the slices thin).

DIVINITY (Basic recipe)

To make Divinity you will need:

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

½ cup hot water

¼ tsp salt

2 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring just until sugar is dissolved but not after mixture begins to boil. Cover pan for 3 minutes to let steam dissolve sugar crystals on side of pan to prevent graininess in Divinity. Clip candy thermometer to side of pan.

Cook mixture, uncovered, to 238 degrees on candy thermometer (soft ball stage). While syrup is cooking to temperature, beat egg whites until stiff in a medium size bowl. When syrup reaches required temperature, slowly pour half of the hot syrup into the beaten egg whites in a slow but steady stream while beating continuously. Place remaining syrup back on the stove to cook to 258 degrees (hard ball stage). Continue beating the egg white/syrup mixture while adding the remaining syrup and the vanilla, until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Stir in nuts, if desired.  Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool. Store in tightly covered container.

Variations:

Cherry Divinity: Substitute ¼ cup maraschino cherry juice for ¼ cup water in basic recipe. Stir in ¼ cup chopped maraschino cherries just before spooning out.

Chocolate Divinity: Stir ¼ cup semi sweet chocolate pieces into basic recipe until melted, just before spooning onto wax paper.

SEE’S FUDGE

See’s Candy is a famous candy store in Southern California. I didn’t come across this recipe, though, until after I had already posted the fudge recipes.  (Discovered in October of this year that Oregon has Sees Candy stores!)

To make See’s Fudge, you will need:

½ cup butter

1 6-oz package of semisweet chocolate pieces

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups granulated sugar

1 (5 ¾ oz) can evaporated milk

10 large marshmallows

1 cup chopped nuts

Combine butter, chocolate pieces, and vanilla in medium size bowl. Set aside.  Place sugar, evaporated milk and marshmallows in a medium size saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to low and cook 6 minutes, stirring constantly.  Pour hot mixture over ingredients in bowl.  Beat with electric mixture until fudge is thick and dull (this doesn’t take long). Stir in nuts.  Pour into a lightly buttered 8” square baking pan. Refrigerate several hours. Makes about 36 squares.

I found another fudge recipe in my files that I thought you might enjoy. It’s called Ribbon Fantasy Fudge. To make Ribbon Fantasy Fudge, you will need:

3 cups sugar

¾ cup solid stick margarine (not a soft spread)

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 6-oz package of semi sweet chocolate pieces

1 7-oz jar of marshmallow crème

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup peanut butter (crunchy or cream style)

Combine 1 ½ cups sugar, 6 tablespoons of the margarine, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a heavy 1 ½ quart saucepan; bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate pieces until melted.  Add 1 cup (1/2 jar) marshmallow crème and ½ tsp vanilla; beat until well blended.  Pour into a greased 13×9” pan.  Repeat with remaining ingredients, substituting peanut butter for the chocolate pieces. Spread over chocolate layer. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares. Makes 3 pounds.

MAPLE PRALINES

To make Maple Pralines you will need:

2 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup milk

1 cup maple syrup

2 cups pecans

Boil sugar, milk and syrup until mixture reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Remove and cool. When it is lukewarm, beat until it is smooth and creamy. Add nuts and drop on wax paper making little mounds.

Happy Holiday baking and cooking!!! Yum!  And one final note about making Christmas candies–you dont really need to make a LOT of different candies. Become proficient at making ONE candy, such as fudge or divinity or pecan pralins – and the world will beat a path to your door. You will become KNOWN for your speciality candy.

Sandy

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