When I was growing up, we didn't get many sweets during the year — but at Christmas time, there was a table just for homemade candies. Personally, when I was young, I would rather have had candy than cake or pie as my dessert.
My favorite Christmastime candy was date-and-pecan candy, which one of my sisters always made. I liked Mother’s potato candy and Daddy’s taffy, too.
Over the years, I have tried to come up with some new candies to add to the sweet snack table. A very easy one, which the kids might like to help you make, is Pecan Puffs. I first tasted these at a candy shop in the Smokies.
My Peanut Butter and Cracker Fudge is a variation of an old recipe that we called No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. I never could understand why they were called cookies, because they taste more like candy. When I was in a creative mood, I decided to use crumbled butter-type crackers instead of oats in this recipe. It was a "first bite" favorite with those who tasted them.
Bonbons are not only a beautiful addition to the candy table, but they also taste great. You can coat these with white chocolate and dark chocolate, if you prefer, but I like to use the coating chocolates, sometimes known as almond bark. I found that using the bark helps the coating to set quicker.
Candies make a great gift for unexpected guests or for a hostess. Nothing says "I care" like a homemade gift from the kitchen.
- 36 to 40 caramels
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
- 16 large marshmallows
- 1 ⅓ cups finely chopped toasted pecans
Unwrap the caramels and combine with milk in a medium glass bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and, if needed, continue to microwave for 15 seconds. Stir and repeat, if needed, until caramels are melted. Dip each marshmallow into the caramel mixture and then coat well with pecans. It might be necessary to turn the marshmallows from time to time until the caramel sets.
NOTE: To toast the pecans, place them on a baking sheet before chopping and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Shake the pan after 5 minutes to toast the pecans evenly. Then chop them.
PEANUT BUTTER AND CRACKER FUDGE
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup butter
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups crumbled butter-type crackers
Combine the sugar, milk, butter and cocoa in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and let boil for 1 minute (rolling boil). Drop a small amount from tip of spoon into a small container of cold water. If it forms into a soft ball, it is ready to remove from the heat. Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla and crumbled crackers. Drop onto waxed paper, using about 1 tablespoon for each pattie. Cool until set. Makes about 40 to 45 fudge patties.
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 (14 ounce) package coconut (not frozen coconut)
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- White and dark chocolate coating (almond bark or candy melts)
Combine sugar, coconut and condensed milk in large bowl. Mix until thoroughly blended. Refrigerate covered about 2 to 3 hours, or until firm enough to shape into balls. Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper. Roll the coconut mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter. This will make about 3 ½ dozen bonbons. Refrigerate until firm. Melt coating and dip bonbons into mixture, coating well. Place on waxed paper until set. Decorate as desired.
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