Candy Making

Another one of my favorite Christmas traditions is candy making. This tradition goes back at least as far as my great grandmothers and accordingly my grandma and aunts have all kept it up. And so each year we make batches of anything from caramels, caramel nougat pinwheels, English toffee, truffles, fudge, turtles… you name it. Then with the candy my mom, grandma, aunts, and now Bryan and I deliver platefuls to friends and neighbors to spread Christmas cheer… and sweets.

This year we made caramel, fudge, and turtles. Bryan and I made the fudge. Our first batch… struggled. Ha. What I mean is we had a learning experience. It was really quite hilarious actually. We used my Grandmother’s delicious yet super easy fudge recipe which is…

Fudge (naturally gluten free)
1. In a large pot place the following:
1 12oz pkg of milk chocolate morsels/chips (If you want it more chocolate-y add a bit more.)
1 lb Hershey bars grated or chopped up
1 7oz jar of marshmallow cream or 1 pkg marshmallows cut in small pieces (If you don’t like yours too marshmallow-y then add a bit less. I usually do a little less.)
2 tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla
Set mixture aside.

2. In another pot place
4 ½ c sugar
1 large can evaporated milk.
Stir until sugar is completely dissolved then place on stove. Wash the sides of the kettle and cover for a few moments. After a full rolling boil is reached continue boiling for 7 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the prepared mixture from step 1. Stir rapidly to melt the chocolate and marshmallow. Beat for several minutes until fudge begins to set.

4. Add 2 cups nuts if desired.

5. When thick, pour on a large, buttered sheet pan (like a deep cookie sheet) and allow to set until firm enough to cut. If you plan on chocolate dipping this fudge, make it the day before.

(Note: Both my Grandma and Grandpa grew up making fudge with their mothers and each have excellent recipes. Hilariously enough, the two of them have an annual fudge off where they each make their respective fudge to determine which is better. My thoughts: they’re both delicious. I’d take either one. My Grandpa’s recipe, however, isn’t written down anywhere so I can only share my Grandma’s now.)

Well, Bryan and I got to minute 6 in step 2 of the recipe (stirring the boiling mixture) when Bryan asked, “Can I stir?”
“Sure,” I responded.
At that moment he asked, “What happens if you stop stirring?” And he stopped stirring. Before I could answer the milky mixture filled with gobs of black nastiness…
“I guess that’s what happens,” I answered. Then we both started laughing.

Don’t stop stirring wasn’t the only lesson we learned, however. We also learned that you have to be patient and not use too high of heat when making candy. Luckily we had back up supplies just in case… do I know us or what? Haha. Our second attempt worked out wonderfully! I’m in love! Bryan and I also made the caramel which was a delicious success. They literally melted in our mouths. I just love homemade candy!

As for turtles, I made those with my amazing Grandma ZoBell and dear cousin Morgan.

Stirring the caramel.

Isn’t she a babe?

Grandma selected the position of supervisor, which she did just wonderfully. What a classy woman!

And do you like how we ended up making the lazy kind of turtles? …meaning rather than perfectly place four nuts as “turtle legs” we just sort of dumped them out, plopped some caramel on, topped them off with some chocolate, and were done . Yummy!

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