Over a Cup of Coffee: Making Christmas candy
One thing we all enjoy about the Christmas season is Christmas candy. Because I don’t have a lot of time, I enjoy making candies that don’t require a candy thermometer. People who are successful at making candy tell me they wait for a clear, dry day to make their candies. They believe low pressure affects the way the candy turns out. This week’s column features three recipes that don’t require a candy thermometer. All three come from my old recipe books that are missing covers and other pages.
• 1 cup pecans, chopped
• 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces or a 4 ½ – ounce milk chocolate bar, broken up
Sprinkle the pecan pieces on the bottom of a greased, square pan that’s about 9-by-9-by-1 3/4 inches. Combine butter and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 7 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the mixture over the nuts. Sprinkle chocolate pieces or pieces of chocolate bar on top. Cover the pan so the chocolate will melt. Spread evenly over the top. Cut into squares while warm. Refrigerate to set.
Quick Peanut Fudge
• 2 packages semi-sweet chocolate morsels
• 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup salted peanuts or chopped nuts
Melt semi-sweet morsels over hot water (or in a microwave). Add sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and nuts. Stir to blend, and without further cooking, pour into a waxed-paper-lined pan and allow to chill for a few hours. You can also drop by teaspoonful onto waxed-paper. Makes about 1 1/4 pounds.
• 8 squares of candy-making chocolate
• One of the following:
• 1 cup halved, salted cashew nuts
• 1 cup salted or unsalted peanuts
• 1 cup blanched, toasted almonds
• 1 cup puffed rice
Line the bottom of a loaf pan, 8-by-4 inches, with waxed paper. Let the paper extend in 2-inch tabs at each end. Heat the 8 squares of special candy-making chocolate over boiling water (or in a microwave) until partly melted. Remove from heat, and stir rapidly until the chocolate is completely melted. Choose one of the nuts or puffed rice and arrange evenly in the bottom of the pan. Pour the chocolate on top. Chill until set. Then, use the tabs to lift the chocolate block out of the pan. Cut into bars about 1-by-2 inches, Makes 16 bars.
Do you have recipes you would like to share with readers? If so, please call me at 970-824-8809 or write to me at PO Box 415, Craig, CO 81626.
So much for the models that predicted a cool, wet summer for us here in western Colorado — at least I think it’s hot this July. Ranchers are probably relieved that it’s been a good haying season, and after the cool spring, it’s nice to have a “normal” summer, but it is indeed hot.