Several years ago, I received a bag of Christmas Candy from my new friend, Angela. It was like nothing I had ever tasted; heavenly, toasty and sweet with a smooth chocolate finish. It’s close your eyes and savor the moment good. I realized I had to know how this confection was made, so I asked if I could actually watch her make the candy the following year. That was 8 years ago, my (now) good friend Angela has invited me to participate in her annual candy making extravaganza ever since. This candy is her family tradition that I was lucky enough to weave into my life as well. My favorite part is spending the day with Angela and getting caught up.
Our annual candy making day usually starts with coffee and Christmas music in the morning; coffee turns to wine after noon. Neighbor Cindy usually comes over to tell stories and keep us entertained. As the years go by, I feel so lucky to have this connection and tradition, this forced stop in the holiday planning and an entire day devoted to catching up over the simple act of candy making. Angela can’t remember a Christmas without the ritual of Christmas Candy. Her grandmother would make batch after batch in her Oklahoma City kitchen and ship it to family and friends all over the US. The recipe was passed to Angela’s mother Linda and then to Angela.
“Mom, is it soft-ball time yet?”. Angela’s boys yell out as the pot of bubbly toffee fills the house with a rich and toasty candy aroma. The soft-ball stage taste is her special tradition that’s been passed through the generations. When the candy thermometer reads “soft-ball”, the candy maker stops and shares a taste. Angela does as her mother and grandmother did and she fills a glass with water and ice and drops the hot caramel, into the cold water to make a buttery soft caramel candy ball for her kids to enjoy.
The recipe yields a few pounds of delicious, hard crack chocolate coated toffee. The flavor of the toffee is strong and delicious. I don’t know what makes this recipe so unique; maybe it’s the chocolate coating on both sides? It’s probably that it’s cooked with love and tradition. One quick forewarning from Angela, “Once you gift this candy to your friends and family, you can’t ever stop. It becomes expected by your loved ones.” I concur; it’s that good.
Pair with holiday music, ugly sweaters & my favorite Christmas Cookies. Happy Holidays!!
- 6 sticks of butter
- 3 cups of sugar
- 6 tablespoons of water
- 3 tablespoons of corn syrup (light)
- 2 cups crushed pecans
- 3 lbs chocolate - Hersheys is quite good in this recipe
- Melt the butter and sugar together, slowly. When it starts to bubble, add the water and corn syrup; it should sizzle. Place the candy thermometer on the side of the pan. You'll cook very slowly to 'hard crack' on the candy thermometer. Keep a cup of ice water nearby and drop a spoonful of candy in to test how brittle it's becoming.
- When the thermometer reads hard-crack, remove from heat and stir in pecans with a wooden spoon & quickly pour onto prepared cookie sheets. A triple batch will require 3 cookie sheets, greased using the butter wrappers. Push the candy into the corners of the cookie sheets. Allow candy to cool completely.
- Pour melted chocolate onto cooled toffee. Allow one side to cool; in the fridge or on a cold porch, flip the toffee (into a new cookie sheet works well) and spread chocolate onto the other side.
Holiday Baking continues with my favorite cookie recipe.
Christmas Breakfast? Whimsy Chef Josh Brandner knows what to make.