From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ghosts of Christmas Past (3)

All In The Family...



Cherry bonbons, still wet with chocolate


I make the cherry bonbons pictured above and some other homemade candies every Christmas for two main reasons:

  • Grandma Netz (my husband's mother) always made a huge quantity of homemade candy at Christmas to give away and share. Every one of her children got a big box of candy from her as part of her Christmas gift. Grandma now lives in an assisted living home. Since she can't make her candy anymore, I make some of her favorite candy recipes and send them to her so she can still share them with her friends, visitors and family there.
  • My husband really enjoys having Christmas candy to give and to share like his mother did. He thinks Christmas is truly here when I put on my apron and the smell of chocolate fills the air and these wonderful fattening little goodies appear. This reason is just as important, maybe more so, than the first reason that I make candy at Christmas.

Here's Grandma Netz's recipe for the Cherry Bonbons, just as I copied it from her recipe files when I was a young bride. They are delicious and easier to make than you might think. This makes a huge batch. If you're just making for your own family, you could probably make just half a batch.

Elizabeth's Cherry Bonbons

Filling:
1 stick margarine
12 oz. coconut
1-1/2 boxes powdered sugar
3 cups chopped pecans
2 jars maraschino cherries, chopped and well-drained
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
Vanilla to taste
Instant mashed potatoes to thicken mixture if needed

Chocolate Coating:
10 oz. Hershey Milk Chocolate bars
1 12-oz. pkg. chocolate chips
1/2 stick paraffin


Melt margarine; pour over coconut. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Add condensed milk and vanilla a bit at a time, mixing well. Add pecans and cherries. Mix all together well and roll into balls the size of an egg yolk. (Dip hands in powdered sugar while shaping.) Place balls on cookie sheet and chill.

Melt Hershey bars in top of a double boiler; add chocolate chips and paraffin, stirring until melted. Remove a few balls from refrigerator and dip into chocolate mixture to coat. Place on waxed paper and chill. Store in airtight container in refrigerator or cool room.


Also on the topic of homemade candy:

  • I've made peanut butter fudge for several years now using the online recipe for Myrtle's Peanut Butter Fudge. Grandma Netz told me that it was even better than her own recipe but the only difference is that Grandma Netz's peanut butter fudge recipe calls for marshmallow fluff, and Myrtle's recipe calls for mini-marshmallows.
  • I tried an online recipe for Chocolate Mints this year. They are really easy to make and really good. If you like Andes mints, you'll love these. I made them with dark chocolate chips and since I didn't have any "candy coating", I used vanilla (white) almond bark and they turned out fine. The recipe makes just an 8x8 pan, but the candies are so rich that they can be cut small.

This year I also made some dipped peanut-butter bonbons that are similar to Reese's Cups in taste (also Grandma Netz's recipe) and another kind of peppermint candy. I've packed up a couple of tins of them to mail to Grandma tomorrow along with her Christmas presents. It is truly a load off my mind to have this accomplished.

I have packed up the rest of the candy. The candy we're giving away is sorted into tins, and the candy that I'm saving for Christmas is packed into a Tupperware container. I'm going to put most of it in the shed until closer to Christmas so it won't tempt us (me) quite as much!

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2 comments:

limey said...

My wife makes a very similar treat to your cherry bonbons - but she soaks them in whisky for 3/4 weeks prior to coating with chocolate. I think you would have to eat about 10 lbs of them to even get slightly tipsy though!

Genevieve said...

Limey, your comment made me think of the individually wrapped chocolates in grocery stores in Germany. I didn't know one from another, so I just chose a wrapper I liked the look of. Sometimes (often) they had a little liquor in the liqueur.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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