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.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Homemade Christmas Candy

My mother-in-law's tradition carried on



Homemade Christmas candies

My mother-in-law is almost 91 years old, and she has lived in an assisted living facility for the last few years. It's hard to know what to give to her at Christmas because her needs are few and her space is limited. She's in Kansas City and we're in Kentucky, so that complicates things too.

Before Christmas for several years now, I've sent homemade candy that she can pass out to the staff and her many visitors. I use some of her tried-and-true candy recipes and some other recipes that I've collected.

I'm running a little behind on this project this year, but I did get the chocolate mints and the peanut butter bonbons made yesterday. This evening, I hope to make the cherry bonbons. I will also make peanut butter fudge, and probably some "turtles" or pecan candy. Sometimes, I buy some gourmet fruit jelly candies and dip them in chocolate too.

I'm showing off the peanut butter bonbons in the above photo because they look interesting. Many of the bonbons were completely sealed by the first dipping in chocolate, but a number of them had places on the bottom where the filling showed through. So, I redipped the bottoms of the defective ones in white candy coating. I really like the visual effect as well as the flavor.

Mama Netz was famous for her Christmas candy. She always made a huge amount of it. She gave boxes of candy to each of her children and all her neighbors and friends. Her daughters in Kansas City took Mama's candy to work with them. When anyone visited her over the holidays, she offered them coffee and candy. Usually, she made enough candy to last through her birthday in January.

I hope that Christmas candy to share helps Mama Netz get into the holiday spirit. I hope she enjoys knowing that her recipes are still in use. None of her daughters make candy, so perhaps a candy-making daughter-in-law is better than nothing.

In Mama Netz's candy making days, her bonbons were the size of Cherry Mash candy bars. I've always made them fairly small (the size of a large marble or a small egg yolk.) I think most people prefer a small piece of candy. If they want more, they can eat another piece. Maybe they'll want to try a different flavor.

I was amused last year. Mama Netz told me she had been taking a little dish of candy to the office girls every day. She said she was cutting each of the candies in half because they were so large. She has forgotten about the golf-ball size candies she used to make.

After we get the candy mailed, then I must immediately worry about her Christmas box. I'm really not sure what will go in it this year. I've bought a digital photo frame for her, but I don't think I'll have enough time to fill it with photos before Christmas. We will probably give it to her for her birthday in January, instead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great recipes, they look delicious. Can't wait to try them!

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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)

Thanks for reading.