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   Traditional Christmas candy recipes Posted by Jo 
December 2, 2008 
Jo
 

Every year, my in-laws enjoy making classic Christmas candy. Before I met my husband, I hadn’t even heard of some of these recipes. Candy making in my family entails making chocolate-covered peanut butter balls and lots of other things dipped into melted chocolate. Quite tasty but not quite as time honored as some of the following recipes. Each year, my in-laws make fondant candy, fudge, cream pull candy, caramels and English toffee. I transcribed the recipes almost verbatim from the well-worn recipe cards and added a shopping list at the bottom of this page to make it easier for you. The shopping list has quantities listed to make exactly one batch of each recipe. We usually make at least two batches so there is plenty for everyone to share. Please enjoy and make sure you pay attention to whether or not it says you can double a recipe or not. Some of them bubble up quite high and will be all over your stove top if you aren’t careful!

The most important tool for these recipes is a really good candy thermometer. Make sure you get one that has an adjustable height for different size pans and that is easy to read.

Fondant Candy
(Can double recipe)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Lump of butter the size of a walnut
  • 1/2 cup cream add boiling water to make a cup
  1. Mix together all ingredients and boil over medium heat. DO NOT stir. Boil to soft ball stage (about 234 degrees Faranheit).
  2. Pour equally onto buttered plates.
  3. Beat with spoon or spatula until it looses its shiny look and begins to cream.
  4. Pick up and work with hands into a dough.
  5. Roll out dough onto wax or parchment paper.
  6. Spread with peanut butter, roll, then slice.
  7. You can also roll the dough into balls and dip in chocolate.
Fudge

  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 large can evaporated milk
  • 3 six ounce packages semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)
  1. Blend sugar and milk. Boil six minutes, stirring as needed
  2. Remove from heat and add chocolate, butter and vanilla
  3. When melted, add one cup nuts (optional).
  4. Pour in long, greased baking dish to set.
Cream pull candy

  • 5 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 8 ounces cream
  • Flavorings (such as vanilla, peppermint, lemon extracts)
  • Butter
  1. Add boiling water to sugar and stir until dissolved.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil and add cream.
  3. Stir until it boils.
  4. Cook until hard boil without stirring, 260 degrees.
  5. Pour onto a marble slab and add flavorings.
  6. When cooled, butter hands and start pulling until it creams.
  7. Stretch out creamed dough and lay down on parchment paper.
  8. Cut into bite-size pieces and dip into chocolate.
Caramels
(Do not double)

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups dark karo syrup
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups whole cream
  • Vanilla
  1. Put 1 cup of cream in sugar, syrup and butter and bring to a boil.
  2. Slowly add other cup of cream to keep mixture boiling.
  3. Cook to 240 degrees stirring constantly.
  4. Add 1 tsp vanilla.
  5. Pour onto a baking sheet with an edge.
English toffee
toffee
(Can double)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans)
  • Chocolate (mini-chips work best)
  1. Cook syrup, butter, margarine, sugar and water to 290 degrees.
  2. Finely chop nuts and sprinkle almost all of them over the bottom of a baking sheet with an edge
  3. Pour hot syrup over nuts.
  4. Sprinkle chocolate on top and remaining nuts.
  5. When cool, break into chunks.

Shopping List

For making one batch as described above of each recipe. Adjust list as needed.)

14 1/2 cups sugar

Cream of tartar

Salt

5 sticks butter

1/2 cup margarine

Vanilla

28 ounces cream

Evaporated milk

3, six ounce packages mini chocolate chips

1 3/4 cups pecans

1 1/3 cups dark karo syrup

Jar of creamy peanut butter

17 comments so far:

  1. dot said: (December 2nd, 2008 at 1:25 am)

    very cool! I always mean to do stuff like this, but never get around to it :)

  2. Leslie Hensley said: (December 2nd, 2008 at 9:05 am)

    Cream pull candy is very tricky. After lots of trial and error it seems the most important ingredient for success is having the marble very cold (at or below freezing). Also I would suggest skipping the flavorings.

  3. Jo said: (December 2nd, 2008 at 10:11 am)

    Leslie, thanks for reminding me about that crucial step! It is very important for the marble to be freezing cold. It also helps if the outside temperature is cold and dry as well.

  4. Dana said: (December 8th, 2008 at 12:03 am)

    I especially like the English toffee. Tastes a lot like Heath or Score bars, but fresher. Also, when you make this recipe you can decide if you want nuts or not, and make it the thickness you like best.

  5. Michael P. Soda said: (November 7th, 2010 at 3:48 pm)

    Looks good, but a couple things should be included but weren’t. Since I am doing this for the first time: What size pot should I use for each recipe? Who in the world has a piece of marble just sitting around? If you don’t use different flavorings then every recipe will taste the same. …like sugar water candy.

  6. Viola said: (September 22nd, 2012 at 6:15 pm)

    If you don’t have marble for the cream candy. You can butter a large biscuit pan and put it in a ice bath in the sink. Just don’t get any water in the pan or it will ruin the candy. The candy will cool quickly so you have to keep folding the candy back into itself to keep it pliable. This is the way my family has always made it.

  7. Chica said: (September 24th, 2012 at 9:00 am)

    Clever tip, Viola. Thanks for sharing!

  8. kendra dalton said: (November 6th, 2012 at 11:09 am)

    Can I make this in advance and freeze them?

  9. Chica said: (November 6th, 2012 at 4:27 pm)

    Kendra, which recipe are you asking about and how far in advance were you thinking? Most candy recipes have a pretty good shelf life without freezing.

  10. Cheryl said: (November 16th, 2012 at 8:33 pm)

    I love Toffee & can’t wait to try your recipe, it looks very easy to make, not alot of ingredients and very few steps….. Thank you for sharing.

  11. doris root said: (November 27th, 2012 at 4:15 pm)

    hello you found your site today I have a ? I was wondering your instructions for the jewel candy would that be the same if making the clear christmas lollipops ??

  12. Chica said: (November 27th, 2012 at 4:30 pm)

    Doris, this is a pretty basic hard candy recipe and I think it should work fine for lollipops as well.

  13. kim said: (December 16th, 2012 at 10:32 pm)

    If you double the recipe for the toffee, do you need 2 cookie sheets?

  14. Chica said: (December 18th, 2012 at 8:13 am)

    Yes, Kim, you’ll need to use two cookie sheets so that you have enough room for the toffee to flow out in a thin layer. If it’s too thick, it will be too hard to break and eat.

  15. Donna said: (December 25th, 2012 at 2:42 am)

    Merry Chistmas and thank you for taking me back in time to my Mother’s kitchen. I can see her there making all these wonderful candies and when the fudge was set I would sneak into the fridge and get a piece. Can’t wait to try them. Can you use a sugar sub. instead of sugar for most of the recipes?

  16. Debbie said: (November 1st, 2013 at 9:04 pm)

    The pulled candy, we call opera creams. Our ingredients, Sugar, whipping cream, cream of tarter. I find it best to cook the candy on a very clear day (not a cloud in the sky), while cooking DO NOT SCRAPE THE SIDES OF THE SAUCEPAN!!! Not even after you have poured it on the marble slab. It will get surgary. After it is done cooking pour on a marble slab, room temp is fine. Cool. Begin to work the candy, I use a wide putty knife. It will go through different stages, when it begins to whiten, I add my vanilla, and nuts if wanted. roll into balls or logs, you can chocolate coat, I will do this around Thanksgiving, then keep in a air tight container and in a cool place. It does take some muscle, but OH, SO WORTH THE RESULTS!!! Our favorite Christmas candy!

  17. Chica said: (November 3rd, 2013 at 7:49 pm)

    Debbie, that sounds like a labor of love, and I bet your family and friends really enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your story!

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