Christmas Blogmas, Day 3, Candy

Normally I would have this typed on a program and then just copy and paste, but not able to do that this time.  Sorry! Oh, and since I can’t do that it means I didn’t listen to how it sounds.

Anyway, for my next Blogmas Christmas post, let me share the easiest recipe ever.  All you need is some form of sweeten condensed milk, [if you are dairy free look up making it with coconut milk].  Then you need two boxes of powdered sugar.  Also, several different flavorings.  This is a candy for stuffing into ‘things’ or wrapping around. 

First, I use room temp of the milk and sift in the powdered sugar.  Start with a cup and stir, then keep adding and stirring until you have used 3/4 of your box of sugar.  Add a half teaspoon of vanilla to the whole batch.  What I do is separate my batch into three to four smaller bowls with a wet paper towel covering.  If you have the good towels, with no lint, use them, wet please.  You have to keep each batch, that you are not working with wet and cool, but not cold.  Don’t add all your sugar to each batch.  The batches that you are setting aside do not need kneaded until you are ready to use them.  But do add you separate flavorings and mark your bowls so you can remember which has what in it.  Start with 1/4 tsp for extracts and a tsp for liquor.  Test the flavor after 30 minutes to see if it is as strong a you like. Warning you will not need both boxes, but I have it opened anyway, just in case.  The first box will not be enough for dusting and kneading.

Whatever your first batch is, drop it on a pastry board/mat, well floured with the powdered sugar.  It helps to have a flat bowl of the sugar with a tiny sifter to help spread.  Then start your kneading.  You want to work it and add more powered sugar only to the desired texture.  A hint on the kneading, if your hands are warm keep a glass, glass of ice water to hold on to – it will cool your hands.  I use butter to keep my hands slippery, so the dough does not stick too badly, even power your hands with the sugar.  That flat bowl I mentioned above comes in handy to plop your hands in for dusting. 

Are you stuffing dates, or putting it between nuts?  Be creative when choosing an ‘any thing’.  Choose your flavoring by what you like with ‘any thing’.  For the nuts, I will use rum or whiskey/bourbon.  For dates, I use orange.  If you like cherries, ice cream ones, you can use a good liquor.  Or you can just use mint or plain vanilla for ‘anything interesting’. 

These are very sweet, so make them small.  My cheat is I pound nuts up into tiny chunks [coffee grinder] and drop in the dough to make little balls.  Then dust them with super fine ground nuts.  These will keep for weeks, if you are using liquor then remember it will make a little one drunk.  Don’t ask how I know this.  These are saved for adults.  If you are using large dates, I cut them in half before opening and stuffing them.  If I make them for parties I will take a toothpick and soak it in food coloring to make a green or red line down the stuffing; or while the dough is still wet [after stuffing] turn it onto a plate with colored sugar until set.   You can do a coffee flavor by using a teaspoon or two of instant coffee in a Tablespoon of hot water to dissolve completely; a little can go a long way, don’t let the coffee overpower your ‘anything interesting’.  If you like the fruit cake cherries, I finely chop them and roll the dough out flat and scatter them on top then roll them and slice.  [Hint, drop them in water and lay out on paper towels to dry off. The syrup on them makes them hard to work with, but do not waste that syrup.  Use it on pancakes,]

Besides fudge, this is my favorite Christmas candy.   I always hide some because everyone eats any I set out.  I store them, after they have set,  in wax-paper lined Christmas tins; each layer gets it own paper; each type gets its own container.  [flavors mingle]  Warning:  have all your supplies ready to go before you try wrapping candy or stuffing your dates.   Oh, the kitchen will look like a fan was set in front of the bowl of sugar.  So be prepared to get messy.  But it is well worth the effort.  Yes, your kids can help since there is no heat required.


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