Day 6

Christmas Candy Memories

For more than 20 years Bruce and I have enjoyed a Candy making day with another family. It started out with the four of us, and then the children joined in as soon as they could stir or “watch”. We rotated the “hosting” of the cooking day between our houses, depending on which child needed to nap, etc. , and would determine the cooking, stirring, measuring, cooling, shaping, decorating, and “packing”.

It was a day where “planned chaos” , Christmas music, the sounds of timers going off, all added to the joy of cooking, stirring, measuring, shaping, and decorating. The smell of sugar was often overwhelming. Our record year was making 18 different candies in 12 hours (we were younger and more energetic). Most years we made between 4-6 types of candy. Despite the mess and piles of dishes our children continued to participate in our annual tradition even beyond their teenage years.

Often suggesting a new candy or requesting a “favorite”. Each year we wrote down what we made, and what happened during the day and a few snippets of the day
1- Who burnt themselves or broke something.
2- Who ended up the messiest, dropped or spilled something…
3- Who did the dipping of the bon-bons (the task that needed patience and the perfect chocolate).
4- Which recipes failed and flopped

Highlights included the year the stove died in the middle of cooking, spilling an entire bag of powdered sugar, or accidentally adding too much brandy in the brandy balls- and they were AWFUL.

Throughout it all- the fun and camaraderie were more important than the final product. In addition we have the yearly debate of which is best: Dark or Milk chocolate is best. And finally, the joy of sharing the sweet treats we made with family and friends.

Here’s a recipe for Bon-Bons that has withstood the test of time. Note the original recipe was doubled….however we
soon realized that NO ONE needs this many Bon Bons! If you’re trying to figure out time….Mix the coconut first, make balls and put them in the freezer, so they are nice and cold for dipping in chocolate. The more the merrier, as you sit around the table and “dip”….

Bon Bon Candy (creator unknown).
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 stick butter- softened
3 ½ cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Pure Vanilla
2 pkgs (14 oz each) Sweetened Flaked Coconut (chop in food processor if strands are too long)
Mix these ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Shape into bite size balls and place on wax paper covered cooking sheet. Freeze until hard (15 minutes)

Chocolate covering:
2 small packages of chocolate chips
+ 1/8 block of paraffin wax (this makes it shiny and hard)
Melt on double boiler to keep warm. Put part into a glass small bowl so that you can dip more easily than from the pan.

Or you can use very good Melting chocolate that gets a shine instead of chocolate chips.

Dipping tips:
Use a toothpick in the top when dipping in chocolate, swirl, then tip to let most extra chocolate drip off.
Twist the toothpick out, and swirl a little more chocolate on the top.
Let sit in cool area for a few hours until firm. Remove and store in an air tight container.

From Lynn Serbus