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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: A Candy Christmas

By Sherrie Norris

Kitchen cupboards are becoming well stocked with sugars, nuts and all those other ingredients needed for our favorite Christmas candy recipes.

Making candy doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take time and patience, both of which are often in short supply this time of year.

Skill is not an absolute necessity, but a desire to please those who will be indulging is very important.

Add just a pinch of humility and forgiveness to everything you attempt, and I promise — it will be a success, whether in or out of the kitchen.


Hard Christmas Candy

3½ cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup water

½ tsp. cinnamon oil or peppermint oil

1 tsp. red or green food coloring


In large, heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook on medium-high heat until candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees (or to hard-crack stage), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in food coloring and oil, keeping face away from mixture as it has a very strong and overpowering minty smell.

Immediately pour onto a greased cookie sheet. Let cool, then break into pieces. Store in airtight container.

(You can find the flavored oils in cake decorating and candy supply sections of most stores.)


Peppermint Patties

1 box powdered sugar

1 stick melted margarine

6 Tbs. water

8 drops peppermint extract

Mix together and roll out on waxed paper that has been dusted with a little powdered sugar. Use a small, round object (sterilized top of salad dressing bottle works for me!) to cut into small patties.

Dip patties into melted chocolate-paraffin mix (see below) with toothpick or fork. Let set on waxed paper until chocolate hardens. Can be stored in fridge or freezer.


Chocolate-Paraffin Coating

12 oz. semi-sweet chips

1/3 block paraffin

Melt together in double boiler, or in microwave, just a few seconds at a time to keep from scorching. Keep warm for dipping.



Chocolate Covered Cherries

1 can sweetened-condensed milk

1 stick melted margarine

1 box powdered sugar

1 jar maraschino cherries, drained

Mix milk, margarine and sugar. Roll into small balls and flatten. Put cherry in center and roll back into ball, covering cherry completely. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Dip into chocolate-paraffin mixture. (See above:12 oz. semi-sweet chips to 1/3 block paraffin.) Return to refrigerator until ready to serve or deliver.


Peanut Butter Balls

1 small jar of peanut butter

1 box powdered sugar

1 stick melted margarine

1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate-paraffin mixture (see above)


Mix together first four ingredients and form into balls. Dip into chocolate-paraffin mixture with toothpick. Let stand on waxed paper until firm.

*May add coconut and chopped nuts to peanut butter mixture if desired before rolling/dipping.


Crock Pot Candy

1 (16 oz.) pkg. chocolate candy coating

1 (16 oz.) pkg. white chocolate candy coating

1 (4 oz.) box German chocolate

1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips

1 (24 oz.) jar roasted peanuts or 3 cups other nuts

Layer ingredients in a slow cooker in order listed. Cook on low for one hour. Stir. Continue on low for one more hour. Spoon out by teaspoonful onto waxed paper. Makes about 5 pounds.