Good morning! I love the rain, I love the rain, really I do love the rain, just not when I have an outside Year Round Christmas project planned. So, I will not be painting outside today. Fortunately, just like when we are camping, there are other options. Unfortunately, even though candy making is an inside project-it is not one that always turns out right.
Ever since the candy flop last spring, I have wanted to find Christmas candy recipes that I could make before the Christmas season. I enjoy making Christmas treats, but it seems like there is never enough time.
Finding recipes that store well in the freezer for a few months would be wonderful! Of course, in addition to making them early, I would also have to hide them well-and forget where I hid them.
So this month I will make a new Christmas candy from a 1950’s cookbook-I love old cookbooks.
I found the Christmas cookbook at a library book sale a few years ago. I love reading the old recipes and menu ideas. Some of the chapters are expected, like Breads, Cookies and Pies, but others are not as common now. I was surprised that Steamed Christmas pudding has its own chapter. Chocolate steamed pudding sounds good- but I’m not sure about carrot, or molasses or gumdrop. It might be interesting to try some day though, at least once.
The Christmas Candy chapter was great! I was amazed at the different candy recipes and the many variations for each recipe. I choose a divinity variation, easy nougat, to try first.
My aunts remember my grandma making divinity and fudge for Christmas when they were growing up, so I thought it would be fun to try the divinity variation.
My intention was to cut the easy nougat, dip it into chocolate and make chocolate cream candies! They would look so pretty on Christmas trays!
Thankfully, there were just a few ingredients and they were frugal. (Can you guess where I am going? Maybe I need to not try candy recipes in the spring? Especially if I think they will look pretty-it’s always a jinx for me!)
It started great: the oldest was able to help cook and the grandbaby was stealing chocolate chips. I was getting grandbaby hugs, and everyone was happy.
The egg whites whipped up to nice stiff peaks and I had a great helper to measure the sugar, corn syrup and water into the pan to start making syrup. But just like making maple syrup, it was kind of hard to watch it boil and not stir it.
Then, my old cookbook directions became unclear.
For the divinity, the recipe said to stir and beat the egg whites while slowly pouring in the boiling syrup then beat for an additional 5-10 minutes. For the easy nougat, it just said to pour the syrup over the egg whites and press into a pan. Then, I was to put waxed paper over it and press it more with a heavy object-like a skillet.
I should have checked with another recipe, or even the internet.
We poured the syrup over the beaten egg whites and stirred. Since there were big chunks, we decided to use the mixer. There were still big chunks, probably of cooked egg, but we continued on-maybe it would be ok after we pressed it and let it set overnight.
Half of the mixture went into a buttered pan for easy vanilla nougat and we added coconut, granola and some chocolate chips to the rest. Pressing the coconut nougat with a mason jar was easy and the waxed paper came right off. The vanilla nougat was different, half of it stayed on the waxed paper.
In fact, the two nougats stayed very different. The vanilla version was still soft and sticky after setting overnight, while the coconut nougat turned out crumbly and grainy. It was so strange since they were from the same batch.
I am going to try making either divinity or easy nougat again, though this time with clearer directions. I didn’t cover either version with chocolate to make bite-sized chocolate creams, but they had good flavor. Somehow, even though it was crumbly, a whole row of the coconut nougat disappeared.
Just like last spring’s candy attempt, I am glad that I didn’t try the new recipe during the Christmas season. Even if this attempt didn’t turn out, it was frugal and I had fun trying it with my great helpers. It was also fun using my old cookbook. I am hoping to try making easy nougat, and some other old time recipes, again soon. I would love to make and freeze chocolate cream candies before the busy Christmas season.
Happy Camping (or even making old-time candy flops!)