The longer I am married, the more bittersweet my Christmas baking becomes. I received these 2 cookbooks at my wedding shower almost 30 years ago now (Wow!) They are a bit spotted and shabby now but I love them none the less and truth be told, I may be a bit more spotted and shabby myself!(Word of the wise to all young girls..avoid tanning like a vampire!) They are filled with names of neighbor ladies, ladies that went to my church or my husband's church,and friend's mothers and grandmothers.
Betty was my wonderful mother in law and Barbara was one of her best friends. They are both no longer with us but their recipes still reside in my cookbooks and they reside in my memories. Betty always made us a Christmas "goody box"..a tradition I have taken over myself. My son lives many miles from us in South Dakota so I have been busy ready-ing a box for him and his girlfriend. My family here has been eating things as fast as I made them so I have to be specific about what is "saved" and what is "free range".
This year I made peanut brittle..actually mixed nut brittle. I learned that "a large pan" means a cookie sheet. The lady's recipe that I used is also now gone so I could not call her up and say, "Ruth..how large is a large pan?" I did remember to make a notation in the book so my brittle will be a bit thinner next year!
The chocolate covered Ritz cracker peanut butter sandwiches are a big traditional element to our "goody box". The first couple years I attempted these I burned the tar out of my fingers! I have now figured out you need your chocolate at the right temp and I use a fork to dip and remove, tapping the extra chocolate off by tapping the handle of the fork on the side of the pan letting the drips fall back into the pan before I transfer them to the wax paper.
The peppermint almond bark is an addition of mine. It has 2 ingredients..white almond bark and smashed peppermint candies. My 9 yr old son and 3 yr old grandson were in charge of the candy smashing this year and had a great time with the meat tenderizer hammer and the candies. I did tell them not to unwrap them until you smash them and not to hit each other or their fingers but I pretty much just let them go and they had a blast
These are chocolate covered gummie orange "slices". I love the taste of chocolate and orange together! This year my bag of orange slice candies were half gone before I got my candy made. I THOUGHT I had hid them well!
This is the fudge recipe I always use..no candy thermometer necessary.It doesn't list how much vanilla in the ingredients, but I use 1 tsp. Susan was one of my classmate's grammas..a sweet white haired lady. I try to remember to say a little prayer for these ladies when I use their recipes. I still have to do the butterscotch chow mein noodle haystack candies and the jumbo marshmallows that I dip in melted caramel and roll in rice krispies and I better not forget the Chex Mix or the ranch oyster crackers..I need to hurry and get his box in the mail! Hoping you are cooking up some sweet memories too! Julia