All the candy classes I’ve been teaching at the city have influenced my column this week. Nothing like a sugar high to charge up the kids and guests for the holidays. I’m sounding a little ‘ornery’ here with the comments. The truth is I’ve always had a hard time doing candy classes because I try NOT to make it! Oh yes, there have been times when I’ve made myself sick eating sweets. My mom, Betty, has never been a big chocolate fan. Therefore as a kid she made lots of unique sweet treats that weren’t all chocolate. When she started making the peanut clusters way back when we were in heaven.
The peanut cluster recipe I’m posting is definitely a great keeper. It just doesn’t fail. I haven’t made any in the past couple of years. Maybe I need a good excuse?
They are great to have around for unexpected guests or an afternoon coffee. With a few simple adjustments this recipe can be turned into all kinds of clusters.
Now the apricot nuggets, this is one of my favorites. Again, this recipe can be found with many different versions. Personally I’m a big fan of orange, making this candy a refreshing surprise, on the palate. It would also make a nice addition to a tray of sweets which contain predominantly chocolate candies. Chocolate, hm…freeze these nuggets and dip them in white chocolate. A bit time consuming, but yet another delightful flavor.
For a bit of reflection it’s time to think about where the candies were kept when you were a kid growing up. At my home they sat in giant tubs in the garage. I was glad the containers were Tupperware because then mother couldn’t hear us opening the tubs. At my grandparents treats were sometimes found on a screened porch, or in the dark, ‘cool’ & scary closet. We also used fruitcake tins to hold candy 50-60 years ago. You threw out the fruitcake, and filled the tin with good stuff. Wait, not all fruitcakes were bad! Manor were delicious and I looked forward to them every year.
One thing I do suggest during this season of sweets and cookies is to downsize the portion sizes. Everyone wants to sample everything, so present smaller pieces, they can always come back for seconds. One of my biggest pet peeves is when folks fill their plates and then trash over half of what was taken.
Get busy this week everyone the clock is ticking and we have so much to get done! Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com.
10 ounces ground/chopped apricots, (use food processor)
1 pound powdered sugar, (*4 1/4 cups unsifted)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Mix orange juice, vanilla, and butter together, stir in powdered sugar, pecans and ground apricots. Make mixture into small balls about the size of a walnut. Roll each nugget in pecan meal. Place nuggets in air tight container with wax paper or parchment between layers. Yields:
Options: There are lots of different recipes on the market for this type of candy. You will find things like coconut and rice krispies just to name a couple.
*Unsifted powdered sugar is 4 1/4 cups, however if the powdered sugar is sifted it will take 4 3/4 cups.
12 ounces chocolate chips
12 ounces butterscotch chips
1 cup peanut butter
Melt the above ingredients on low; allowing to cool slightly after melting.
1 package miniature marshmallows
Approximately 8-12 ounces salted peanuts
You need the chocolate mixture slightly cool because otherwise it will
melt the marshmallows! Drop onto wax paper and allow to set.