"Visions of Sugarplums..." - Favorite Christmas Goodies Recipes

Before you run out and load up on gourmet chocolates and chocolate gift baskets, consider the alternative. Homemade fudge and Christmas treats let them know that you not only cared enough to give the very best, but also that you gave of your time, energy and creativity to gift them with your best.

As well, the cost savings are so incredible that you can afford to use gourmet ingredients if you choose. You never want to skimp on the quality of the ingredients - always buy the best you can afford - but there's no need to go overboard either. These recipes from my family treasury use simple, every-day ingredients, and will yield some of the yummiest, most delectable Christmas goodies you will ever taste.

My favorites are all the delicious varieties of chocolate treats. Dark chocolate fudge is a big winner. So smooth and creamy it literally melts on the tongue, it is only surpassed by heavenly chocolate covered cherries and strawberries, or white chocolate-coated pecans and pretzels. Whatever your taste, your family and friends are sure to appreciate the scrumptious Christmas treats that fill their gift baskets and grace their tables this Christmas.

Fudge Heaven

Testing For Doneness:

These candies are made using the cold water method to test doneness. Fill a small bowl with cold water. Allow the candy to fall in into the water from a spoon in small drops.

When the drops can be formed into a ball that will hold its shape, the candy has reached the "soft ball" stage - the perfect stage for most fudges.

As the boiling continues, the candy will form a firm ball (caramels), a hard ball (toffee), a crack or thread when it is dropped into the water (butterscotch), or a hard crack or thread (brittles).

Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar, or 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  • Boil together sugar, milk and cream of tartar or corn syrup to "soft ball" stage - 234 F on a candy thermometer
  • Add butter and boil one minute longer
  • Let stand 'til almost lukewarm
  • Add flavoring and beat until smooth and creamy
  • Pour into a buttered pan to a depth of 1/2 inch or slightly more
  • Mark in squares and let stand 'til firm and dry
  • Cut into squares

Chocolate Fudge: Add two ounces of grated sweet, semi-sweet, or bittersweet chocolate with the sugar.

Coconut Fudge: Add one cup shredded coconut after the fudge has been beaten and just before pouring it into the pan.

Date/Nut Fudge: Add one cup finely chopped dates and 1/2 cup broken pecans or walnuts after the mixture has been beaten. If you prefer, omit the dates completely and increase the nuts to 1 cup.

Toffee Delight

Plain Toffee (Pull Taffy)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar or 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Method:

  • Combine sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt
  • Boil to "hard ball" stage, about 265 F on a candy thermometer
  • Add vanilla and pour onto a buttered platter
  • When just cool enough to handle but still quite warm, butter your hands and pull the taffy until it is white and firm
  • Using scissors, cut into desired sizes

Pull toffee or taffy is best made with two people. Stretch the taffy between the tow of you, fold it in half, and pull again.

As the taffy stretches, fold the hank of taffy in half, in half again, and give it a twist each time you and your partner pull it out.

Kids love helping with this, but it can take a fair bit of muscle near the end when the taffy starts to stiffen. As I recall, mom and dad used to take over at that point.

What's Your Pleasure?
What's Your Pleasure?
Homemade Fudge & Cookies Gift Baskets
Homemade Fudge & Cookies Gift Baskets

Nut Brittles

This is the first candy I learned how to make. It is so simple to jazz it up by using pecans in place of the peanuts for a delightful taste treat. Almost any broken or lightly chopped nut meats can be added for different tastes and textures.

Brittle

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup shelled peanuts or broken pecan pieces
  • 1 cup sugar

Method:

  • Spread the peanuts or broken pieces of pecans evenly in a buttered pan
  • Heat sugar in a cast iron frying pan over low heat stirring constantly
  • When the sugar is completely melted (it may turn slightly golden), immediately pour it even over the nuts
  • Let stand 'til cool and break into irregular pieces

Sea Foam

This amazing candy literally melts on the tongue. Part fudge and part meringue, it is the best parts of both. Not nearly as difficult as it seems at first glance, it does require a little patience to achieve perfect results.

Sea Foam

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp flavoring (vanilla, maple, mint - your choice)

Method:

  • Beat egg whites until stiff
  • Boil sugar, syrup and water together to "soft ball" stage (234 F)
  • Beat the hot syrup a little at a time into the egg whites
  • After the syrup is all added, continue beating until the mixture is smooth and heavy, with a dull appearance
  • Stir in flavoring and drop by teaspoonful onto a buttered or oiled parchment
  • Leave until set

Yummy Treats For Santa
Yummy Treats For Santa

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11 comments

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Wonderful hub! Great recipes! And look at you and your "100"!! Fantastic!!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, Candie V! Glad you enjoyed our old family favs...and thanks so much - it's kinda cool ;)


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

I love the photos and the recipes make my mouth water! Kartika


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, kartika - and they are so easy, too!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

Yum, yum, yum. Can't wait to get to the break in my diet plan! Have bookmarked this one in anticipation of that happy day!


westernangel profile image

westernangel 7 years ago from Canada

great hub and boy I sure am hungry for some of those yummies now.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Hang in there, Paradise7. Let me know when that day is and we can celebrate together.

Thanks so much, westernangel! They're not hard to make either!


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

Gotta get my kitchen going soon - love the baking for the holidays, only problem is I enjoy eating it too LOL!


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

Okay, these are bookmarked. I so love fudge and other 'Christmas' candies -- might not even wait until Christmas to make them.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Me too, Enelle. I would love to bake more, but then I have to find people to give it to, or I'll just eat more.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, Ivorwen. The pull-taffy is a big favorite, and lots of fun for the kids, too.

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