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COOK OF THE WEEK - CHRISTMAS CANDY

One favorite holiday memory is the smell of the house as dozens and dozens of cookies were baked. But the holiday cookies weren’t the only special treats that were prepared in our house at this time of year. Different types of candies were also made. All of these goodies were not just for our family, though. Some were put in tins or on plates and taken to neighbors and friends, cookie walks for different organizations and the church. This week’s cook column is dedicated to those memories of growing up with some favorite holiday candy recipes and new recipes for those who are diabetic, have nut allergies or need to eat gluten free.

Divinity
Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a 2-quart saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and water. Cook to hardball stage (260 degrees) stirring only till sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Gradually pour syrup over egg whites, beating at high speed on electric mixer. Add vanilla and beat until candy holds its shape, 4 to 5 minutes. Quickly drop from a teaspoon onto waxed paper. Makes about 40 pieces.

Butterscotch Candy
Inger Marie Noelck, Elk Horn Community Cook Book
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large pan, combine all ingredients and boil together until it forms a hard ball when dropped in cold water. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Pour into buttered cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Break when cold.

Microwave Peanut Brittle
Margaret Raber
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1-3/4-2 cups unsalted dry
roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
In a 2 quart microwavable bowl, combine sugar and corn syrup and microwave on high for 4 minutes.
With a wooden spoon, stir in peanuts and microwave on high for 4 minutes.
Stir in butter and vanilla and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Remove from microwave and stir in baking soda. Pour onto a buttered cookie sheet. Break apart when completely cooled.

Mamie’s Million Dollar Fudge
Betty Coddington,
Cookin’ Together Cook Book
4-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tall can evaporated milk
12 ounces German sweet
chocolate
1 pint marshmallow crème
2 cups nuts (chopped)
12 ounces chocolate chips
Boil sugar, salt, butter and milk together for 6 minutes. Put chips, chocolate, marshmallow crème and nuts in a bowl. Pour the boiling syrup over the ingredients in the bowl. Beat until the chocolate is melted. Pour into buttered 9x13-inch pan. Let stand several hours before cutting.

Diabetic Recipes
Chocolate Almond Joy to the World
Chef Barrae, dlife.com
4 ounces unsweetened, square
baking chocolate, 4 squares
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping
cream
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups flaked, sweetened
coconut, 3/4 cup reserved
3 cup nuts, almonds, whole, 84
lightly crushed almonds; 36
reserved
1-1/2 cups granulated no calorie
sweetener
Finely chop the unsweetened bakers chocolate and place in a medium bowl with the no calorie sweetener.
Heat cream in a small saucepan on low. Whisk in the cocoa powder when it begins to bubble. Pour over the chopped chocolate and sweetener.
Stir to melt the chopped chocolate and blend all the ingredients well. Stir in the vanilla extract. Fold in 1-1/2 cups of shredded coconut and the crushed almonds. Cover and refrigerate overnight to solidify.
The next day roll out 36 balls by the tablespoonful in the palm of your hand. Place them on a wax paper lined sheet pan so they do not stick. When they are all rolled out begin rolling one side in the remaining coconut and place a whole almond in the center and gently press down to slightly flatten candy. Repeat process for all.
Refrigerate for about 1 to 2 more hours to chill thoroughly

Peanut Apple Crunch Balls
diabeticlivingonline.com
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup 68 percent vegetable oil
spread
1/4 cup honey
1 cup rice and wheat cereal
flakes, coarsely crushed
1 cup bran flakes, coarsely
crushed
1/3 cup finely snipped dried
apples
2 tablespoons finely chopped
peanuts
1/8 teaspoon apple pie spice
2 ounces white baking chocolate
(with cocoa butter), chopped
1/4 teaspoon shortening
In a medium saucepan, combine peanut butter, vegetable oil spread, and honey. Cook and stir over medium heat just until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in cereals, apples, peanuts, and apple pie spice until well mixed. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and chill 30 minutes. Divide mixture into 18 portions. Using slightly wet hands, firmly press mixture into balls (moisten hands as needed). Let stand on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet about 15 minutes or until firm.
In a small saucepan, combine white chocolate and shortening; cook and stir over low heat until melted. Drizzle balls with melted white chocolate. Cover and chill at least 15 minutes. Store, covered, in refrigerator. Makes 18.

Gluten Free Recipes
Coconut Candies
allrecipes.com
1-1/2 cups milk
4 cups white sugar
4 cups flaked coconut
1 dash vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together milk and sugar until smooth. Heat, without stirring, to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and vanilla. Let cool slightly.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper lined sheets and let cool completely.

Gluten Free Christmas Bark Candy
Pistachio Cranberry Bark Recipe
11 ounce bag of semisweet
chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups roasted, salted
pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
Line a sheet pan with a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Place the semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high until most of the chips are melted, about 2 minutes. Alternately you can put the chips in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and melt the chocolate. Stir until all the chips are melted and the chocolate is smooth and glossy. Add 1 cup of the pistachios to the chocolate and stir to combine. Pour onto the paper and spread into an even layer with a spatula about an eighth or a quarter inch thick.
Put the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high until they start to melt, about 1-1/2 minutes. Alternately you can put the chips in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Drop spoonfuls of the white chocolate here and there with a spoon onto the semisweet chocolate. With a knife or back of a spoon swirl the white chocolate into the semisweet. Sprinkle the rest of the pistachios and the cranberries over the top. Let cool. Place in the refrigerator until hard, about one-half hour. Cut or break into irregular sized and shaped pieces.

Candy Cane Bark
1/2 cup peppermint candy or
broken candy canes
11 ounce bag of bittersweet
chocolate chips
11 ounce bag of white chocolate
chips
Line a sheet pan with a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Put the candy or broken candy canes into a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or heavy skillet until you have small pieces.
Place the bittersweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high until most of the chips are melted, about 2 minutes. Alternately you can put the chips in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and melt the chocolate. Stir until all the chips are melted and the chocolate is smooth and glossy. Pour onto the paper and spread into an even layer with a spatula about an eighth or a quarter inch thick.
Put the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high until they start to melt, about 2 minutes. Alternately you can put the chips in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Drop spoonfuls of the white chocolate here and there with a spoon onto the semisweet chocolate. With a knife or back of a spoon swirl the white chocolate into the bittersweet. Sprinkle the candy pieces over the chocolates. Let cool. Place in the refrigerator until hard, about one-half hour. Cut or break into irregular sized and shaped pieces.

Nut Allergy Recipes
Crunch Chocolates
A dairy-free and nut-free alternative to a classic candy bar.
Recipe Created By: Melanie Carver
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1-1/2 teaspoons margarine
(optional)
1 cup puffed millet cereal*
Slightly toast the puffed millet cereal in a heated pan. Do not add oil to the pan.
Melt chocolate chips over double-boiler. Add margarine. Stir constantly as chips are melting and turning into glossy chocolate.
Remove from heat and pour in millet cereal. Mix until well coated.
Scoop round spoonfuls onto waxed paper and place in refrigerator to cool until chocolate hardens.
These are reminiscent of Hershey’s Crunch bars.
Comments:
I recommend using Enjoy Life chocolate chips, which are free of dairy and soy.
Substitutions:
*Any puffed cereal may be substituted (e.g. rice puffs).
Margarine is completely optional and not required for this recipe to work.

Peanut Free, Egg Free
Candy Corn
1-1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup white corn syrup
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
several drops food coloring
(optional)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup powdered milk
Combine sugar, white corn syrup, and butter in a pot, bring to a boil stirring constantly.
Turn heat down to low and boil for an additional 5 minutes.
Add vanilla, powdered sugar, salt, and powdered milk to the mixture in the pot. Remove from heat.
Stir until thick and divide among separate bowls if using food coloring.
Add a small drop of your choice of coloring to each bowl and stir, add more as needed.
When cool enough to handle, knead dough until stiff but still pliable. If dough hardens too much, it can be softened in a microwave 10-20 seconds at a time.
Using your hands, form into any shape you desire.
Set aside to dry and harden.
Shaping the candy corn can be time consuming but you can be creative and make any shape you like. This recipe can also be used for any holiday or occasion; Christmas trees, snowmen, etc. and is fun to make and shape with kids. You’ll end up with approximately a pound of candy corn more or less, depending on how much you eat while making it! Your peanut allergy and egg allergy kids will love it.
For a traditional Candy Corn shape:
Roll each color into a long rope. Press each rope together forming a striped band. Gently press the band with a rolling pin, being careful not to roll the band too thinly. Cut triangles out of the band and gently use your fingers to shape into a triangle. Set aside to dry and harden. Enjoy!

The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.