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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Another Sweet way to share

Last year, I shared cookie recipes for a cookie exchange. Candy is another great way to share your Christmas spirit. You don’t have to be a chef to make delicious home-made candy.

Making holiday candy is a great way to get the entire family involved. Since you do not need the oven, it is a good way to introduce children to the kitchen. They will enjoy the results of their work.

Here are three candy recipes that make great gifts: Peanut Butter Fudge, Peppermint Bark and Peanut Butter Balls.

Fudge is a great any time of the year treat. I remember my mom making this often for the holidays. To this day, peanut butter remains one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups Granulated Sugar

1/2 cup Milk

1 cup Peanut Butter

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and milk to a boil. Allow to boil for about 2 1/2 minutes, stirring regularly, and then remove from heat. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and stir until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pan and allow to cool until set. Slice into 1-inch squares to serve.

Peppermint is a traditional Christmas flavor. It is the regular flavor of Candy Canes. Peppermint Bark is perfect for a candy swap or a home-made gift. It is addicting so if you have to, make a double batch, one for you and one for your guest.

Peppermint Bark

12 ounces Dark Chocolate

12 ounces White Chocolate

1 cup Crushed Peppermints

Line a half-sheet pan with parchment or wax paper.

Melt dark chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring occasionally. When completely melted and smooth, pour onto prepared sheet pan and use an offset spatula to spread into a thin layer; it should not reach the edges of the paper. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes until set but still sticky.

Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in the same manner. If there is any powdery residue left behind after crushing the peppermint, add it to the white chocolate as it melts. When melted, pour onto cooled dark chocolate and spread into a thin layer. Immediately sprinkle crushed peppermint over the top and gently press into the chocolate. Refrigerate until completely set, at least one hour. Break into pieces.

Here is another childhood favorite. I remember making these with my mom when I was young. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is a very popular one. Just look at all of the candy that is made with these two ingredients. These bite sized treats are sure to bring out the inner child in all of you.

Peanut Butter Balls

1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter

3 tablespoons Butter, softened

1 cup Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar

8 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips

Mix peanut butter and butter together in a mixing bowl. Gradually stir in the powdered sugar until combined well into a dough ball. If needed, add more powdered sugar a little at a time until mixture holds together in a large ball. Cover and let peanut butter dough sit for about 15 minutes to firm up.

Shape into 1-inch balls, place on a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow balls to firm up. Dough balls should hold shape before dipping in chocolate. Add more refrigeration time if necessary.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler, over simmering water.

Dip peanut butter balls one at a time into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper lined baking sheet, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy your candy making this holiday season. Include the entire family and play Christmas carols in the kitchen. It will put you into the holiday spirit. Wishing you a Happy Holiday season!

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