Homemade candy has been a holiday tradition for hundreds of years. Readers submitted almost 300 candy entries of their family holiday favorites, making it a difficult decision narrowing down entries.
Ultimately, winners emerged as judges sampled from 14 different selections including a variety of caramels, fudge, toffee, hard candies and chewy favorites.
First place went to the winning combination of toasted nuts, toffee and chocolate in Linda Pittman’s Triple Nut Toffee. The Honey Caramels, submitted by Jerry Daugherty, were a close second place for their smooth luscious texture and Carol Walk’s Snickers Fudge placed third for its chocolate, peanut, caramel combo that tastes just like its namesake.
The five honorable mentions are: Chocolate Amaretto Snowballs, submitted by Nancy H. Peterson; Rock Candy, submitted by Diane Sherman; Pecan Espresso Bark, submitted by Barbara Wiesen; Nougat, submitted by Mary H. Hammann; and Maple Bacon Fudge, submitted by Dorothy Billington.
View all submissions below. There will be something to entice the sweet tooth in every family.
Christmas Love Turtle Doves
CHRISTMAS LOVE TURTLE DOVES
1 cup unsalted butter 1 cup Karo light corn syrup 1 tsp real vannilla
2 ¼ cup brown sugar 2 cup Half & Half dash of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
1# bag of whole pecans
1-2 bags of REAL milk chocolate either Hersheys or Nestlees is fine just don’t use baking chips
PREP YOUR WORK AREA BEFOR YOU START:
1) You WILL need a reliable candy thermometer.
2) Generously spray several muffin tins and/or cookie sheets with Pam. This recipe makes LOTS of turtles. Depending on size of each turtle you can many as 100 turtles.
3) Place in each well of the muffin tins each about 3 or 4 whole pecans or broke pieces that equal about that; or if you use cookie sheets space each cluster of pecans a good 2 ½ inches apart on cookie sheets.
MAKING THE CARMELS:
1) At medium heat melt butter then gradually add sugar, salt & corn syrup.
2) Then gradually add Half & Half.
3) MOST IMPORTANT STEP OF ALL. Stirring continuously boil to soft ball stage. Take off the burner when you reach 235 degrees which is a soft ball stage. Do NOT go past 235 degrees as the pan continues to hold heat it will keep cooking, 240 degrees which is the absolute highest you want to go. If it goes higher your carmel turn out more like hard candy rather than the soft chew you want a turtle to be.
4) Now that your carmel has reached 235 degrees, completely stir the vanilla in.
MAKING THE TURTLES:
1) Take a wooden spoon or a serving spoon, dip into carmel and pour or drizzle over the pecans.
2) This is a lengthy process as time goes by your carmel will begin to thicken in the pan. Put it back on the burner again at the LOWEST setting just to melt your carmel soft again then turn the heat off. You don’t want to start the cooking process again that will harden your carmel.
* If your stove has a melt option this makes this easy to put the pan & keep the carmel at a soft stage
on all the while you work.
3) Let the turtles firm up for a few hours.
4) Melt your chocolate chips for a few seconds in a brownie pan or bowl that is large enough for you
to dip your turtles. We usually only dip chocolate on the “shell” side of the turtle and take a spoon
to swirl the chocolate enough to cover the top.
Donna M Nadig
Jo-Carroll Energy, Inc. (NFP)
First my Mom lovingly made these every Christmas from her homemade carmel recipie; I in turn have made these turtles every year since. Truly made with love because you have to have love in your heart to make these as they take so much work and effort. A family tradition made with for over 60 years. Hope you enjoy as we have!