How sweet it is!

Christmas candy contest results

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.

1st place
Triple Nut Toffee
2nd Place
Honey Caramels
3rd Place
Snickers Fudge


View all submissions below. There will be something to entice the sweet tooth in every family.

Recipe submissions



1 stick margarine
2 cups white sugar
1 cup white syrup
1 pint (16 ounces) whipping cream
Vanilla to taste ( I use 3 teaspoons)
Chopped nuts, if desired ( I use 1 cup chopped walnuts).
Optional additions: Chocolate chips and Sea salt


Prepare pan ahead. Grease or use a non-sticking spray. Use a cookie sheet, that has sides, or a large cake pan. Sprinkle nuts on the pan if desired, or add them to the caramels after cooking is completed.
Melt margarine, add sugar and syrup. Heat and stir. Bring to a boil and cook for 8-10 minutes while stirring frequently.
Slowly pour in whipping cream.
Cook on Low to Medium heat stirring almost constantly, scraping the bottom of the pan. It burns easily!
Cook until candy temperature reaches 240 – 241 degrees.
Remove from heat, add vanilla.
Add nuts, if you want them mixed in.
Pour onto prepared pan. Cool. Cut into pieces and wrap in wax paper.

For Salted Chocolate Caramels : I have added dark chocolate chips onto the hot caramels. Spread them out on the caramels after they have melted then sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt.

Nancy Newell
Jo-Carroll Energy, Inc. (NFP)

In the late 1970’s I worked in a small hospital in central Illinois. A patient brought in these delicious caramels for the staff. She was kind enough to share her recipe with me. I have made them ever since. Usually at Christmas. I give them as gifts to family and friends; and have sold them at our church bazaar in the past. At home they may not make it to the wrapped stage, but eaten from the pan. They are delicious!