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

Dad’s Caramels


1 c. unsalted butter
1 ¼ c. brown sugar (use fresh)
1 t. vanilla
1 c. light corn syrup
1 can (15 oz.) Eagle brand milk (do not use low-fat version)
Dash of salt


1. Place butter in large microwave-safe mixing bowl (2 ½ quart works well). Microwave 1 minute to melt.
2. Blend in brown sugar, syrup, Eagle brand and salt.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High for 9 minutes (1000 watts)
4. Carefully remove wrap and stir well. Microwave uncovered on Roast power level (70) for 6 ½ minutes.
5. Mix in vanilla and pour into buttered 12×7 baking dish. Cool to room temperature.
6. Cut into 1” pieces and wrap in waxed paper.

Makes approximately 84 1″ pieces.

*Microwaves may vary in wattage, so cooking times may need to be adjusted.

1. Sea salt can be sprinkled on top while cooling.
2. Cut into ½” squares and dip in chocolate for covered caramels.
3. Can use caramel to make turtles.
4. Can add chopped walnuts.
5. Coconut Caramel Rolls: Mix sweetened condensed milk with flaked coconut (more coconut than milk) and let sit in fridge until slightly set up. Roll out caramel and spread coconut mixture on top. Roll up like a swiss roll with waxed paper and let sit in fridge until hard. Cut into ¼” thick sections and wrap in waxed paper.

Laura Becher
Corn Belt Energy Corporation

My Dad has been making homemade caramels and perfecting his caramel recipe for years, and we use it for all kinds of holiday treats, including turtles, coconut caramels and caramel cookies. It’s always been the hands-down favorite of our family and friends. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without a few of Dad’s caramels!