Most people enjoy being remembered at the holidays. Homemade treats are prized and brings up positive memories of the past for many.
My Aunt Cheryl Skalnik is probably the best master of ceremonies with regards to traditional holiday baking and candymaking. She is like the "Pioneer Woman" in that as many people of her generation and region grew up making homemade baked goods,candy, canning and growing produce in the off season from being a teacher. Her recipe was given to me one Christmas at my insistence.
Please note that "Recycling" was both new and trendy, as the stationery I got for Christmas moments before was marked with the all important symbol of "ecology". I had to have been all of about 9 or 10. There are NO directions on the recipe, BTW. LOL. I got my first recipe box not too long after that. This candy was made throughout highschool and often given to friends and is a very simple recipe any older gradeschooler or teen can master as a first candy effort. Cooking helps kids understand procedures, cleanliness, food prep, shopping, giving and science. The sooner you interest your kids in cooking the better.
My Mom, Kathye Winslow hit a serious thrift spot just prior to going back to school in the 1970's. Always a home canner, she annually made a special family recipe for jelly. Beyond that, one year she made candied peels.
My daughter, Allyson relishes a Sugar Cookie recipe, cut and decorate as you wish.
This trinity of chocolate candy, candy peel and sugar cookies is a decent gift pack.
For Cheryl's Candy
1 bag of large marshmallows, halved or quartered
1 bag chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk ( NOT evaporated milk)
1/2 or more very finely chopped nuts of your choosing
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper
Melt the chocolate and the milk in a double boiler. I boiled the water, and turned it off, and THEN put the second pan in it, stirring and warming.
I left the water on the stove heating, and took the fully smooth chocolate in the pan to my work surface.
Lined up were the marshmallows first, chocolate second, and nuts on a cutting board, with the waxpaper pan last.
Drop the marshmallow pieces in one by one rolling in the chocolate. I used a spoon.
Remove them with the least amount of chocolate coating.
If your chocolate is too hot, it will MELT the marshmallows.
Drop the covered marshmallow in the nuts and roll until covered.
Remove to the wax paper. These will set as they dry.
Repeat until complete. Return the chocolate to the water if it appears stiff or loses it's gloss.
Store the completed balls in the fridge, covered. 32 marshmallows in the bag, so if you don't eat them.......
Left over nuts or chocolate can be used in other baking. I most often trick out a banana bread recipe with odds and ends.
Kathye's Candied Peel
I happened to have a single Texas Ruby Red grapefruit for dinner... so I kept the peel. Ruby Reds are very sweet, and their peel is typically not bitter. Other varieties like Indian River are equally good... sharp and bitter, but yield a different result in flavor of the finished product. This is a strong tasting item. Wash and dry the peel.
I scraped the interior of the peel with a kinfe, removing the white pith and any of the remaining fruit.
I then proceeded to divide the peel into 2" sections, and sliced it thinly.
In a sauce pan, place the peel and water to cover.
Add about 1/2 c granulated white sugar.
I put in a piece of a cinnamon stick, and 3/4 tsp of ground cloves.
Boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the water begins to evaporate to a syrup.
The peel should slightly darken, and become translucent and soft.
On a plate, with granulated, colored or turbinado sugar, dredge the peel strips in sugar until they are well coated.
Let them cool well and store in the fridge.
Some people like to dip one end in a dark chocolate.
I also saw a recipe that called for filling a pitted date with a strip of peel and then dipping that in chocolate.
Strips can be served alone as is and are a little like a jelly bean.
Chop it up and add it to banana bread for a twist. The syrup from the pan can also be used if reserved in some other cooking, like glaze for bread or such, as can the left over dredging sugar.
Home made loves of bread are equally welcome. http://www.examiner.com/article/downtown-okc-examiner-simple-rye-bread-s...
And pecans are aplenty this year too, in Oklahoma City. http://www.examiner.com/article/simple-perfect-whole-food-winter-snack