Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year…especially if you have a sweet tooth. From light-as-a-feather divinity to rich, creamy homemade fudge and delicate ribbons of red-and-white spiraled spun sugar, ‘tis the season for making and indulging in sugary confections. Pretty little gift boxes of truffles, rum balls, and peppermint bark make delicious presents for special friends and family. Crafting homemade candies at Christmas is a lasting Southern tradition.
Our grandmothers could make Divinity with their eyes closed—they have made this classic Southern Christmas candy enough times to know when the sugar syrup was cooked to the proper stage so the candy would “set up”. Sweet and nutty, with an airy texture much like meringue, divinity has deep vanilla flavor and tastes like marshmallow nougat. The fluffy candy was as reassuring of her love for us as her hugs during holiday gatherings.
Multi-colored, gel-or cream-filled hard sugar candies and ribbons of peppermint are old-fashioned favorites to fill holiday candy bowls. Stockings stuffed with candy canes hang by the chimney with cheer, and more candy canes decorate the tree and mantle. There are all kinds of ways you can use candy canes – hard or soft—in desserts and other sweets; Bob’s Peppermint Pie and Peppermint Bark are great examples. Other ideas would be to crush and stir them into ice cream or fudge, and roll pretzels coated with melted white or dark chocolate in crushed candy canes to make a sweet-salty snack. Stand up candy canes around a cheesecake or a frosted cake for a festive dessert garnish, and add them to steaming mugs of cocoa or Peppermint Chocolate Coffee to swirl in a hint of mint.
For most Southerners, it would not quite be Christmas without chocolate… rum balls to knock your socks off and hand-rolled candies like Almond Chocolate Balls with coconut and nuts. …. Creamy squares of Old-Time Chocolate Fudge or Chocolate Dreams Chocolate Fudge Candy that melt in your mouth. … Shards of English Toffee topped with a layer of silky chocolate.
We love our nuts, too, and a variety of them, such as the almonds, macadamias, cashews, and pecans, in Paula’s Nutty Brittle from Savannah’s Candy Man and pecans atop creamy, brown sugar Pralines and Pecan Pralines.
It’s a sweet life for everyone during the holidays!