Saturday, November 29, 2014


Thanksgiving is over, so it's time to think about candy! At least, that's what a little corner of my brain thinks. My family used to make big trays of goodies as gifts, so this time of year I start remembering rolling tiny balls of flavored cream cheese in granulated sugar before smashing them in mint molds (rose shape for cinnamon and leaf shape for peppermint) or whipping molten syrup into fluffy marshmallow clouds or trying not to devour all the sweet, peanutty dough before we could roll it in chocolate to make buckeyes.

People loved the trays, and we got away with giving relatively inexpensive gifts. Obviously, we weren't the first family to need a thrifty holiday, so I decided to check out what families in the 1930s might have given their neighbors and the cousins they saw once a year.

The Household Searchlight Recipe Book (1936) suggests those families liked to make fudge with whatever was on hand. 

Like traditional chocolate fudge, but need more volume than your meager stock of ingredients will produce? Try this:

Yes, fluff up your fudge with popcorn! Just be sure to check for grannies. Breaking a tooth on the holiday fudge would not make a good tradition (although it might ensure seeing the cousins less than once a year).

If popcorn isn't your thing, you could always go with raisins and molasses as fillers instead:

And maybe if you dreamed of Chocolate-Covered Cracker Jack fudge, you could omit the raisins and add the popcorn to combine the two recipes, using peanuts in place of the chopped nuts? I can totally imagine my grandma trying that.

What if you forgot to start the fruitcake weeks in advance? There's a fudge for that:

What if you opened your fridge and didn't have much besides a big bag of carrots? Not a problem:

Yep-- carrot fudge! (Put it on the plate left out for Santa and tell the kids it's for the reindeer.)

Okay, but what if the gift is an obligation for someone you really don't like?

Prune fudge: the official candy of regret.

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