Peanut Butter Hearts

I wanted to use this heart pan and thought a moldable fudge would be just the thing. There are several no-cook fudge recipes in my Mom’s recipe notebook. This one is from a booklet from the Woman’s Day magazine from December 1959. The magazine would have a The Collector’s Cook Book series of different categories that one could cut out of the magazine each month. This is #35 on candy.

There are handy hints printed throughout and the one that caught my attention was “For best results, don’t double any of the recipes or make substitutions of ingredients.” LOL might be the modern phrase to utter here!

I chose a Peanut Butter Fudge recipe and made only half the recipe. Halfway trough it occurred to me there is no chocolate so I added cocoa. When making half of a recipe it is important to do a mise en place otherwise one might put in the original amount of salt instead of half. These turned out a bit salty.

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter; the recipe calls for smooth but I used chunky.
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (should have used 1/2 teas.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt; I accidently put in 1/2 teas. (To be fair, I was interrupted in my candy making by having to go spot the Hubby who was out on the roof fixing shingles and flashing that had come loose.)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa (my addition to substitute cocoa for some of the powdered sugar)
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Mix the first five ingredients well. Then beat in the cocoa and powdered sugar. Knead until smooth. I then stuffed my fudge into the heart pan and set it in the refrigerator to chill and set before unmolding.

The hearts only used half the half recipe so I rolled the rest up in a log and stuck it in the freezer for later use and nibbling.


Making Fudge

In planning for all my holiday baking and candy making I went through my Mom’s recipe clipping notebooks over and over again. And I found her fudge recipe.

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Before finding this I had gone through my own recipe clipping notebooks and found the Never Fail Fudge Recipe by Eagle Brand Condensed Milk. So which should I make this fine day? I have a meat thermometer but not a candy one. My digital one is not working properly because it needs a new battery and I am very poor at replacing those itty-bitty round batteries.To my recollection Mom did not have a candy thermometer but would test the heat of the candy mixture by putting it in a cup of cold water. She successfully made fudge, divinity, fondant, and other candies with this tried and true method.

fudge 004I choose to go with the Never Fail Fudge adding my own touches:

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup espresso flavored chips
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (I am not sure if this will enhance the chocolate flavor or add to the coffee flavor of the espresso chips)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I always wonder why vanilla extract is added to chocolate recipes.)

Melt chips with milk and salt over low heat. When melted remove from heat and stir in walnuts and vanilla.

Have your pan prepared as this “fudges” up quite quickly. You want to line your pan with foil so you can pull the set fudge out easily to cut.

My daughter has the “fudge pot” that my Mom used. I used that pot making Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (yes, from the box with the powdered cheese!) when bringing up my kids. The best part of my Mom making fudge was that we kids (there were four of us) got to scrape the pan and lick the spoon! Ahh, I did not have any little ones here so I had to refrain from scraping the pan spotless and nibbling too much!

Chill in the fridge for two hours and then there is fudge in the house!

I will leave you with one of the inspirational clippings Mom put in her notebooks. See, she speaks and teaches us even now!

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Guest Recipe: Divinity

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My Mom always made divinity for Christmas time. I stick to fudge but my sister makes divinity. And here is her tale…

We have not had very many ‘fudge’ days (low humidity days) this Christmas season.  So Friday and Saturday were the day to make divinity.

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First try, flat and dense, not divine like divinity should be.

I used the recipe from the Kitchen Aid cookbook, not wonderful and reliable.

Saturday morning I try again, a different recipe this time from the old reliable grey book.

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All set to go.

Boil the syrup to hard ball.

Beating egg whites after the syrup was drizzled in. Here is where the recipes differ. The first wanted the mixture beaten for up to 20 minutes, and I did that.  This second recipe calls for 5 minutes of beating.

Next into the pan, I then topped it with crushed peppermint candy. (Vanilla flavored the divinity instead of almond) I swiped red food gel through hoping for a lovely effect. Looks very lovely at this point.

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The end result is tasty but the texture is odd.  The top half is fluffy like divinity and the bottom half is oozy ( I don’t know how else to describe it).  How did this happen?  Impatience. I took the candy out of the pan to soon. 

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The top had already set but the bottom hadn’t. The candy spread, then I cut it into squares.  The spreading continued!

The good news is that it is very tasty divine ooze!

The weather changed; the clouds blow in, no more divinity trials for now.

Candied Orange Peel

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You will never want to make this recipe unless it has some sentimental meaning for you. It is very labor intensive for a small amount of product. I remember my mom making this. I never watched her make it completely. Well, maybe at the very end when they get rolled in sugar, but not the process or the preparation. Well, also the part of removing the pith from our saved orange peels. I do not know which recipe she used. There are two or three possibilities in the notebooks of self-typed recipes and clippings from magazines and newspapers. I made these once before in my adult life but I don’t even remember which recipe I used. For some reason it occurred to make some this year so I set out to save orange peels. I looked up recipes and not many of them scrape the pith from the peel. That is the part I remember the most. I’m confused. But I carry on…

Jaques Pepin!

He knows to only use the orange skin and remove the pith. But he does it with a vegetable peeler. I never thought of that! This is an excellent thing to remember. I may be able to make candied orange peel every Christmas season. Yay!

Shall we proceed?

RR 002Several oranges were consumed over the course of a few weeks. I dutifully scraped the white pith from the peels. I find a spoon is the best tool as a paring knife will cut through the peel instead of just scraping and of course it will also cut the finger tips if not careful.

I admit that I froze the peels after scraping the pith. That way they would not go moldy in the fridge waiting for me to get around to using them! This may be why the final product is not bright orange in color.

I slice these peels up, put them in a pot, and cover them with cold water. Once this comes to a boil, I will drain the pot, put in fresh cold water, bring to boil, and repeat this process so that there are three times the peels are boiled in fresh water. This process is to take the bitterness out of the peel but retain the essential oil.

After the third time drain the peels and put aside. Now we make a simple syrup with sugar and water. Use two parts water to one part sugar. I will use 1 cup sugar and 2 cups water. Bring this to a boil and simmer for 8-9 minutes. It won’t look syrupy but should have a constant boil. Then put in your orange peels. Swirl the pan so that all the peels are covered. Cook these for 45 minutes. I probably did not do this exactly right as mine don’t look syrupy here at the end of 45 minutes .

Drain your candied peels on waxed paper (I use parchment paper). Sprinkle with sugar while still sticky. Let dry.

I am not happy with the result.

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very limp looking

They do not stiffen up like I remember. How to fix? I am thinking of cooking them in a syrup a little longer.



This looks much better.

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syrupy looking after an additional boil

I continue to sprinkle with sugar until they look right. When very wet they absorb the sugar.

This is a sweet-tart confection. You can do a variety of things with it but we just ate it like candy. Just a taste of childhood for the Christmas season.