Southern Christmas Candy: Brock’s Favorites Part Two

Christmas was always our favorite holiday growing up, and I never go a day without remembering all the delightful memories we had growing up with my great grandmother Mrs. Henrietta Eaves. She was the most talented cook that ever came out of the south, and that’s certainly no lie! She made favorites like fruitcake, lemon ice box pies, and these oh-so-delicious chocolate balls which are known by my family as “Martha Washington” candy balls. We always went over to her house on Christmas day for lunch, and as the years passed, and she was no longer with us, we began having dinner on Christmas night at my Aunt Rubye Eaves Whitehead’s home—where all the relatives on my daddy’s side of the family would gather and eat. We always had delicious food there—dressing, turkey, ham, fresh creamed corn, mouthwatering casseroles, orange slice bars, candies, and cookies! All good food for growing southern boys like me! Memories, memories, memories! This week, I have provided you four delicious candy recipes, much of which I grew up on. Enjoy, readers!

Aunt Rubye’s Almond Bark Christmas Candy

Note: This candy is a recipe from my Aunt Rubye Eaves Whitehead. She gave it to me over the phone after I requested the recipe a few years ago. She always makes it every year for her family and anyone who drops by, and it’s scrumptious!

2 cups Rice Krispies

2 cups miniature marshmallows

2 cups peanuts

1 pkg. white vanilla almond bark

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl, and then melt a block of vanilla almond bark in separate bowl in microwave, and pour into your dry ingredients bowl. Mix all together. Drop in clusters on wax paper. Cool until set. These are addictive and are terrific for Christmas parties!

Mama’s Easy Peanut Clusters

Note: This is one of my family’s favorites for the holidays! They are truly rich and delicious!

16 oz. jar dry roasted peanuts

1 (11 oz) bag Nestle butterscotch morsels

1 (11 oz) bag Nestle milk chocolate morsels

Melt morsels over double boiler until smooth, stirring frequently. Add peanuts to the melted mixture. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper. Cool until set. Store candy clusters in airtight containers.

Henrietta’s Martha Washington Christmas Candy

Note: We make this every Christmas, and it’s just a tradition in our family!!! I have never gone over to one of my relative’s homes and they didn’t have this candy in the freezer.

Candy:

1 stick butter (Land O’Lakes preferred)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 boxes powdered sugar

2 cups chopped pecans

Chocolate coating:

1 large bag semisweet chocolate chips

Three-fourths bar paraffin wax

Combine candy ingredients. Form into small balls. Freeze balls for 1 hour. Melt chocolate chips and paraffin in double boiler. Dip chilled balls into chocolate mixture. Cool on wax paper, and store in airtight containers.

Easy Ritz Cracker Candy

Note: This is some of the simplest Christmas candy to prepare. And guests and relatives think that you stayed up all night preparing it! I love Ritz crackers, so anything with Ritz crackers and chocolate is fair game with me!

Half cup marshmallow cream or more

Half cup peanut butter or more

48 fresh Ritz Crackers

One and one fourth cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted

1 cup finely chopped pecans

Spread about 1 teaspoon peanut butter on each of 24 Ritz crackers. Spread 1 teaspoon marshmallow creme on remaining crackers. Sandwich crackers together, using one peanut butter and one marshmallow, then dip in melted chocolate or white chocolate (almond bark), and roll in finely chopped nuts to coat. Set crackers on waxed paper and let stand until chocolate sets. Store in air-tight container for up to one week. If you don’t prefer any nuts, then leave them off. This is a very flexible candy which may be tweaked.

Editor’s note: Brock Wetherly Rogers is an experienced southern food writer, educator, overseas traveler, and passionate student of the culinary and pastry arts. E-mail your comments to him at brockrogers1@gmail.com, or find him on Facebook at Brock’s Bites-Southern Recipes.