First, plan ahead and don’t bother trying to make candy on a rainy day. The humidity in the air on those rainy days make it almost impossible to get your candy to set up properly. The best days to make candy are the really dry, cold days.
Second, use both a candy thermometer and the cold water test to check for doneness. Candy thermometers are great, but not always 100% accurate. Chances are your Grandmother didn’t even own a candy thermometer, instead she used the cold water test method. Take a small dish of ice cold water and drop a pea-sized amount of the hot sugary liquid into it. If you can form a small, soft, pliable ball when you roll it in your fingers, you have reached 138 degrees F. or soft ball stage. In candy making that is the point of perfection. When making our divinity, you have to reach both soft ball and hard ball stages. Hard ball stage is 150 degrees F. Follow the same procedure as you did with soft ball stage, except the ball should be hard when rolled in between your fingers.
Third, use a timer. Once the hot sugary liquid begins to boil, set a timer for 7 minutes. I bet your candy will be at 138 degrees F at the end of the 7 minutes. That’s it, you’re ready to make some fantastic homemade candy that will make everyone happy.
Finally, to make this gift complete, I would strongly recommend wrapping up one of our books, ‘Two Chicks from the Sticks – Back Home Baking’, and giving that with the candy. After all, it includes several delicious candy recipes your neighbors would love to make.
Your favorite Chick from the South – Jamie
Peanut Butter Fudge
1 cup peanut butter
8 ounces marshmallow crème
½ cup butter
4 cups sugar
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup peanuts (optional)
- Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and coat with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large heat-resistant bowl, combine peanut butter and marshmallow crème; set aside.
- In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar and evaporated milk. Bring mixture to boiling, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until mixture measures 235° to-240° F on a candy thermometer, or until a drop of the mixture forms a soft pliable ball when dropped into a cup of cold water. Remove from heat.
- Pour the hot mixture over peanut butter mixture. Using a sturdy wooden spoon, stir the fudge for 3 or 4 minutes or until thoroughly combined. Stir in the vanilla and if desired, peanuts.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth surface. Refrigerate fudge for 3 to 4 hours.
- Using the foil, lift the fudge out of the pan. Cut fudge into 1-inch squares. Store in refrigerated in an airtight container.
Makes: 60 pieces