Trailer and Pin-ups 029Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Well, the countdown to Christmas is in full swing and everything around here is about as chaotic as it can get.   I like getting ready for Christmas, which is really good news because otherwise I might go completely insane.  Did I mention that I bought 9 lbs of butter the other day for my Christmas cookie craziness?  Yep. 9 lbs.

Anyway, this week for my Mid-Century Menu Holiday Marathon, I decided to do two different kinds of candy.  And, in true MC Menu fashion, one is a little wacky. The other is just something I have always wanted to try.

The first is Divinity Fudge, which a lot of you out there have probably made before, but I never have.  I always page through cookbooks, see the plates and platters of candy and think, “That would be fun to try.”  And now I have an excuse to try it!

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This recipe comes from the book pictured above, the American Woman’s Cookbook. You may remember this book from the noodle ring post, which was a lot of fun. (Cookie Alert – the noodle ring post also has a great recipe for Almond Cookies, a nice addition to the christmas cookie list!) There is a whole candy section in this great book, but the Divinity Fudge looked really good.  So I was off!

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Too bad I was totally off my game when it came to prepping these ingredients.  I had to crack a total of 7 eggs to get the two egg whites you see in the red ramekin.  I don’t know what the deal was with the eggs, but the yolks kept wanted to swim around in the whites. Jeez.

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The sugar, corn syrup and water in the saucepan.

While that was heating up to light crack stage, which is ironically the level of high I get from making Christmas cookies (just kidding, moms!), I got the rest of the ingredients ready.

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The pans all buttered up.

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The egg whites, stiffly beaten.

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Here is the sugar mixture, right before it hit the right temp.  I am always terrified of this stuff, hot sugar scares the bejesus out of me.  So I was tiptoeing around the pan, trying my darndest not to get an extra drop anywhere.

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So you can appreciate how much guts it took for me to pour the hot sugar with one hand while taking a picture of it.  I was sure I was going to spill it everywhere, but it went pretty well.

And yes, my mixer is filthy. 🙂  I made a lot of cookie dough yesterday, so that baby has been getting a workout.

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Here is the fudge, poured into the pan.  Sorry I didn’t get pictures of the in between parts, but everything got really hot and crazy for a second, and then it was in the pan.  So, here it is in the pan.

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And HERE is the totally sticky bowl that I had to wash!  Ewwwww!!

Trailer and Pin-ups 031So, flushed with sucess, I decided to move on to the potato candy, which comes from this awesome book, the State of Maine Potato Cook Book.  There isn’t a publishing date on this cookbook (what is with that lately?), but I am assuming this is a 1960’s cookbook by the illustrations.  And I love the kitchen pictured on the front of the book!

Anyway, this book has a bunch of unique potato recipes I am looking forward to tackling in 2010, but I just couldn’t wait to try the recipe for Potato Candy.  It was just too intriging to wait.

Trailer and Pin-ups 032Interesting, isn’t it?  I know I am ready to go!

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Pretty simple, huh?  The potato is a bit out of place, but everything else looks good.  

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The potato and the sugar in the bowl.  I have to admit this was a lot easier than the divinity fudge.

Now, some kind of weird magic happened at this point.  I started up the mixer, and the sugar just looked really dry.  I kept mixing, and still really dry.  About thirty seconds in I was getting a little doubtful.  Then, the sugar started to ball up, like struesel topping, and then it just turned into goo.  In about 2 seconds.

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 Look at it!  I didn’t think that would happen.  I totally thought I would have to add more liquid. 

Ahh, the mystery of potatoes.

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I mixed in the salt, vanilla and coconut and crammed it into the pan.  Nothing mysterious here.

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Then I poured over the chocolate, which I melted in the microwave.  And that was it!  Pretty easy, huh?

So, then came the moment everyone has been waiting for.  Tom came home.

“Here,”  I said, barely even greeting him and shoving divinity in his hand, “try some of this.”

“Ok, but this is really sticky.”

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“How is it?”

“Really sticky.”

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“But it’s good,” he said, “Bring me the pan and a spoon.”

“Not yet, you have one more to try.” I brought him a piece of the potato candy.  “Eat this.”

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“This is so good.  It tastes just like a Mounds bar.  Bring me that pan, too.”

So, he spent the next 20 minutes eating candy and watching Merry Christmas Charlie Brown.  I would call that a sucess!!

The Verdict:

Divinity Fudge:  Very Good, but I must have not boiled the sugar long enough because it never really set up.  Next time I will go a little longer on the sugar. 

Potato Candy:  Really Good, ended up tasting just like a Mounds Bar.  You could sprinkle chopped almonds on top if you want Almond Joy.  The great thing about this recipe was there was no flour or dairy, so it would be a good Christmas treat for people with special diets.  As long as they can have sugar. Lots of sugar.

The only thing I would do differently is NOT put them in a pan if I was giving them as gifts.  I would roll them in balls and then dip them in chocolate. Just to make them fancy.

Hooray for potatoes!