Christmas is a time for sweet delights and with a few easy-to-make Christmas candy recipes those treats are yours for the making.
Christmas Candy Recipes
Sweets are a sure way to add the happy to your holidays. Fudge, peppermints, pralines, and Turkish delights are traditional Christmas candies that are a delicious way to greet your guests and make a fabulous gift when you go visiting friends and relatives. These Christmas candy recipes are a great place to start learning how to make candy.
Many candy recipes require you to heat the sugar to the softball stage. This means that when you drop a bit of the syrup into ice water, the syrup forms a ball that does not hold it's shape when you squeeze it between your fingers. This happens when the syrup is between 234 and 240 degrees.
Turkish delight is usually made with rosewater, which adds a distinct flavor to Turkish delight. But if you can't find it, don't panic. A little extra orange or lemon juice and a touch of red food coloring will make your Turkish delight perfect.
- 2 cups of sugar
- 4 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 2 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons of orange or lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of rosewater (if you do not have or cannot find the rosewater, just add 1 ½ tablespoons more of juice)
- 1 cup of toasted almonds or pistachios, chopped
- Confectioner's sugar (enough to coat the Turkish delights, about ½ a cup)
- Spray a 9x9 baking pan with non-stick spray.
- Cover the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
- Spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray.
- Using a medium saucepan, mix the orange juice, 1 ½ cups of water, and sugar.
- Using a low heat, stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer until the syrup is softball stage (240 degrees on your candy thermometer).
- Remove from heat.
- Mix the cornstarch, cream of tartar, and ½ cup of water in another saucepan.
- Stir over a medium flame until the mixture is smooth and it begins to boil.
- When the mixture becomes thick, slowly add the first mixture.
- Once all the juice mixture has been added to the cornstarch mixture, continue to stir for five more minutes.
- Reduce the flame to low and let simmer, covered, for five more minutes.
- Add toasted nuts. Stir to combine.
- Pour into the prepared pan.
- Let cool.
- Once the candy is completely cooled, cut it into one-inch squares.
- Roll each square in the confectioner's sugar.
- Store covered.
Peppermints are the flavor of Christmas. Bite sized red and white swirled mints or peppermint flavored candy canes are a staple of the holiday. While getting the red and white swirl is a bit advanced, making a tasty peppermint candy just takes a little practice and maybe a candy thermometer.
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
- Red food coloring (optional)
- Place the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over a medium heat.
- Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- If you see any stray sugar on the sides of the pan, use a wet pastry brush and brush down the sides.
- Bring to a boil and let boil for five minutes until the syrup reaches the softball stage (if you have a candy thermometer that would be 240 degrees).
- Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Once the syrup has cooled to slightly warmer than room temperature, whisk until it becomes creamy.
- Add the peppermint extract and food coloring.
- Using a spoon, drop bite-sized drops of the candy onto a sheet of parchment that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Let cool.
Pralines are very popular in the American south. These candies are made with pecans and make a great addition to any holiday gift basket.
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of cream
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 3 cups of chopped pecans
- Put the sugar, cream, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Cook until it comes to the softball stage.
- In a small saucepan over a low heat, melt the brown sugar.
- Add the melted brown sugar to the cream syrup.
- Add the pecans.
- Cook for two minutes while stirring.
- Spoon out onto a sheet of parchment paper that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Let cool.
This Christmas candy recipe calls for cooking the sugar to the hard crack stage between 300 to 310 degrees. The water method of testing this is to drop a small amount of the sugar into ice water. It will separate into brittle strands.
- 2 cups of brown sugar
- ¼ cup of butter
- ¼ cup of water
- A pinch of salt
- 1 cup of chopped walnuts
- Put the brown sugar, butter, water, and salt into a saucepan.
- Cook over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Stop stirring and continue to cook until it reaches the hard crack stage.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the walnuts.
- Pour into a 9x9 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Let cool.
- Cut into squares.
Hints and Tips
- Be very careful when working with sugar. You may want to keep a bowl of ice water handy not just for checking the degree of doneness of your confections, but in case any of the hot candy gets on your skin, immerse it immediately in the ice water.
- If you end up with candy stuck on the saucepan you cooked it in, don't panic. Once you are done setting up the candy just take the pan, fill it with water, and bring the water to a boil. The boiling water will dissolve the candy and make cleaning the pan much easier.