Red is my favorite color (and I love flowers and candy) so it's no wonder that Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. Well, it's not really a holiday, but close enough. For the past several years I've been making candy for my family as Valentine gifts. I refuse to pay $5 for a few pieces of candy loaded with artificial flavors and colors that doesn't even taste that good. Homemade candy tastes great and you can add anything you want (or NOT add anything you DON'T want). You can package it in a coffee mug, tea cup, or arrange it on a pretty plate that the recipient can keep. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite recipes with you.
Baker's One Bowl Brownies
(I know it's not candy, but these are really good and easy to make.)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar (I use brown with no problems)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour (I use whole wheat pastry with no problems)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Melt chocolate and butter in heavy 3-quart saucepan on very low heat, stirring constantly. Stir sugar into chocolate until well blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts until well blended. Spread in buttered 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool in pan. Cut into squares.
Date Nut Roll
(More challenging than brownies, but still relatively easy.)
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup nuts (I use pecans, but I bet others would be good, too)
Combine sugar, milk, butter, and dates in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, to soft ball stage (about 234-236 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and stir in nuts. Let cool until it just starts to set then quickly spoon into log on damp cup towel. Roll up in the cup towel and refrigerate until completely set. Slice and serve.
Here's the candy rolled in the cup towel.
Here's the candy after I sliced it. You can see the pecans and chunks of dates.
If you want a real challenge, I'll post my fudge recipe. It's delicious, but I wouldn't try it for my first candy-making endeavor.