Christmas is in the air. It can be seen, heard, felt, and even tasted. Right? Okay, Christmas may not actually have a flavor but then biting into a homemade piece of turtle candy or relishing a slice of grandma’s apple pie is a lip-smacking taste of the holiday.
How about Christmas scents? If you’re like me you’re drawn to a cozy atmosphere of flickering candles giving off the tantalizing scent of cinnamon and spices. I’ve discovered an easy way of enjoying the scent of these homey candles even if I don’t have one. Simmering a saucepan with water and a concoction of spices gives off this cozy scent.
I especially enjoy dumping this mixture together a few hours before we are supposed to have guests in our home filling our house with a clean, sweet smell. I’ll be delighted to share my recipe with you even though mine never does turn out the same. I just dump in some of this or that and trust it will be fine. Lemon juice or even lemon oil can be used as a substitute for the lemon slices.
If you decide to put a batch together I do have a timely tip for you. Actually, it is a bit embarrassing, I just don’t want you making the same mistake I did. Okay, this is it: Be sure to keep an eye on the saucepan or else it will eventually all evaporate. If this happens your guests will be greeted with a disgusting burnt odor, portraying a cook who is trying to do too much at once.
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole allspice
2 tablespoons whole nutmeg
5 bay leaves
1 lemon (sliced)
Now that you have “smelled” our Christmas how about having a taste of it?
Yes, we all know that candy is not the healthiest food ever but who doesn’t feel like splurging over the holidays and having some extra sweets to satisfy our sweet tooth for once?
You really should try some of the homemade candy that my sister Anna Faith makes at our uncle’s store, Villa’s Country Store, 10282 E. 340th Ave., in Flat Rock, Illinois. They have a mouth-watering variety of all kinds of options to choose from with the turtles probably ranking top on the popularity list. Anna Faith has helped make over a thousand of these the past several months. Why not drop in and try one for yourself? Okay, I know it’s not that easy. How about at least trying their recipe? Yes, I do actually have permission to share their recipe with you. Be sure you have plenty of people to share these with or you will be tempted to eat a belt-stretching amount.
YODER’S OLD-FASHIONED TURTLE CANDIES
1/3 pound white chocolate — Melt in double-boiler or microwave, then spoon dabs on wax or parchment paper. Dabs should be 1 inch in diameter.
1/2 pound pecan halves — Press three pecan halves side by side into each dab of chocolate. Leave until the white chocolate is set.
1 can sweet condensed milk — Place an unopened can in a 3 quart kettle, cover completely with water. Bring to a boil and boil gently for 3 hours. The can needs to be covered at all times, so keep monitoring how much water is in your kettle and add more if needed. Remove from heat. Let can set in water until it is room temperature. Remove from can and spread 1 rounded teaspoon of caramelized milk on top of the pecans.
1 pound milk chocolate — Melt in a double boiler or microwave then spoon on top of caramel, covering all but the tips of the pecans.
I hope you enjoy that favorite candy recipe of ours, hopefully it will become part of your holiday traditions. The holiday season, with Christmas in the air, has a specialness all its own. But most of all I love Christmas for the love I feel in my heart from our Heavenly Father who sent Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful readers.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write Gloria directly at Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish go to www.amish365.com.