Friday, December 17, 2010

Candy-Making Extravaganza!

This weekend, my family will be getting together at my house to do our annual all-day Christmas candy-making extravaganza. The sheer volume of confectionery treats that we create on this one day a year is downright sinful. We make enough candy to cover the kitchen table and every inch of available cabinet space. There will be more than enough candy sampled that day. However, the bulk of it will be given away to co-workers, neighbors, friends, and a few people we do not care enough for to buy them a real present. Why then do we go through this time-consuming ritual every year if we are only going to give all of the candy away? There are many reasons.

First and foremost, it is tradition. For years now, my mom and sisters and I have been getting together to make Christmas candy. It started out much smaller, but has grown in scale through the years. We have added new recipes. We have invited new participants. My mother has made us all gaudy Christmas aprons that we are required to wear. A couple of years ago, we added the ritual of ordering pizza for the entire clan for lunch. As we've added children and spouses to the family, we have also added alcohol to the tradition. I think I may make mimosas this year. Yum!

Aside from the traditional aspect, it is simply another opportunity to get together with people we love and cherish. Yes, I see my sister Jennifer almost every day. I talk to my mother at least once a day, 365 days a year. But I don't get to see my sister Amy as often due to her crazy hospital work schedule. And I could count on one hand the times I've seen my cousin Ashley since last year's candy-making day. So it is another excuse to get the whole family together. We also have invited a couple of special friends to join us through the years. We play Christmas music and sing obnoxious carols. The kids play and bicker and "help" with the candy making. They get sugared up and act like maniacal lunatics. Eventually, they crash into heaps in the living room floor. It's great fun for everyone!

The actual candy-making itself is enjoyable, as well. We have our tried and true recipes that we make every year. My mom always makes fudge, both chocolate and peanut butter varieties with and without nuts. I always make my world famous peanut butter balls. Some are dipped in chocolate, others in white chocolate. The white chocolate ones are my favorite. My sister Jennifer will usually make her amazing peanut butter cornflake candy. Amy has yet to find her signature candy but, ever the eternal optimist, I feel like this will be her year. In addition to our tried and true recipes, we all try new recipes each year, as well. Typically, we will each make three recipes. This year, I am doing my peanut butter balls, peppermint bark, and these decadent looking coconut caramels. Some recipes are a hit...some crash and burn. But there is something infinitely exhilarating about trying something new, regardless of the consequences.

Family, Christmas carols, ugly aprons, boatloads of sugar, peanut butter, pizza, liquor...can there possibly be a more perfect day?!


Anonymous said...

It makes me really sad that I can't be there to do it with you guys. Have fun and send us some peanut butter fudge!!


Jessica said...

Oh it sounds simply wonderful! Kind of jealous out here by myself with no family around. :( The candy sound divine too. Ever done Almond Roca? I'm going to try that for the first time this year (wish me luck).

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