Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yes, you can make candy on your Wood Cookstove!

We have been busy in the kitchen, getting ready for the Christmas Season.  Every year, the girls and I make candy and cookies to pass out to neighbors, the mail lady and the numerous truck drivers that deliver packages.  We take trays to friends, to employers and to the local gas station.

Making goodies together has become a wonderful family tradition.  We put on our favorite Christmas music (Amy Grant's Tennessee Christmas) push up our sleeves and have a blast.  This year, we found that we could make our treats as easily on our wood cookstove as we could on the gas and electric stoves of our past.  The work is a little hotter (the wood stove has to be REALLY hot to get that candy to 300 degrees!), but we just take turns stirring and then stepping outside in the sub-freezing temperature to cool off.

We have made a couple of our favorites.  We will make numerous batches throughout the month so this is only the beginning!

Enola Gay's Peanut Brittle

1.5 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Water
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1.5 C Sugar
1 C Water
1 C Caro (corn) Syrup
3 T. Butter
2 C Raw Peanuts (I used cocktail peanuts)

  • Butter 2 cookie sheets and warm in oven (at about 250 degrees).  
  • Combine baking soda, water and vanilla in a small bowl - set aside.  
  • In pot, combine sugar, water and corn syrup.  
  • Heat to 240 degrees.  
  • Stir in butter and peanuts.  
  • Stir constantly until 300 degrees. 
  • Take off heat.  
  • Pour previously combined mixture into the pot with peanut mixture.  Stir vigorously.  
  • Quickly pour onto cookie sheets.  
  • Let cool.  Break into pieces.

Heating the Peanut Brittle to 240 degrees
Pouring in the peanuts and butter.  We just
plop the butter on top of the nuts and
pour them in at once.
Vigorously stirring in the baking soda, water
and vanilla extract (off the heat)
Pouring onto cookie sheets
Breaking it into pieces

Better-than-York Peppermint Patties

1 Egg White
4 C Powdered Sugar
1/2 C Light Corn Syrup
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. Peppermint Extract (to taste)

Cornstarch for dusting
1 12oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Beat egg till frothy, but not stiff.
  • Slowly add powdered sugar.
  • Add corn syrup and peppermint extract.  Knead until it has the consistency of dough.  Add more sugar if necessary, until mixture is no longer sticky.
  • Roll out peppermint dough with cornstarch dusted rolling pin to 1/4 inch.
  • Cut out rounds with cookie cutter.
  • Put on cookie sheet in fridge for 45 minutes.
  • Melt chocolate chips (thinned with a little Crisco).
  • Dip patties in chocolate, turn to coat.
  • Chill patties until firm (30 minutes).
I keep these peppermint patties in the refrigerator and serve chilled.  Yummm!

Peppermint Patty dough dusted
with cornstarch
Miss Calamity cutting peppermint circles
Melting the chocolate chips with Crisco
Peppermint dough swimming in a sea of chocolate
I put them on tin foil to chill (on a cookie sheet)
Ready to serve!

One of the beautiful things about candy, is generally, it is made without fresh ingredients (I would add more corn syrup and ditch the egg white in the peppermint patties in a survival situation).  Although, not the best use of resources, making candy for Holidays would be a wonderful gift to those enduring life after the balloon goes up.  It would provide a moment of normalcy in an entirely non-normal world!

And yes, you can make candy on your wood cookstove!


  1. Those pepperment patties look real good.

  2. Ooooh!! My husband loves York Peppermint Patties!! I am definately adding this to my recipe box!! Thank you soooooo much!!!

  3. Yum! Yum! Gotta make some!

    Enola, where do you find the lovely pictures, like the one above with the mother and daughter working in the kitchen with the woodstove? And while I'm at it, where did the pictures come from on Trauma Queen's blog? Like all of the ones about gun control?

    Okay, one more question. Have you ever made homemade cream of (chicken or mushroom or celery) soup and canned it. I found some recipes online to make it but they all say to freeze the leftovers. I knew if anyone had tried canning it, you had! We use the canned soups in a lot of recipes, but the large store brand can of cream of mushroom is now $1.25 or more!

    Thanks Enola! Looking forward to more recipes!

    Diane in TX

  4. Oh yummmmm my favorite candy ...
    Thank you so much for this blog makes me smile to read it and glean what God would have me to glean.


  5. Just wanted to say that we make your Better than Krispy Kreme donuts all the time. They are fantastic! I even made them for church when we had a church clean up day. They were a hit! Thanks for taking the time to post recipes. I agree with you; when things get rough, a gift of treats can make all the difference. Just ask any woman who needs a piece of chocolate on any given day.

    Ouida Gabriel

  6. Golly, this post brings back such fond memories. My mother and my aunts (mom's sisters) and I occasionally made candy together when I was a teenager. We used to pull taffy until it got snow-white. Then we'd make divinity and fudge and a few others that I can't remember. My mom would take the slab of marble off her livingroom table and use that for rolling out and cutting some of the candies. And the humidity had to be just right or some of the concoctions wouldn't set up right. It always felt so wonderful and loving to be working together and learning from those women - women who could shoot a gun as easily as bake a pie. And they were CALIFORNIA women - when the state was still as close to earth-bound paradise as I ever saw.

    Thanks for triggering those wonderful memories, Enola. I am sure your own children are collecting fond memories as well, although they may not know it for many more years to come.

    NoCal Gal

  7. Enola,

    Please write a cook book!!! Pretty please?

    In all seriousness I, like many of your other readers really enjoy your cooking posts! Thank you so much for taking the time to document them so well; and of course sharing them with us!

  8. Colleen in upstate NYDecember 8, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    Thank you for these recipes. The girls and I made the peanut brittle today and it came out great! They were so impressed! We hope to make time to make the peppermint patties tomorrow. Your instructions, along with the pictures, gave us the confidence to try it. Thanks again!

  9. hope you have made enough of that sweet stuff to "put up" . the velocity of the poop hitting the fan is increasing at a rapid clip.

  10. Thank you! I made the peanut brittle yesterday and my kids were so impressed.

    Tanya (FL)

  11. Hi Enola,
    I made your peppermint patties yesterday and they are indeed delicious! I don't know of anyone who makes these, so it's nice to give something different. Can you tell me about how much Crisco you added to thin the chocoloate?

  12. Anonymous;

    I am so pleased your peppermint patties turned out well! I just add enough Crisco to make the chocolate thin enough to coat the candy easily. Generally speaking, it is about 1 to 2 tablespoons of Crisco to about 2 cups of chocolate chips. Have fun!

    Diane in TX;

    For all of the pictures, we just Google "old fashioned girl painting" or "pictures of the american revolution". Once you have a list of pictures, you can chainge the search to paintings. There is a huge amount of artwork on the world wide web!

    As for cream of anything soup, I have never canned any. I usually just make a white sauce and add onions or chicken or mushrooms, but I think that canning the soup is a great idea. Jackie Clay from Backwoods Home has tons of canning information, including canning cream of somethings soups. I would love to hear how it turns out!

    Enola Gay