featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in California whose writing specializes in DIY, health, tech and marketing. She loves making homemade candy with her three children. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook for more delectable tips like these!

How to Make Vintage Candy

Making candy is a bit of a lost art form as far as the average American kitchen is concerned. Even at a time when homemade and organic foods are making a strong comeback, homemade candy isn’t yet a popular item.

Part of the reason, along with the homemade and organic food craze, is that there has also been a steady increase in the awareness of health and the quality of what we put into our body.
While that’s definitely a good thing, it has also kept things, like homemade candy and heavy desserts, off the radar for the most part.

Candy is a treat and should always be thought of as such. To have a steady diet of it (homemade or otherwise) is never a good idea; however, if you’re just wanting to spend some time creating something unique and cooking something in your kitchen that you’ve never thought of, homemade candy may be an excellent option for you.

Besides, candy is quite expensive in the store, so we’ll look at a few different ways that you can make your own.

(Click on the links for the recipes.)

1. Caramel -- Caramels are really simple to make. Because butter, sugar and corn syrup are the main ingredients here, just keep in mind that this is a treat, therefore, it makes sense to have lots of sugary goodness in the ingredients list.

Caramel typically comes in either a soft or hard variation, but if you have kids, they may prefer  a softer “melt in your mouth” style of caramel.

2. Peanut Brittle -- If you like sweet and salty candies, this has got to be one of the all-time best options, partly because it’s incredibly simple to make. Two cups of sugar, one cup of shelled peanuts and some white syrup is pretty much all you need.

Once it cooks down and hardens, just crack the pieces and wrap it up in fancy candy containers.

3. Taffy -- As you might have already noticed, most of these vintage candy recipes involve the same ingredients, so there’s not going to be any really complex changes when dealing with saltwater taffy.

You can make a lot of different kinds and you can pretty much make any flavor you want-- whether it be peppermint, mango, peanut butter or any other flavor. The base is going to be sugar, corn syrup and butter for just about all of them.

4. Rock Candy -- One of the most simple and basic candy recipes in the book, taking us all the way back to the 1930’s, is rock candy. You can add food coloring to make it more interesting, but to be honest, it’s just sugar-- nothing more and nothing less.

The recipe sounds like more of a science experiment, as you’ll fill a glass with hot water and dissolve as much sugar in it as possible. Then, poke a hole in the jar’s lid and lower a piece of string down into the water.
After a few hours, you’ve got yourself some rock candy! You can also repeat the process until the crystals are as big as you want them.

You’ve probably seen these in gift shops before, so next time you do, you’ll know exactly how they were made. In fact, you may even prefer to make it yourself if you desire a specific flavor.

A Vintage Activity

Making candy is a nod to America’s past, and if you want to give your candies an even more nostalgic feel, present them in vintage canisters, like metal tins, and then wrap them in wax paper.

Even if you don’t want to eat it all yourself, homemade candy makes great gifts, particularly because of the thoughtfulness that goes into making them.

1 comment:

Joan Leacott said...

Thank you, Cloris and Marcela. I'm adding your recipes to the one I found for Turkish Delight. YUM!