Christmas gifts from the kitchen: Classic homemade candy and cookies (1936)

Salted caramel fudge

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Say Merry Christmas! with a box of homemade candy

Say it to the family — say it to your friends — to the young people who must spend Christmas far away from home — to the bachelor maid who has little time to fuss for herself — say it to almost anyone you know, for who will not welcome a Merry Christmas Greeting in the form of a gaily decorated package of your own homemade cookies or candies?

Christmas gifts from the kitchen: Classic homemade candy and cookies (1936)

Delicious homemade candy — and easy to make, too!

The containers are probably right at hand — those boxes and tins which you’ve been saving all year long though you really hardly knew what for — are just waiting to be commandeered in these last hurried days.

Decorate the tins with bright paints, stencil them if you like, or in the case of cardboard boxes transform them into treasure chests by covering with wallpaper samples or wrap in bright tissues or cellophane, making generous use of paper ribbons and seals to complete their festive appearance.

Glass jars with tightly fitting covers will be just grand for salted nuts — oh, there are any number of ways of sending your greeting in such a sweet or spicy manner and with the least possible expenditure other than the time and thought which mean so much and really cost so little.

MORE IDEAS: Creative ways to wrap oddly-shaped gifts (1963)

The Christmas spirit is brilliantly symbolized in these shimmering gift packages decked with wrappings, ribbons and transparent drinking straws of cellophane cellulose film. Especially effective are the fan bow of pleated film, and the pompon of straws on the jelly jar.

The classic homemade candy: Chocolate fudge

3 tablespoons butter
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup broken nuts or quartered raisins (optional)

Combine butter, sugar, syrup, chocolate and milk in a large heavy saucepan and cook to 238 degrees F (soft ball) stirring only until sugar and chocolate are melted and removing with a dampened brush any drops of syrup which form on sides of pan. Cool to lukewarm (110 degrees F) add vanilla and beat until Fudge loses its glossy appearance and is firm enough to hold its shape when a little is dropped from spoon. Stir in nuts or raisins, if used, and turn into oiled pan. Cut into squares when firm.

ALSO TRY: Traditional Christmas fudge & one-bowl holiday fudge recipes (1994)

Butterscotch homemade candy recipe

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup light or dark corn syrup
1-1/2 cups water
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine sugar, corn syrup and water and cook to 270 degrees F (medium crack) stirring only until sugar is dissolved. Add butter and continue to cook to 284-290 degrees F (hard crack) stirring constantly after butter is added. Remove from fire, add vanilla and pour into oiled pan. Cool, mark into squares and break apart when cold.

Almond butterscotch

Stir gently into butterscotch just before pouring into oiled pan 1 cup shelled unblanched almonds, slightly toasted in the oven.

Scotch kisses

Wipe small marshmallows and dip gently, one at a time, into the hot butterscotch, lifting out with fork and inverting on an oiled plate to cool.

MORE: Two-tone fudge: Chocolate & butterscotch (1968)

Marshmallow coconut squares

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
16 marshmallows, cut small
1-1/2 cups shredded coconut

Cook sugar, syrup, and milk to 238 degrees F (soft ball) add butter, then cool in pan till lukewarm (110 degrees F) Stir in marshmallows and coconut and beat until creamy. Turn into oiled pan and mark into squares.

ALSO SEE: A collection of classic Christmas cookies & treats (1950)

Vanilla caramels – delicious homemade candy

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup light cream
1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine sugar, syrup, salt and half the cream in a large saucepan. Stir until boiling, then cook gently to 230 degrees F (thread) stirring frequently. Add butter and remaining cream, not more than a tablespoon at a time so as not to check boiling. Continue cooking, still stirring frequently, to 244-246 degrees F for a soft caramel, to 248-250 degrees F for a firmer texture. Add vanilla and turn into an oiled pan (3/4 inch deep). Cut into squares when cold and wrap at once in waxed paper.

MORE: Quickie caramel candy gifts from kitchen (1958)


  • Stir in 1 cup broken nut meats just before pouring.
  • Stir in 2/3 cup shredded coconut just before pouring.
  • Flavor with 1 teaspoon maple flavoring in place of vanilla.
  • Flavor with maple and add 1 cup broken walnut meats.

Salted caramel fudge homemade candy recipe

Puffed cereal nuggets

1 cup molasses
2 tablespons vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups puffed cereal [presumably unsweetened rice or corn]

Combine first four ingredients, bring gently to boiling point, then cook until a little dropped into cold water becomes brittle — 265-270 degrees F Remove from fire, add soda, stir until thoroughly incorporated, then pour over cereal in a large mixing bowl. Stir until all grains are coated, then drop by small spoonfuls onto waxed paper.

Christmas cookie recipes
Plain foundation cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon flavoring
3 scant cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream shortening and sugar, add egg, milk and flavoring, then sifted dry ingredients. Chill, roll out, cut and bake in moderately hot oven — 375 degrees F — for about 12 minutes.

These cookies may be varied by making up double the quantity, dividing into three or more portions, flavoring each differently, then cutting into different shapes or decorating differently to add variety.

Chocolate & vanilla pinwheel cookies

Leave one batch of Foundation dough plain, color and flavor another with melted chocolate. Roll both out very thin, lay chocolate over plain, roll up like a jelly roll, chill and slice.

Christmas rings cookies

Cut Foundation cookie dough with a doughnut cutter, sprinkle with colored sugar or tiny colored candies or press bits of candied cherry and citron into tops of cookies.

Rich gingersnaps

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup cream
About 5 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

Cream butter and sugar until light; add molasses and cream, the latter beaten until thick but not stiff. Combine with dry ingredients, sifted together twice. Form into a dough and chill, preferably overnight. Roll out thin on a floured board, cut into desired shapes, and bake on greased baking sheets about 12 minutes in a moderate oven — 350-375 degrees F.

SEE SO MANY MORE RECIPES! A treasury of 100+ vintage Christmas cookie recipes

Homemade Christmas candy recipes from 1936

How to make salted nuts

Blanched nuts

Sprinkle nuts very lightly with oil, using not more than one teaspoon to a cup of nuts. Spread in one layer in baking pan and brown delicately in moderately hot oven– 375 degrees F — stirring occasionally that they may color evenly. Sprinkle with salt after removing from oven and spread on crumpled unglazed paper to absorb any surface oil.

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