A huge part of the Christmas spirit for me is the food – and drinks! – that come with the season. Christmas in my family is in no small part about eating, from our “traditional” Christmas Eve feasts and tins full of Mom’s cookies to glasses full of Grandma’s favorite whiskey sours and the brunch my sister and I often cook for our family.

In addition to the handmade knit items I’ve given for Christmas, the past few years I’ve had the chance to gift some handmade goodies  as well. A few years ago my friend ET suggested we try making candy to give out as gifts, and those experiments have continued even now that I’m no longer in Chicago. Last year, for example, my friend the hostess had a holiday candymaking party in her kitchen, and we made some amazing pralines and chocolate-peanut-butter buckeyes, among other things.

Not all experiments have been successful – ask me about making homemade marshmallows, please – but it’s been an interesting and fun experience.

 

An early experiment gone awry - trying to knead fondant by hand.
An early experiment gone awry – trying to knead fondant by hand.

Fondant and caramel centers for dipping into melting chocolate.
Fondant and caramel centers for dipping into melting chocolate.

Bunches of homemade caramels, wrapped and bagged.
Bunches of homemade caramels, wrapped and bagged.

Lollipop molds, waiting for flavored filling.
Lollipop molds, waiting for flavored filling.
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