Easter treats: Whip up some homemade candy this holiday
From left, Lydia Borger, Madison Borger and Aubrey Fink sneak tastes of the peanut butter and coconut candy mixture as Dawn Borger stirs in the ingredients. Candy making is a yearly tradition for the family. STACI L. GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Allison Borger dips the egg-shaped candy into melted chocolate, lightly rolls it and places it on the baking sheet. After this step, the baking sheet will go into refrigerator so the candy can harden.
Cousins Aubrey Fink and Madison Borger roll the mixture into egg shapes.
Lydia Borger dips the egg-shaped candy into melted chocolate, lightly rolls it and places it on the baking sheet. After this step, the baking sheet will go into refrigerator so the candy can harden.
These eggs are coated in chocolate and filled with coconut, insteadof peanut butter. Adding multicolored sprinkles to some makes the sweet treat more festive.
Helen Smale carefully rolls the dough into a log. Afterward, it will go into the refrigerator to harden.
The finished potato candy looks like a pinwheel when sliced and arranged on a plate.
The finished egg-shaped peanut butter coconut candies are ready to go home with family members and into Easter baskets. Darlene Smith and her family have been making these every year since her daughters were young.
When it’s time to fill those Easter baskets, be sure to include some of these homemade candy recipes. They will complement any store-bought treats and trinkets.
Honoring our loved ones
For more than 30 years, Darlene Smith and her daughters have gathered in her Kunkletown kitchen to make egg-shaped peanut butter coconut candy for Easter.
The recipe is a family tradition handed down from Smith’s in-laws, Margaret and Raymond Smith.
Smith’s daughters have fond memories of candy-making days with Pappy and Grammy.
“We have done it every year since we were little,” said Dawn Borger of Kunkletown. “And now our girls have been helping since they were little.”
Borger has three daughters, 11-year-old twins Allison and Lydia, and 9-year-old Madison. Borger’s older sister, Angie Fink of Palmerton, has a daughter, 6-year-old Aubrey. Borger’s younger sister, Amanda Choy of Palmerton, is a proud aunt of all four girls.
Smith, her daughters and granddaughters gathered recently to make two batches of candy for Easter.
“The batches are shared with family. We try to save some for Easter,” said Smith.
A treat as tasty as this is hard to wait for.
“I like to taste test before it’s finished. I sneak some when no one is looking,” said Madison as her mom mixed the peanut butter, vanilla, sugar and coconut together.
Aubrey dabbed her finger in the mixture and took a satisfying lick.
Borger purchased the block of Hershey’s baker’s chocolate from Centerville Bulk Foods in Lancaster.
Instead of a bag of shredded coconut, they prefer to get a fresh one and shred it.
And it is always Jif peanut butter. Never a different brand. Smith presumes that it was Raymond’s favorite brand.
“The peanut butter and chocolate are so good. I like being with everyone to make it,” said Aubrey.
Smith watched as the twins took turns stirring the chocolate. They dipped each egg into it and rolled it. She offered tips and advice, but never took over as they removed the egg from the chocolate and placed it on the baking sheet.
“We are carrying on the tradition in our grandparents’ honor. It is fun to see the kids rolling the mixture into egg shapes and then dipping in the chocolate,” said Choy.
In addition to making candy, they gather one day to dye Easter eggs. On Easter, Smith will host the family’s meal.
“Easter is a big day for us. The girls go through their Easter baskets. We have an egg hunt at home. Then we go to other family members’ homes to hunt eggs. We hunt here too. It’s a busy day as we visit my family and my in-laws,” said Borger.
Egg-shaped Peanut Butter Coconut Candy
1 fresh coconut, cleaned, peeled and shredded
1 2-pound bag of powdered sugar
1 40-ounce jar of Jif peanut butter
Vanilla extract (“eyeball” the amount depending on dryness of coconut)
1 block of Hershey’s baker’s chocolate, melted on a double broiler
Gulf Wax (paraffin), shaved (add only a very little amount until chocolate has a glossy look)
Mix peanut butter, sugar, coconut and vanilla in large bowl. Start melting chocolate and wax on a double boiler.
Roll mixture into egg shape. Refrigerate a few minutes if necessary. Dip eggs in melted chocolate, roll it. Place on baking sheet. Place in refrigerator to harden.
Mashed potatoes today, candy tomorrow
“Anytime I had leftover mashed potatoes, I would make these. We did not always have money for store-bought candy,” said Helen Smale, my maternal grandmother.
Growing up, I remember being in her kitchen as she made a batch or two.
Believe me, they are yummy! I ate these a lot as a kid. The mashed potatoes we had one night for dinner are still delicious a day later when turned into candy.
Typing up the recipe, it occurred to me that I could whip up a batch with my 5-year-old daughter, Molly.
“Your Nanny loves this. She always asked me to make it,” Mammy told Molly while rolling out the dough.
Nanny is my mom, Carla George, and grandmother to my kids.
“Are we ready now? Are we ready now? How about now,” Molly asked while waiting to spread out the peanut butter.
When all the peanut butter was spread evenly, Mammy started at one edge to roll it into a log.
“This part is tricky. You got to be careful,” she said.
Soon, it was all rolled and ready for the refrigerator. Before going to bed, we sliced a few pieces and placed on a plate to taste test. Once again … yum!
Maybe this will become our Easter tradition. Molly loves to bake and cook with me.
1 medium potato, peeled and cooked; mash fine
2 pounds of confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
11 ounces peanut butter
Boil potato until well done. Mash in a bowl with fork until real smooth. Add sugar gradually. Mix until it looks like pie dough. Blend in vanilla. Shape into ball. Divide dough in half. Lightly wet counter and place wax paper on it. Place first ball on wax paper. Cover it with second piece of wax paper. Roll it out to thickness of pie dough. Remove wax paper. Spread softened peanut butter over rolled potato mixture. Start at corner and roll it like a jelly roll. Leave it on wax paper to chill in refrigerator overnight. Repeat steps with second ball. The next day, slice into ¼- or ½-inch thickness. Keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out.
Patience is Important
I received a recipe via email. The person wished to share her recipe, but not her name.
“Do not attempt making these Easter eggs unless you are patient and have time to complete the project. I make the candy eggs on one day and coat at a later date,” she wrote.
“This recipe makes 64 medium size candy eggs. When coated with chocolate, they become a nice size to share with family and friends.”
Homemade Candy Easter Eggs
8 ounces softened cream cheese
¼ cup of melted butter
1½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
12 ounces of peanut butter OR (Substitute 12 ounces of shredded coconut, and 1 teaspoon of coconut extract to make coconut eggs)
2 pounds of powdered sugar
Mix cream cheese, butter, vanilla, salt, peanut butter or substitutes. Beat until well blended. Then, add the confectioners sugar. Work it into the mixture, 1 cup at a time. After using 4 cups, it is best to mix by hand using vinyl disposable gloves. When all blended, using the gloves, roll the mix into egg-shaped candy. You may need to add a little powdered sugar to your hands to keep the candy from sticking.
Place the eggs onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate to harden several hours or overnight. Then, coat with your favorite melted chocolate, using a double boiler.
Note: She only removes 12 eggs at a time from the refrigerator for coating. When the candy eggs become room temperature, they become soft, and they can fall off the skewers when coating. She uses small metal skewers to pierce the candy egg from the top, and then dip into the chocolate. A tooth pick is handy to remove the skewer. If an indention occurs, top the candy with a fancy swirl of the melted chocolate using a toothpick.
You can also decorate the egg after dipping and while the chocolate is still wet with spring-colored sprinkles.