It’s time to stuff your face with candy, or make it for holiday gifts. Or both! Luckily lots of candy is naturally gluten-free. Unluckily, you’ll have to make it yourself since if you buy it, your candy of choice just might have all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients that may or may not contain the devil gluten. But yet, luckily again, I’ve been slaving over a hot candy thermometer just so you guys can have some great recipes for the holidays! Yes, that’s totally the only reason. Don’t look at me that way. No that’s not butter mint on my boob shelf/catch-alls.
So after experimenting (and failing miserably with the divinity — I clearly should never have moved away from the South’ish) I’ve found three winners that simply scream Christmas candy. Put these into your goodie bags, or stuff them all up in your face, I don’t care. They’re gluten-free and festive as hell. I made this:
Here’s the story with this fudge. My mother put together a family cookbook a long time ago, and this recipe was via my Aunt Shirley. Of course, I always thought See was some crazy old ancestor no one ever talked about, but was instead memorialized in this amazing fudge recipe. Then I went to California and understood that See is actually a huge candy corporation that may, or may not, sue me for reprinting this recipe. Still, this is super easy and I’ve been making it every holiday for years. This year, however, I learned a very valuable lesson about See’s Fudge: Go cheap, or go home. You see, I thought it might be nice to take it up a notch and try some organic condensed milk, maybe low-fat, some very fancy chocolate, and hey, why not some organic raw sugar while I was at it? Four attempts later I went back to the cheap stuff — we’re talking Carnation, Nestle, and Pure Cane Sugar from Hawaii — and voila, the fudge was to die for.
When I was growing up I went through a candy making phase that can only be described as “crazy” and “of the ’80s.” I had rubber candy molds, lollipop molds, chocolate molds, the works. One of my favorite things to make were these butter mints in little flower patterns. This recipe, however, tells you to go to town with a cookie cutter. So I did!
So incredibly easy, I could make, and eat, these in my sleep. The only trick is making it gluten-free. The pretzels are a no-brainer because I’m addicted to Glutino’s gluten-free pretzels. But finding chocolate covered caramels that are gluten-free is another task altogether. Lucky for me, I live near Trader Joe’s and they have chocolate covered salted caramels. But you may not, so always check with your candy company first. In a pinch (like I was in last night) buy Dove candies as their ingredient list is safe, even though it’s been manufactured in a facility with wheat. If you’re super sensitive, skip the sampling and give these out as holiday gifts to those without the sprue.
Here’s how you too, can be the talk of the neighborhood when you show up with your gluten-free candy. Oh, who are we kidding, you’re already the talk of the neighborhood because you’re gluten-free and a massive pain in the ass to prep for when invited to a party.
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes plus 1 hour chill time
1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 lb butter
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cups sugar
100 small, or 20 large marshmallows
1. Put chocolate chips, butter, nuts and vanilla in large bowl and set aside.
2. Combine milk, sugar and marshmallows into a medium sauce pan and heat on medium. Stirring occasionally until it boils, then continually stirring for six minutes after boiling. Turn down heat if it begins to brown.
3. Pour hot marshmallow mixture over bowl of chocolate chips, butter and nuts and stir vigorously until it blends together. Pour into a greased 7 ” X 10″ pan and allow to set overnight, or put in the refrigerator for one hour. Cut into cubes right before it sets.
Makes: 20 small pieces
adapted from Taste of Home and/or my recipe from @1985
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 8 hours chill time
1/2 cup butter, softened
3-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Red and green paste or liquid food coloring, optional
1. In a large bowl, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar, cream and extracts with electric mixer. If desired, divide dough into portions and knead in food coloring. (You should totally desire this.)
2. Form into balls by teaspoonfuls; flatten into patties, or roll between two pieces of waxed paper to 1/8-in. thickness and cut into desired shapes. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Store in the refrigerator.
Makes: about 8 dozen small or 2 dozen large mints
Pretzel Almond Turtles
Prep time: 2 minutes Cook time: 4 minutes
1 package gluten-free chocolate covered caramels
25 small gluten-free pretzels
50 roasted almonds
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place pretzels on the bottom of cookie sheet and place chocolate caramels on top. Heat for four minutes and immediately place two almonds on top of the soft chocolate to set when sheet comes out of the oven.
Makes: 25 candies