Chocolate recipes

As promised, here are my Christmas candy recipes. When I say “butter,” I mean butter, not margarine, and when I say “chocolate chips,” I mean chocolate, not “chocolate-flavored pieces.”


Labor-intensive, but worth the trouble if you or someone you love is crazy about turtles.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
Three 12-oz. bags chocolate chips
About 2 tbsp. canola oil
About 3/4 c. pecan pieces
1/2 stick of butter

Boil the unopened can of milk in a pan of water for two hours to turn it into soft caramel. While it boils, toast the pecan pieces in butter over a low flame until butter starts to brown. Remove from heat and let cool. Mix chocolate chips and oil in a microwave-safe dish and microwave until chocolate is melted, stirring every 30 seconds.

Line cookie sheets with waxed paper. Use a teaspoon to make puddles of chocolate 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter on the cookie sheets. Arrange six pecan pieces on each puddle to make the legs, head, and tail of the turtle. Chill until the chocolate hardens.

When the caramel has cooled, open the can and place a spoonful of caramel in the center of each turtle. Chill for a few minutes, then spoon melted chocolate over each turtle, completely covering the caramel, and chill until chocolate hardens. Store in sealed containers in the refrigerator. Makes about 50 turtles.

Stained-glass windows: Use this recipe, but sprinkle the waxed paper with about a half-cup of chopped nuts or coconut before wrapping up each log. Not my favorite candy, but quick, easy, and great for adding color to gift baskets and whatnot.

Ribbon fudge: Make two batches of Fantasy Fudge — one peanut butter, one chocolate — and layer them in a greased 9×13 pan. To make peanut butter fudge, substitute a cup of cheap peanut butter (NOT all-natural — it’s too oily!) for the chocolate chips. Also, I recommend using a large jar of marshmallow cream instead of a small one for each batch. My all-time favorite fudge recipe.

Black walnut fudge: Stir a cup of black walnuts into a batch of Foolproof Chocolate Fudge. Not the world’s best fudge, but worth the five minutes it takes to make it. I suspect a small jar of marshmallow creme would improve it.


This recipe is basically an easier-to-measure version of the one in the Complete Wilton Book of Candy, which I highly recommend. Time-consuming but very easy, and great for impressing people. Best with Ghirardelli chips, but Nestle will do in a pinch.

About 3/4 c. heavy cream
18 oz. chocolate chips (about a bag and a half)
Sprinkles, chopped nuts, coconut, powdered sugar, cocoa, whatever

Bring cream to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips, and set pan in the fridge for half an hour to set up.

Drop teaspoonfuls of chocolate onto waxed paper and return chocolate to fridge until it’s the consistency of stiff playdough. Form chocolate into balls and roll in something nice (nonpareils, chopped nuts, coconut, cocoa, powdered sugar, etc.) Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 50 truffles.



“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”
— I Thess. 5:6

I missed church this morning because my cell phone, which I use as an alarm clock, didn’t wake me up.

It’s possible that the phone simply malfunctioned (it’s happened before, and I’m going to buy a real alarm clock this afternoon, just in case), but when I finally woke up, I was in the middle of a confusing and unsettling dream, so I think maybe the alarm went off, but the lines between sleep and consciousness were so blurred that I simply shut it off without ever realizing I’d heard it.

Interestingly, this frustrating experience with the alarm really illustrates the Lesson-Sermon I missed, which deals with the subtle ways in which error operates. This quote and the one above are from today’s Lesson:

“Evil thoughts and aims reach no farther and do no more harm than one’s belief permits.”
— Mary Baker Eddy

We used to live in an apartment building less than 100 yards from a railroad track. Our bedroom was on the side of the building closest to the track, and the whistles and clacking of the wheels were so loud that I would often hear them in my sleep, think that the train was coming through the wall, and take off running down the hall in terror.

I wasn’t exactly sleepwalking — the whistle was loud enough to wake the dead — but in that hazy point of consciousness between sleep and wakefulness, I couldn’t understand what was happening, so instincts took over, and I reacted based on the only information I had, some of which was true (a train was nearby), and some of which was false (the train was coming through the wall). I couldn’t distinguish between the real and the imagined until I’d regained complete consciousness of my surroundings.

That’s just the way error likes to operate: It catches me on that line between sleep and consciousness and incorporates just enough reality into its claims to trick me into thinking it’s true. If I’m awake to Truth, error can’t make me do anything. But if I’m half-asleep, it’s easy to get confused and let it trick me into doing things that don’t make any sense — like shutting off the alarm while I try to unravel a confusing situation that exists only in my imagination, or running down the hall to escape from a train that’s just rolling along the tracks where it belongs.


Christmas candy

This is what eight hours in the kitchen looks like:


Clockwise from top: black walnut fudge, ribbon fudge, stained-glass windows, turtles, more ribbon fudge, more stained-glass windows, and a pile of truffles in the center.

The black walnut fudge turned out OK. When you consider the fact that I made it in the microwave in under 10 minutes, it’s awesome. The stained-glass windows are like rocky road. Very easy. The turtles are more trouble than they’re worth, but they look kind of cool. The truffles are also pretty labor-intensive, but the payoff is better. The ribbon fudge — a layer of peanut butter fudge topped with a layer of chocolate fudge — is the best.


I found this hilarious decoration at Vintage Holiday a couple of years ago and finally remembered to pick up gumdrops to go on its branches. What a horrible candy … but a truly swell dispenser for it.


And here’s my little Christmas display in the living room: vintage aluminum Christmas tree, new color wheel (complete with CFL bulb), and a string of LED Christmas lights hanging above the whole scene. How festive.

I know I promised recipes earlier, but they’ll have to wait. My 40-hour sleep deprivation marathon is winding down, and I’m starting to get really spacy. I’ll try to post candy recipes tomorrow, when I’m coherent. For now, it’s bedtime.