Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mrs. Dicksons Candy

          This is the kind of recipe that you know will be good! Bespattered and dog eared and smeared and barely readable. It has been used so many times. I know it by heart. But I always take it out and let it sit on the counter and get a few more splatters! Its just comforting. I think of the history, and "How many years have I been making these now??" And you know, I really don't know. A long time. Just a long time. They always turn out just perfect. Never had a batch mess up. Mrs. Dickson really knew what she was doing!
           Mrs.Dickson? Well, I didn't know either. For a whole lot of years. I thought she might be fictional, like Betty Crocker. Then one day, the iron horse cowboy and my friend Marty (he's an iron horse cowboy, too!) were having coffee and conversation and I put some chocolates out for snacking on. "Um hm", says Marty, " Mrs. Dicksons." Marty is not fast with words. He ate another one and kept silence. So I had to ask. Seems Mrs. Dickson was his neighbor when he was growing up. His sisters used to visit her and and learned how to make these candies. This was out in Washington Satte. About as far away from New Hampshire as you can get, by land!
           I had first gotten a lovely box of these chocolates from my sister for Christmas. Yup. Many moons ago. The iron horse cowboy claimed, (and still does) that they are the best chocolates. Ever. Get the recipe, he says. I did. There you see it. In her perfect handwriting. I can start out like that, but after a few lines, it gets messy. I don't know if she still makes, them, but I do. Every Christmas. Many batches. Gifts for everyone who needs something special. My grandkids wouldn't think it was Christmas if they didn't get their baggie of chocolates.

                                                            Mrs. Dicksons Chocolates    
                                                    Here's what you need:
                                                       4 cups nuts, coarsely chopped ( I use walnuts )
                                                        1 cube butter or margarine
                                                       2# powdered sugar
                                                        1 cup angelflake coconut
                                                       1 teaspoon vanilla
                                                         1 can Eaglebrand Milk
                                                        18 oz. chocolate chips
                                                          1/2 slab parafin, melted
                                  I use my kitchen Aid for this. It's easier, as the fondant is quite stiff. Dump your powdered sugar in the mixing bowl. Melt your butter and pour it over the sugar. Add your nuts, angelflake, vanilla and eaglebrand. Mix thoroughly. Take the bowl off the mixer and cover it and put in the refrigerator for a hour or so. Now you form it into balls. How big? How big do you want your candy to be! I make mine fairly small because then I get more candies.
                                  I cover a cookie sheet with wax paper to put the balls on. It makes about two cookie sheets full. Put them in the freezer. They are ready in about an hour, but I often just take them off the coookie sheets and put them in bags until I have time to dip them. The more frozen the better.
                                 When you're ready for the big job, you need to melt your chocolate chips and parafin together. I do it in a double boiler. It just works best for me. I'm sure you could use the microwave. You want it in some thing fairly deep so when you dip the balls in the chocolate they are completely covered. When the chcolate is melted, dip the balls in with whatever you have handy. I use tooth picks, because the iron horse cowboys chews them in lieu of smokes, so I always have hundreds of them around. When one gets too chocolately, just dash it and get another one! Work with only a few at a time, and leave the rest in the freezer.If they are at all soft, they fall off the dipping stick and drown in chocolate. Not a nice demise. Hold them over the chocolate to drip, then place on your wax papered cookie sheet. It's tedious. It takes awhile. But you don't have to do them all at once. You can save some for another day. Put them back in the freezer to harden. We leave them in the freezer. They taste better nice and cold, and they never get so hard you break your teeth or any thing.

                        I wonder if that sweet little neighbor lady in Washington ever realized how far reaching her kind heart was? All those miles and all those years and all those hundreds of Mrs. Dicksons candies! Well, I've gifted them to teachers and preachers and doctors and lawyers and cowboys. And friends and neighbors and relations and strangers. They all know of her! Pass it on. Try your hand at the best chocolates in the world. Thank you, Mrs. Dickson!