My dad grew up during the Depression. He usually just received a warm shirt or a pair of boots he needed for Christmas, but the one thing he looked forward to was getting candy from the mail-order catalog. Way back then you could order a pail of assorted candy, which included hard pieces and chocolates, it was a real mixed bag. He never got over the excitement of getting candy for Christmas. When my sister was a teen, she worked at the dime store and always brought home the first little white paper bag of seafoam and chocolate drops in early December when they received their first shipment of Christmas candies. His excitement would build from then on, as he studied the advertisements to get the biggest and best box of chocolates he could find. And the box would be huge, at least five pounds. He loved his candy. Our church handed out grocery bags full of candy on Christmas Eve to all the children. Dad reveled in being on the committee to fill the bags, always urging the gentleman that owned the store that donated the candy not to be so stingy with the chocolates. Still to this day, the smell of hard candies mixed with peanuts brings me right back to five-years old on Christmas Eve. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree! So every Christmas, whether we need it or not, I make a batch of candy in honor of my father.
1 C. butter
2 C. sugar
1/2 C. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg, chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate but you can use semi-sweet if you prefer)
Combine butter, sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and cook to 285 degrees (or soft crack) on a candy thermometer. Take off heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour onto a buttered cookie sheet. Cool. Melt the chocolate chips and spread over the toffee. When chocolate hardens, break into pieces. I sprinkled some chopped almonds on mine to jazz them up a bit.
Look what Ran brought home!