Published: December 03. 2012 2:53PM
Written by Janet Poleski
Photographed by David Poleski
Vintage, old-fashioned, whatever you want to call it — these confections have been around for years and years and have the ability to transport us back in time with just one bite.
Hazel’s Special Mints are at least 100 years old and are the perfect butter mints — just wait until you try these. The recipe is from a friend of mine’s grandmother who probably got it from her grandmother. The Hello Dolly Toffee is a takeoff from the Texan favorite that’s been around forever. It is so simple but oh so good. These are thinner than the regular Hello Dolly bars and I actually like this one better.
You’ll notice the sugar amount in the Mamie’s Old Fashioned Fudge is about half of what you typically see, but in my opinion it is just perfect. Have a plan to give some of this away or — trust me — the whole pan will disappear before you know it. Finally, my Aunt Millie’s Homemade Almond Roca is truly a treasure. It’s amazing. So please make these wonderfully simple, divinely flavored bites and see if you are not transported to a simpler, more perfect time.
Hazel’s Special Mints
Makes about 100 mints
• 1 stick of butter, at room temperature
• 1 box of powdered sugar
• 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
• 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
• 1 drop green food coloring
Cream butter and sugar together. You can use an electric mixer for this step, if desired. Add the sweetened condensed milk, mint and work together with your hands until smooth. Divide dough in half and add one drop of green coloring and work in to achieve uniform color — a very pale green. Roll each half into four rolls about the width of your finger and snip with sharp scissors. Let air dry for a few hours.
Hello Dolly Toffee
Makes 3 dozen pieces
• 13 whole graham crackers
• 1 cup butter
• 1cup brown sugar
• 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 1 cup coconut, shredded and sweetened
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 10- by 15-inch sheet pan with greased foil. Place crackers evenly on pan, breaking when necessary to fit. Bring butter and sugar to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in milk. Pour over crackers and sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips, nuts and coconut. Bake 12 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars or triangles.
Mamie’s Old Fashioned Fudge
• 1/2 stick butter
• 11/3 cup sugar
• 2/3 cup evaporated milk
• 1 7-ounce container marshmallow cream
• 11/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
Lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch pan. In a 3-quart pot, over medium heat, melt butter, sugar, milk and marshmallow cream. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove mixture from heat. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla. Fold in nuts and spread onto prepared pan. Cool at room temperature and cut into squares.
Aunt Millie’s Homemade Almond Roca
• 2 cups butter (1 pound)
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 cup almonds, whole or roughly chopped
• 1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
• ˝ cup walnuts, very finely chopped
Melt butter in a large, heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add sugar, stirring constantly until it foams. Continue stirring on medium-high heat. Add almonds. Stir until all sugar is melted and mixture becomes a mahogany color. This will take about 10 minutes. Continue to stir as you remove the pan from the heat and quickly pour onto rimmed cookie sheet. Tilt sheet back and forth to spread mixture evenly. After 2 minutes, sprinkle on chocolate chips. When they begin to melt, spread evenly with rubber spatula. Sprinkle the finely chopped walnuts over top and cool 3 hours. Break or cut into chunks and enjoy.