17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Saturday, December 21, 1912: Had quite a time putting things in order this morning, but how long they will stay that way I can’t tell. Ruth made some Christmas candy this afternoon.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
What kind of candy did Grandma’s sister Ruth make? . . .Maybe old-fashioned Coffee Candy? . . . Dare I suggest it? . . . I tried making Coffee Candy last December and it was a disaster that crumbled into tiny pieces. (See Interpreting Old Recipes: The Case of Coffee Candy.)
Usually when I have a cooking failure I never make the recipe again. But, bolstered by everyone’s comments and suggestions last year, I decided to try it again.
I made some adaptations to the recipe I used last year. Here’s what I did:
Old-fashioned Coffee Candy
Boil together over moderate heat, without stirring, one-half cup strong coffee, two tablespoons butter, and two cups sugar. Boil to soft ball stage (238 degrees). Remove the pan from stove. Beat rapidly until it creams. Stir in a cup of chopped walnuts, press firmly into a buttered pan and cut into squares. (I used a 6 1/2-inch square pan.)
This Coffee Candy turned out much better this year. It had a nice coffee flavor, and a texture similar to pralines. It still had a slight tendency to crumble when I cut it, but most pieces came out of the pan just fine.