Old-fashioned Coffee Candy Recipe

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.

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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 give it another try.

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.

18 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Coffee Candy Recipe

    1. I also like looking at old cookbooks. I’m also always surprised how few ingredients most recipes used back then. Two, three, or four ingredients were typical a hundred years ago.

  1. That coffee candy sounds yummy! Pralines are always crumbly — but that’s a bit earlier moment in sugar crystalization than softball — at least on my stove. If you want it creamier, I bet there’s a way to do it that involves a slightly higher heat — but not so high you get taffy or hard candy. Might they have made candy from molasses, do you know? Thanks for sharing this! Now I’m obsessed — what IS Christmas Candy exactly in those days?!!!!

    1. I’ll have to try these ideas sometime. I feel like if I made this recipe 4 or 5 times I’d get it right–but oh, my goodness, I don’t need all that candy around the house. :)

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