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.


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.

21 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. sounds good – who needs a cup of coffee with that candy!! LOL No sugar or fat free stuff back then that is for sure! Merry Christmas!

  2. 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. 🙂

  3. I am looking for southern (Arkansas) watermelon jam and maple cream candies recipes?! If someone could point me the right way.

    1. I don’t have the recipes that you are looking for – but I’m very intrigued by the idea of making jam using watermelon. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you find the recipe.

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