My family’s delicious holiday recipes are all filled with cryptic instructions and insider information:
“Add sugar to the chip in the blue bowl”
“Beat mixture ’till your arm falls off.”
I think this was to prevent our precious family recipes from accidentally falling into the wrong hands — Like the Nazis.
Or Mrs. Toomey, the little old lady next door, who occasionally tried to pass off recipes found in Good Housekeeping as her own.
One of my favorite holiday recipes is for Pecan Rolls — so delicious and irritating to make that they only make an appearance once a year, at Christmas. And, as Mrs. Toomey and the Nazis are no longer a threat, I thought I might share them with you.
Grandma Vernie’s Pecan Rolls
6 cups of sugar
1 can of evaporated milk
1/4 pound of butter
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 pound of pecans
Pour 2 cups of sugar in a heavy pan to melt slowly. As soon as sugar starts to melt, pour another 4 cups of sugar and cream* together and let cook while sugar is melting. Pour melted sugar in small stream, cooking until it forms a soft ball.
*she actually means evaporated milk here, “cream” is just to throw you off track
Remove from heat and add baking soda, stirring hard. Add butter and vanilla. Set off for 20 minutes to cool, then beat it ’till your arm falls off. Mixture will be thick and creamy.
Pour into the Pyrex dish and divide into four equal portions. Divide roasted* pecans into four equal portions.
*another surprise attack — you’re midway through the recipe and NOW you find out the pecans have to be roasted? If you were a member of the family, you’d already know this.
When candy is cool enough to handle*, roll in nuts on waxed paper and shape.*
*if it’s not cool enough to handle, you’ll have second-degree burns on your fingertips.
*shape into logs, and then slice about 1/2 inch thick. Another family secret. Otherwise you’d end up with four giant lumps of candy.
(Actually, four giant lumps wouldn’t be so bad. Then, you wouldn’t have to share.)