Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network


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Cooking: Confections (Candies)

Sweets, like pleasure, are good for man if kept under control. As soon as an average amount of vegetables could be saved over and above the year's supply for food, the pioneer boiled down the juices of vegetables, such as squash, beets, carrots and others for condensed sweets. But it was not long before sugar machinery was brought into Utah and real sugar became a product of the valley.

The biography of Elias Hicks Blackburn tells the following story: "The spring of 1855 opened under more favorable circumstances, still many of the Saints went without the comforts of life, provisions were very high. Sugar, for instance, was worth a dollar a pound in Provo. In August, 1855, a memorable blessing was given to the people of Provo in the shape of a hard, white substance found upon the leaves of young cottonwood trees. We shook this substance, which was very sweet, into tubs of water and boiled it down with our process, when it congealed into sugar about the color of our common brown sugar. The Saints in Provo made between three and four thousand pounds of this kind of sugar. I told the Saints that it was a direct gift from the Lord and they freely paid their tithing on it. Among other products, I took three hundred thirty-three pounds of this sugar to Salt Lake City to the general tithing office. On explaining the matter to President Brigham Young whom I met at the door, he declared it was 'sugar from the Lord."'

Molasses Candy. Equal quantities of brown sugar and molasses, and put them into a suitable kettleùcopper is the bestùwhen it begins to boil, skim it well, and strain it, or else pour it through a fine wire sieve to free it of slivers of stalks which are often found in the sugar; then return it to the kettle and continue to boil, until when you have dipped your hand in cold water and passed one or two fingers through the boiling candy and immediately back to the cold water, what adheres when cold, will crush like dry egg shells, and does not adhere to the teeth when bitten. When done, pour it on a stone or platter which has been greased, and as it gets cool begin to throw up the edges and work it by pulling on a hook or by the hand, until bright and glistening like gold: the hands should have a little flour on them occasionally; now keep the mass by a warm stove, (if much is made at one time), and draw it into stick size, occasionally rolling them to keep round, until all is pulled out and cold, then with shears clip a little upon them, at proper lengths for the sticks, and they will snap quickly while yet the stick will bend; no color or butter, no lard or flavor is used or need be, yet any oil can be used for flavoring, if desired, when poured out to cool.

Molasses Candy without sugar. Puerto Rico molasses boiled and worked as above, has a cream shade according to the amount of pulling and most persons prefer it to the mixture of sugar and molasses, as in the first recipe.

Marba Josephson's Pioneer Fruit Candy. 1 lb raisins; 8 oz. figs; 8 oz. dates; 1 cup stoned prunes; juice of 1 orange; rind of 1 orange; 1 cup English walnuts, broken. Grind together the fruits and rind of orange; blend well with orange juice and walnut meats. Shape into balls or into flat bars. Makes 24 bars. These goodies should be allowed to stand for 24 hours in order to ripen. Dipping these fruit candies in milk chocolate makes them exceptionally tasty and healthful.

Nelle Smart's Apple Candy. 2 tbs. gelatin; 1/2 cup cold applesauce; 3/4 cup applesauce; 2 cups sugar; 1 cup nuts, chopped; 1 tbs. vanilla. Soak gelatin in 1/2 cup applesauce for 10 minutes. Combine remaining applesauce and sugar and boil for 10 minutes. Add gelatin and apple mixture and boil 15 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Take from heat, add nuts and vanilla and pour into slightly greased pan and allow to set over night. Cut in squares and roll in powdered sugar.

Honey Candy. 2 cups honey; 1 cup sugar; 1 cup cream. Combine the ingredients and cook slowly until it reaches the hard ball or crisp stage when tested in cold water. Pour onto a buttered platter. When cool enough to handle, grease or butter hands and pull until a golden color. Cut in 1 inch pieces.

Horehound Candy. Boil two ounces of dried horehound in a pint and a half of water for about half an hour; strain and add three and a half pounds of brown sugar; boil over a hot fire until sufficiently hard; pour out in flat, well-greased tins and mark into sticks or small squares with a knife as soon as cool enough to retain its shape.

Peppermint Drops. One cupful of sugar crushed fine and just moistened with boiling water, then boil five minutes; then take from the fire and. add cream of tartar the size of a pea; mix well and add four or five drops of oil of peppermint. Beat briskly until the mixture whitens, then drop quickly upon white paper. Have the cream of tartar and oil of peppermint measured while the sugar is boiling. If it sugars before it is all dropped, add a little water and boil a minute or two.

Elaine Cannon's Vinegar Candy. 2 cups sugar; 1/2 cup vinegar; 1/2 cup water; 1 tbs. butter; pinch soda. Combine sugar, vinegar and water and cook to a light crack stage. Add butter and soda, stir and remove from heat. Pour on buttered platter and cool until cool enough to handle. Pull with buttered fingers until thick. Break into pieces.

Candy Perfectly White. If it is desired to have candy that is perfectly white, proceed as follows: Best coffee sugar 21/2 lbs.; the nicest syrup 1 1/2 pints; boil very carefully, until when tried it crisps like eggs shells, or flies like glass; then draw and work upon the hook until very white.

Pop-corn Balls. Pop the corn, avoiding all that is not nicely opened; place 1/2 bu. of the corn upon a table or in a large pan; put a little water in a suitable kettle with sugar 1 lb; and boil as for candy, until it becomes quite waxy in water when tried as for candy; then remove from fire and dip into it 6 to 7 tablespoons of thick gum solution, made by pouring boiling water upon gum arabic, overnight, or some hours before; now dip the mixture upon different parts of the corn, putting a stick, or the hands, under the corn, lifting up and mixing until the corn is all saturated with candy mixture; then with the hands press the corn into balls, as the boys do snow balls, being quick, lest it sets before you get through. This amount will make about one hundred balls, if properly done. White or brown sugar may be used. And for variety, white sugar for a part and molasses or syrup for another batch. Either of these are suited to street peddlers.

Gladys Kennard gives her grandmother's recipe for ice cream: In pioneer times, special treats, such as ice cream were limited. But even in the smallest town, at least one person usually had an ice house and ice cream was the accepted "fancy food." My grandmother had a far flung reputation for making the tastiest ice cream for miles around, and in later years gave the flavor secret to her grandchildrenùto use lemon flavoring as well as vanilla, giving a sharp, delicious flavor to "plain vanilla." This is the recipe: 2 qts. milk, heated; 1 cup flour; 4 to 6 eggs; 3 cups sugar; 1 tsp. salt; 2 tbs. vanilla; 4 cups cream; 1 tsp. lemon. Combine a small amount of cold milk with flour and stir until smooth. Heat remaining milk and stir flour mixture into it, stirring until slightly thick. Beat eggs and sugar together, then stir into hot milk mixture. Cool mixture and add salt, vanilla, cream and lemon. Freeze in 6 quart freezer.

Preserved Citron. 4 lbs. citron; 4 lbs. sugar; 4 cups water; 1 small piece of ginger root; juice and rind of 4 lemons. Wash citron, cut in halves and remove seeds; then cut into smaller pieces. Sprinkle generously with salt and cover with cold water; let stand overnight. In the morning drain off water and cover with cold water. Let stand until the next day. Drain and carefully skin the citron. Combine sugar, water, ginger root, juice and rind of lemons and bring to a boil. Add the citron and cook slowly until it is tender. Remove to a platter and allow to cool before placing in jars. Add the hot syrup and seal. Citron melons, oranges and lemons also were used by the pioneers for the above recipe.

Honey was used by many of the early settlers for sweetening when white sugar was not available. One of the earliest apiarists of Utah was Jabez Durfee who came to Utah in one of the oxteam companies of 1850. While living in Springville he planted a large orchard and was the keeper of many hives of bees. The surplus honey was sold to other pioneers. In cakes, cookies, pies, candy and other recipes calling for sugar the same amount of honey was used. It seems to blend all other flavors better and gives a richer taste. Mix honey instead of sugar in whipped cream. The honey gives the cream body and if it is kept cool enables you to keep it for at least two hours.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.