Just Baked

December 20, 2009

Butter Paddles and Excuses



Hey everyone! Look at these neat butter paddles that I found hidden in the back of a kitchen drawer at my parents house. According to my mom, my grandmother gave them to her, but was Not Happy about it. I'm not really sure why this is, because:

1. I know I saw several more sets of these sitting in drawers at my grandmother's house over the years.
2. I only remember seeing balls of elegantly rolled butter once or twice at my grandmother's house.
3. I can't really imagine a situation where my mom would be asking my grandmother to please, please part with some of her butter paddles so that she too can grace her table with beautiful balls of butter.

Anyway, the butter paddles are mine now, and you can rest assured that some day soon I will try my hand at making pretty balls of butter to impress my guests with.

I don't have a recipe for you today. I'm sure you're very disapointed. I'm going to employ the Standard December Excuse, and say that I've just been totally busy with holiday related things. You'd think I would know better than to decide to handmake 80% of the presents I'm giving this year, but I promise you: No, I don't know better.

A large percentage of what I'm making is candy. "But Temma! You're making candy! Why aren't you making candy from your grandmother's recipies?" Well, I can't find any candy recipes in the boxes. If I didn't remember yesterday that she and I used to make a delicious peanut butter fudge, I would tell you that candy was something she never bothered to make. As it is, I can't find the fudge recipe, and the closest thing in the boxes to candy is a "tutti frutti ice cream" recipe-- I'm going to save that for when it's warmer out.

So my grandmother didn't really make candy. Her house was always, always full of chocolate, and she had some for anyone. For young folks, she always had a variety of Hershey's Kisses and M&Ms sitting out in elegant glass containers-- if you looked very solomn and promised to be careful, you could go and lift the heavy lids off of the containers yourself and choose the Kisses that looked the most appealing.

In the dining room there was another glass container, often full of Ferrero Rocher chocolate balls or chocolate covered mints. There would also be a little container of hard candies nearby, normally those old fashioned ones that had wrappers that looked like strawberries-- I always felt that the hard candies were there for the benefit of my Poppop, since he seemed to prefer those to my grandmother's fancy chocolates. And oh, the fancy chocolates!

The fanciest were kept in the kitchen, just a few steps away from my grandmother's favorite kitchen chair. There was always a box or two of chocolates sitting there, boxes full of elagant candy that my relatives had discovered in hidden shops around Philadephia or New York, and then brought for her to taste. She would always offer them when you were about to leave- "for the road"- or when you were about to go up to bed - or after dinner - or after dessert. She was very free with her candy, probably because she knew she would always be showered with more, so there wasn't any need to hoard it.

Or for her to make it. I had to track down some candy recipes online. It turned out to be easier than I thought it would be, although without a candy thermometer I'm sure it would have been the most frustrating thing ever. Here is a recipe for some Fleur de sel caramels I've been making, and here is a quick photo of mine:



Not nearly as pretty, but what can you do.

Anyway, I'll be back with more recipes after the holidays, as I'm currently preparing to be up to my elbows in marshmallows.

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Honey Never Spoils by Temma Hankin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.