Christmas Candy and Lasting Memories

Teaching a six-year-old how to read a candy thermometer, and actually see the elusive mercury is kind of like expecting a sixteen-year-old boy still to see invisible friends. For as long ago as I can remember, making Christmas candy has been a part of my life. 

My dad made a few candies growing up and taught me the trade.  Then, 22 years ago, I married into an even more serious candy making family and soon therafter received a bona fide candy thermometer. December is the one time of year I do anything significant in the kitchen.  Karla has her candy specialties as well, and makes each with excellence (chocolate peanut clusters, party mix, pretzels with almond bark, etc.)  but for some reason I gravitate toward  the more difficult ones, the success or failure of which hinges upon a few degrees or a few seconds. 

The two most difficult for me are toffee and caramels…. in that order.  I have ruined my share of batches of each over the years, but the making of candy is little more than good science (and proven recipes), precise measurements, “eye of the tiger” concentation, and a good memory. 

Candy thermometers are a great help, but some candies, like toffee, must be subjectively judged by the human eye.  The right hue of tan must be reached or the batch is a wreck.  Too tan (brown) and it’s a complete disaster.  Too light and it sticks in your teeth.  Whether they succeed or fail, though, I know that these are good and lasting memories for all…the smells…the laughs…the music…the eating, and that makes my heart smile!


2 thoughts on “Christmas Candy and Lasting Memories”

  1. Mike,

    You’ve been on the top of our prayer list every day since Karla alerted us to your situation several weeks ago. Our cell group and church here in Bangkok will also be lifting you up regularly when I share your decision with them this week.

    You know, it’s an awesome thing to see a Godly man go through a trial. Of course we’re sad to see you and your family having to deal with this, but what a testimony to the power and sufficiency of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. You’re a great preacher (and writer, as we all now know), but nothing compares to seeing faith in action. My family and I are so blessed by you!

    The comment above from your old high school classmate (Carol Lammers on Dec 11 above) brought me to tears. How strategic is the Lord! We so often underestimate Him, to our shame. But what a great reminder about Who is in charge around here!

    Blessings, friend, and tell Karla I’m betting on you.

    Scott Harpe for Michelle, Nathan, Lydia, and Abigail Harpe


  2. I’m just reading this post (email reading was delayed by our trip), and I have thought numerous times about your awesome toffee and caramels that Jennifer shared with me. I’m newly encouraged to purchase a candy thermometer myself and try my hand at toffee (haven’t done it in years), and try homemade caramels for the first time ever. We’ll see what 2009 holiday season brings! Your homemade caramels brought back memories from years ago!

    Your post containing the ER segment was amazing – it’s hard to believe that something like that would be aired! It’s extremely thought provoking and a terrific intro to a Gospel presentation! Alan and I watched it a couple of times in awe! Now, he plans to share it with others……

    Know that our prayers continue to be with you and your family daily!

    Mary Anne (and Alan) Kaiser


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