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Best Candy Recipes

In the early, hard days in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, candy was an unheard of luxury, of course. Sweetening was hard to come by, sugar was precious, molasses had many uses, and maple syrup was a godsend. Probably the first Pennsylvania candy was a little maple syrup stirred in a saucer with the last snow of winter - a special treat for good children. When at last, the day came when there could be popcorn balls, apples dipped in taffy, and even taffy pulls. That was luxury indeed.

As soon as they had sugar, there were lemon drops, butterscotch, and horehound candy. The Moravians began to make their famous mints. However, the special holiday treat was marzipan, a carry-over of Old World confectionery that appeared on days of high feasting. These charming molded fruits were delicious but so beautiful that they saved as treasures rather than eat them. They brought them here by way of Switzerland, probably on their way from many other places, for marzipan seems to be universal.

It used to be considered a poor Christmas if, along with ornamented dangling cookies, there were not strings of sugar candy, clear toys, and candy canes on every Pennsylvania German Christmas tree. At Easter, in addition to the traditional dyed eggs, there were also some of the chocolate-covered eggs filled with mashed potato and sugar in combination.

Times have changed, but many of us remember these candies and some of them are still with us. You will find recipes for some of them in the pages that follow. I have not tried to bring them up to date; I describe them pretty much as they have been made hereabouts for a long time.

Pennsylvania Dutch Did You Know?
The Pennsylvania Dutch are the descendants of Germanic peoples who emigrated to the U.S. (primarily to Pennsylvania), from Southwestern Germany and Switzerland.

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