Old-Fashioned Brown Sugar Fudge

This type of fudge is a demanding diva. But if you swoon over the icing on a caramel cake, this is the fudge for you. To make this candy turn out perfectly, follow the recipe carefully and trust your candy thermometer. In New England, this candy is called penuche, a derivation of the Italian word panucci (which is related to the word for baker) or the Spanish word panocha (which means raw sugar).


Potato Candy

This classic candy is a testament to the talent of thrifty cooks who could craft sweet treats out of the inexpensive items that were readily available in most kitchens. Unseasoned mashed potatoes are thickened to the consistency of modeling clay with powdered sugar, then rolled into a thin rectangle. The surface is spread with peanut butter, rolled into a log, and cut into pinwheels. The secret ingredient is a guaranteed conversation starter.


Saltine Cracker Toffee

No one can believe that this irresistible toffee is quick and easy, much less made with saltines. Because the ingredients are often on hand, you can whip up a batch of this candy at the drop of a hat. It’s a great cooking project to share with children.


Martha Washingtons Recipe

Some people call these candies “bonbons”: creamy chocolate-covered orbs of coconut, pecans, and chopped maraschino cherries. When giving these as gifts, place each piece in a small paper or foil candy cup and arrange the cups in a shallow, airtight container to create your own sampler box. There’s little chance that the first First Lady actually made or ate these sweets. The name likely came from the now defunct chain of Martha Washington candy stores.


Noche Buena, North Carolina

The phrase translates literally as Christmas Eve, loosely as a Cuban Christmas meal, and mostly as the marvel of being in love.


Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates

Savory and sweet, soft and crunchy, these hors d’oeuvres have it all. Plus bacon.