These are on the list of Christmas cookies and candies I make every single holiday season. For the first time ever though this year, I felt sad making them. I had a memory of myself as a little girl at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I remembered the dining room where all the adults sat, and and a separate table set for the kids in the adjoining living room. “The kids table”, where all the mischief went down. The vision of myself plucking one of these off of the table after dinner was over and the adults were having coffee was so clear in my head. They have always been one of my favorites.
It’s been so long since I’ve been in that house, as my Grandma sold it for a smaller place eventually after my Grandpa passed away over 25 years ago. My Grandma is 93 now. While physically she does unbelievably well, her mind has been slipping more and more over the years. She’s not doing so well recently, and I know that’s where the sadness suddenly came from. I’m grateful to have one grandparent left, but at the same time it’s a bit more heartbreaking every time I see her, as she slowly is succumbing to Alzheimer’s more and more. Not only is it hard on her, I know it’s hard on her kids as well. Especially her daughter, my favorite Aunt, who primarily takes care of her. I can’t imagine going through that with my own mother. While making these this year I felt myself almost in tears remembering Christmases from so many years ago, thinking of how unfair life can be. Of course I quickly pulled myself together and pushed positive thoughts into my mind, thinking of what a long life she’s had full of family and love. It seems the older I get the more nostalgic I become. And while sometimes the memories make me sad, I’m also so happy I have memories of good times. I know there are people that don’t even have that. I always try to share my favorite cookie or candy recipes around Christmas, and these are a special one to me. I hope if you try them you love them and they can become part of your tradition too. The only difficult part: finding the cherry chips! If you can’t find them at any of your local grocery stores, you can buy them online here.
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup half & half or evaporated milk
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows
- 1 cup cherry chips
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 cup salted Spanish peanuts
- Combine the sugar, butter, salt and half & half in 2 quart saucepan. Boil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in marshmallows and cherry chips until melted, then spread in a 8 or 9 inch square pan that has been lined with wax paper.
- Melt chocolate chips with peanut butter in small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, or microwave in a glass bowl at 50% power for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in peanuts. Spread over cherry layer. When cool, cut into squares.