Candy for Christmas
Fort Dodge man carries on family tradition with candy making
For Arlyn Goraczowski, spending time in the kitchen is one of his favorite pastimes. But when the Christmas season rolls around, he switches his focus from his usual baking, cooking
meals and grilling to making candy.
Goraczowski takes his candy making seriously
– making over 3,000 pieces a year to share with family and friends and others.
“I enjoy it. It is something we do and we give it all away,” he said. “We don’t hardly eat any of it ourselves. We give it away to our doctors, bankers, family and friends. I just really enjoy it. It is a lot of work, I’ll put in a lot of hours doing it, but it is my way to show our appreciation and it’s a personal touch.”
Goraczowski said he mainly enjoys making the more traditional candies such as Fanny Farmer Fudge, peanut clusters, cookie dough balls, coconut bon-bons, peanut butter balls, peppermint patties, caramels, rocky road fudge, English toffee, peanut brittle and more.
His love for candy making, Goraczowski said he attributes to his father, Phil Goraczowski.
Although Goraczowski said he makes a lot of the same candies his father used to, such as the Fanny Farmer fudge, but, there is one candy he has yet to replicate.
“He always made divinity and divinity is one thing that I haven’t been able to master yet and I would like to someday,” he said.
Goraczowski said he has received help from his mother Dolores Goraczowski in the past. Dolores Goraczowski used to help her husband.
“Mom has helped me and she says it is fun because she would help dad make the Fanny Farmer fudge. While I was stirring and boiling the ingredients, she was there cutting up the butter, measuring out chocolate chips and she said how it reminded her of helping dad,” he said.
Although Goraczowski tackles the making of the thousands of pieces of candies primarily on his own, he also gets assistance from his wife, Lynn and their daughter Rylie…whether it is helping with clean up, typing up recipes or dipping candies, it is a family affair at times preparing Christmas candies.
Goraczowski said he not only learned a lot when it come to making Christmas candy from his dad, but he learned a lot about baking and cooking from his mother and his grandmother.
“My mom’s mom, she did a lot of recipe writing. She would listen to talk shows and radio shows and write recipes and she organized them in tablets,” he said, adding that collection is something he treasures. “It’s just a great memory of my grandma. When I was going to college, one thing I especially remember, is I came home almost every weekend. I had a job back home and every Sunday afternoon, here came grandma before I went back and she always had cookies or bars for me to take back.”
Goraczowski, is also working on making his own cook books – and has recently had some assistance from his daughter, Rylie in typing those recipes and notes as he goes.
Goraczowski’s recipe collection goes far beyond his grandmother’s tablets, as he has lost count on the number of cookbooks and cooking magazines he has collected over the years. A collection, his grandmother actually started for him.
Goraczowski said he enjoys church cookbooks and is trying to finish a collection of Better Homes and Gardens and Better Crocker cookbooks.
Chocolaty peanut clusters
Active: 25 minutes
Cook: 2 hours plus standing
Makes: 6 ¢ pounds
1 jar (16 ounces) salted dry roasted peanuts
1 jar (16 ounces) unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1 package (11 ¢ ounces) milk chocolate chips
1 package (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
3 packages (12 ounces each) white chocolate chips
2 packages (10 ounces each) 60 percent cacao bittersweet baking chips
In a 6 quart slow cooker, combine peanuts in the bottom. Layer the remaining ingredients in order given (do not stir). Cover and cook on low for 2 to 2 ¢ hours or until chips are melted, stirring halfway through cooking.
Stir to combine all ingredients. Drop by tablespoonful onto wax paper. Refrigerate until set. Store at room temperature.
Coconut bon bons
21 ounces coconut
4 Cups powdered sugar
1 14 ounce sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter
1 pound dark melting chocolate
Melt butter; add sweetened condensed milk, sugar, vanilla and coconut.
Mix well, refrigerate overnight. Roll into 1 inch balls. Melt the chocolate and dip into chocolate and place on wax paper until set.
Makes: About 2 pounds
1 tablespoon, plus 2 cups butter (no substitutes), softened, divided 2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
TM teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
Grease a 15-inch by 10-inch by 1-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon
butter; set aside. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, melt the remaining butter. Add sugar, corn syrup and salt; cook and stir over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 295 degrees (hard-crack stage). Quickly pour into prepared pan. Let stand at room until cool about 1 hour.
In a microwave, melt chocolate chips; spread over toffee. Sprinkle with pecans. Let stand for 1 hour. Break into bite-sized pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Fanny Farmer fudge
Makes: 64 pieces
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (works with milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cook sugar and evaporated milk; stirring contently, bring to a boil.
Boil sugar and evaporate milk for 6 minutes without stirring the mixture. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Poor in greased 9 by 9 -inch pan. Refrigerate tell firm and cut into 1-inch squares.
Active: 25 minutes
Total: 25 minutes (plus 3 hours setting)
Makes: 64 pieces
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
10 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 ¢ cups)
6 1/2 ounces milk chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dulce de leche
3 tablespoons white chocolate chips
Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil, leaving a 2-inch
over hang on two sides; lightly coat the foil with cooking spray. Combine the condensed milk, semisweet and milk chocolate chips, butter, espresso powder, and slat in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan frequently with a rubber spatula, until completely melted, about 5 minutes.
Combine the dulce de leche and white chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring, until melted, about 30 seconds.
Spread the semisweet chocolate mixture in the prepared baking dish. Immediately drizzle the dulce de leche mixture on top. Drag a butter knife through the dulce de leche mixture to make a marbled pattern on top. Let cool completely at room temperature, about an hour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least two hours or overnight.
Lift the fudge out of the baking dish and peel off the foil. Cut into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife.
Perfect peppermint patties
Makes: About 5 dozen
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 – 3 teaspoons peppermint extract or 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 cups (12oz) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
In a bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Add evaporated milk and mix well. Shape
into 1-inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Flatten with a glass to a thickness of TM-inch cover and freeze for 30 min. In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and shortening. Dip patties and place on waxed paper to harden.