The Christmas tree went up on December 24. All you needed were candles, [colour lights came a bit later] and a box of parlor candy. Shiny baubles and sliver streamers were few. Back in the fifties parlor candy was made from flavored fondant, wrapped in foil and hung on the Christmas tree. They were never meant for eating. Homes without children used to keep them for years. We found that out the hard way. [the fondant would quickly harden into rocks] They were not much better fresh; but we kept sampling them in the hope of finding one with chocolate flavoring. After Christmas Eve desecrated parlor candy began to show up in the oddest of places all the while the empty wrappers remained on the tree. We tried to disguise it by filling the wrappers with tissue, eventually giving up on that too. By the 6th of January our Christmas tree looked like a horde of locusts passed over it. 

Sometime in the late sixties chocolate covered bonbons burst on the market, promptly replacing the fondant candies. I saw such a box at the Hungarian Store in Vancouver once. The longing that seized me quickly gave way when I saw how much they wanted for it. I thought about making parlor candy over the years, but it was never a priority. By the time I made the Beigli and the Zserbó and a few Christmas Cookies, I had no desire left for novelty. Come to think of it any bonbon could have been wrapped up as parlor candy and hung on the tree... Well now, this recipe is no different.

This isn't your commercial version of parlor candy either. I wonder how long two dozen homemade parlor candies can last with a couple of senior citizens? We certainly sampled before I wrapped. It was hard to refrain from diving into them as they lay... chocolate slowly solidifying...  I am actually surprised that some made it up the tree. They are delicious! Adapted from Cookpad the recipe makes 24 standard sized parlor candies. Make fewer and they will be too large for the average sized Christmas tree. Mine? Well mine is a minimalist tree. A pair of parlor candies completes the look. Remember to leave the empty wrappers on the tree!

Walnut Orange Parlor Candy

1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup raisins
rind of 1 orange, finely grated
1 Tbsp orange flavored brandy or brandy extract
1/4 cup icing sugar
150 g fine quality dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp butter

  • In a food processor, separately grind up the walnuts and the coconuts until very fine.
  • Transfer them to a bowl and set them aside.
  • Place the raisins in a separate bowl and cover with boiling water.
  • Let them plump up for 10 minutes.
  • Drain well and mush in the food processor.
  • Return the reserved walnuts and coconut to the food processor.
  • Add the grated orange rinds and the brandy.
  • Process.
  • Place a sheet of parchment on the counter.
  • Scoop the icing sugar on the parchment.
  • Scrape the walnut mixture over the icing sugar.
  • Form the mixture into ball and then roll it into a rope.
  • Divide into 24 parts and shape into oblongs.
  • Place the shaped bonbons on a parchment lined tray.
  • Let them dry overnight in a cool place, but do not refregirate.
  • Next day line a tray with fresh parchment paper.
  • In a small saucepan bring an inch of water to boil.
  • Place a heatproof bowl over the saucepan. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the boiling water.
  • Add the chopped chocolate to the bowl and melt it, stirring often. Do not overheat. If you want to be sure, check it with a candy thermometer, it should register no more than 40C. Without a thermometer about 90% of the chocolate should be melted.
  • Remove the melted chocolate from heat and stir in the butter.
  • Using a fork, pick up the bonbons and one by one lower them into the melted chocolate.
  • With the aid of a small spoon slide them onto the parchment lined tray.
  • Let the chocolate coating solidify for 4 hours before trimming off the pooled chocolate at the base. Take care not to touch the bonbons; the coating is still fragile.
  • Let the chocolate coating firm up overnight in a cool place, but do not refrigerate.
  • On the third day the bonbons are ready for wrapping, tying and hanging on the tree.

Budapest Circa 1969

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!