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Foods for Fun
Sweets to Make

By Pauline Weston Thomas for


Foods for Fun - Sweets to Make


Sweets to Make

As a child growing up in Wales, the Dylan Thomas story of the child's view of Christmas just moves me so much, every time I read it.  For me, much of it was very much like that description.  How proud I would feel to be the writer of such an evocative piece.  No wonder he was world recognised as a great writer during his lifetime.

I've added some of the recipes for items that are mentioned in the piece and on a forthcoming page will add a couple of typical crafts that we would do to amuse ourselves on a cold winter's day as children.   By the time I was ten, I was a very capable cook as my mother had already taught me well 'how to do things' in the kitchen and the home from a very young age.  She always pointed out the importance of safety in the kitchen, the difference between simmering ingredients slowly and boiling it.  She emphasised never going far from the kitchen when in the middle of making something that was cooking on the stove top in particular.  Good advice for children and adults today!!! 

Boiling sugar is very dangerous in the wrong hands as sugar become very hot when heated for toffees, so children should be supervised by a responsible adult.

Hand Made Sweets

Glas gold edged plate full of truffles

All made from recipes here on this page.

Here is a large platter of home made sweets I made.  It includes Ginger Truffles all rolled in chopped blanched almonds, dusting sugar or cocoa, or dipped in melted milk chocolate Galaxy bar.

Fudgy toffees and marzipan stuffed dates.

Recipe 1

Hard Toffee - Butterwelsh

This is from a very old Enquire Within book.  We used this recipe as children in South Wales.  Today the nanny state and I as an adult have to insist that children are supervised although I confess to making this many, many times with other playmates when younger.  Having been shown how to do it by mother and well warned of the dangers of piping hot liquid sugar when molten.   Another Welsh toffee recipe will follow shortly on another page.

Hard Toffee - Butterwelsh

Ingredients Method

Gather together and weigh out the following.

1. 2 tablespoons vinegar - we always used malt vinegar

2. 3 tablespoons of water

3. 4 oz butter (DO NOT USE MARGARINE)

4. 2 lbs white sugar (I have a feeling we just added a whole bag before and after metrication when the conversion took it to a kilo of sugar)

Other Items

Extra butter to grease a tin before you start cooking the Butterwelsh.  Use a heavy solid LARGE saucepan and a wooden spoon.  Toffee bubbles up when boiling.

Have 2 cups of very cold water nearby for testing the toffee is set.

This recipe was very economical on butter, and another version of a richer Butterwelsh toffee can be made. 

First grease a tin with butter.

Melt the butter in the two liquids in a saucepan.

Add the sugar. To speed things up the sugar can as in jam making be pre- warmed for a couple of minutes in the microwave in a Pyrex bowl.

Boil fast for 20 to 30 minutes until done by testing by dropping small amounts into a cup of cold water.  It will not be ready to test until medium honey coloured.  When it gets golden do this test until it sets hard when dropped into your cup of water.

Pour into the well buttered tin and after some minutes when it forms an impression set, mark and score into squares with the back of an oiled knife. The reality is that it mostly cracks into triangles!

Once cooked add nuts such as chopped brazil nuts or cashew nuts if you wish.

This is also suitable for coating toffee apples or slices of apples set on cocktail sticks. 

You have been reading an original food article on how to make sweets, hard toffee, fudgy toffee and ginger truffle recipes all by Pauline Weston Thomas at ©

Recipe 2

This is a fudgy toffee.   It's one we used to boil on the top of the stove.   Years ago, with its condensed milk it seemed much more extravagant than the version of Butterwelsh above.   This recipe had to be watched like a hawk, but frankly, the method I now use is the microwave.  It really is faster and so much easier to do in the microwave and there is less chance of the condensed milk burning and sticking to the base of the saucepan with black bits spoiling the mix.

In general if you need to use a saucepan to make this use a stainless steel one in preference to a non-stick pan which really dislikes mixtures with condensed milk.


A word of warning use a large Pyrex bowl as the sugar mix bubbles up in the bowl. 

Also have at hand a pair of oven gloves as the Pyrex bowl gets very hot and a careful adult should pour this out into the prepared buttered tin.  

Fudgy Toffee

Ingredients Method

2 tablespoons of water

2 oz butter

1x220 gm tin condensed milk

2 teacups of caster sugar

2 tablespoons golden syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Butter a 6-inch tin.  Put the water and the butter into a large Pyrex bowl and microwave for 20 seconds to dissolve the butter.

Open the tin of condensed milk and pour onto the liquid and add the caster sugar

Put a tablespoon into boiling water and take out 2 tablespoons of golden syrup. Do not over heap the spoon, but gentle rounding is OK.

Stir everything together and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir.

Now microwave on high continuously for 5 minutes.  (Ovens may vary - My high is on a 900 watt oven)

Have ready a table mat as the bowl is hot. Using oven gloves remove the bowl from the microwave oven. Set down on the table mat and stir in the vanilla essence.

If like add raisins and chopped walnuts or decorate with walnuts.

Pour into the buttered tin.  The toffee will continue to cook in its own heat.

When cool cut into squares with a sharp knife.  Place in gold foil cases.

Other Items

6 Inch Tin

Oven Gloves

Clear Large Pyrex Bowl


A British Teacup

Can Opener

Recipe 3

This is a cold no cook recipe, but melted chocolate can be used if preferred.

Top Tip - Keep these for a 3 or 4 days so the flavour can develop.

There is no cream in this recipe.  My husband loves the ginger truffles simply rolled in the ground almonds.  He finds they are not too indulgent for a low fat gall bladder diet. The ginger truffles have a clean taste which is a great contrast to the effect chocolate can have on the digestion.  The ginger truffles can also be rolled in crushed ginger biscuit crumbs as another less fatty alternative.

Ginger Truffles

Ginger Truffles

Ingredients Method

6 trifle sponge cakes

3oz ground almonds (keep back  2 tablespoons for rolling truffles)

2 tablespoons soft apricot jam or ginger marmalade

6 pieces of stem ginger

2 tablespoons ginger syrup

1 tablespoon rum or sherry or simply increase the ginger syrup to 3 tablespoons if the alcohol is not allowed.   Rum works very well with this.

4 oz any type of white, milk or dark chocolate to melt, or nuts or cocoa or icing sugar or all of them!

Break the cakes up and make into fine crumbs with a food mixer. 

Reserve 2 pieces of ginger for later. Now add 4 pieces of the ginger, the ginger syrup, the jam and 2 oz of the ground almonds.  Blend until very smooth.

Tip into a dish using a bowl scraper to remove the mix stuck to the side of the mixer bowl.

Now chop the 2 pieces of ginger into small pieces and add it to the mix.

Have ready a large sheet of greaseproof paper laid on a tray to lay the truffles on the paper.

Use a teaspoon and scoop out teaspoons of the mix dropping them onto the paper by pushing the mix off with the knife.

Leave to thicken up and air dry for 4 hours.

Now the ginger balls will be just that bit firmer to handle.  Put the 2 tablespoons of ground almonds into a shallow dish and pick up the ginger mix balls with the tip of the knife.  Drop the balls into the almonds and then roll them into your hands into spherical shape.   Do this to all of them.  Take about 4 or 5 balls and roll those few into chopped nuts.  They will immediately feel much firmer. 

Those to be powdered can be rolled in cocoa powder, or confectioner's icing powder when you do the chocolate coating.  Otherwise, leave the truffles spheres to air dry overnight. 

The truffles are really best left on one side with a loose piece of greaseproof on them for a few days.  In that time, they mature in flavour. 

When ready to coat them, break the 4 oz of chocolate in a basin and melt the chocolate in a microwave for three 20 second bursts, watching it carefully.  Let about half the chocolate melt and then remove it from the microwave and stir the unmelted pieces in its own chocolate, so it dissolves in its own heat.  It's important not to over cook the chocolate as the gloss gets spoiled if it's overheated.

Have ready a piece of waxed or greaseproof paper.  Put a truffle on a dessertspoon and move the truffle around in the chocolate.   Use a teaspoon to spoon more chocolate over it.  Gently drop the truffle on the waxed paper and repeat this until the melted chocolate is all used up.

If you have some white chocolate, you could drizzle it over the chocolates.   Any remaining truffles can be rolled in cocoa powder, ground almonds, chopped nuts, ginger biscuit crumbs, or confectioner's icing powder. These are all suitable truffle covering alternatives when you run out of the melted chocolate coating.  In fact we prefer them to appear mixed.

When all are firmed up display them in coloured foil sweet cases and pile them into an elegant sweet dish or a large platter.

You have been reading an original food article on how to make sweets, hard toffee, fudgy toffee and ginger truffle recipes all by Pauline Weston Thomas at ©.

Page Added Oct 2006.

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