Thursday, April 21, 2011

Homemade Candy--Cooking with Millie Crawford and Carl Jackson from The Jacody Ives Mysteries

I decided today that I was really in the mood for homemade candy, so I thought I'd invite two of my favorite Jacody Ives characters into the kitchen. Welcome, if you would, Millie Crawford and Carl Jackson. Two very old friends with lots of secrets, but you'll have to read the book to find those out. Of course, I had forgotten how cantankerous these two could get when placed in close proximity. I may live to regret my decision.

"Have you two decided on a recipe yet?"

Millie smiled at me sweetly, her grey eyes twinkling. "We're going to make Turtles for little Nikki, and the babies."

"Turtles!" Carl rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. "I ain't making no da..."


"You watch your language Carl Jackson. Little Nikki is in the other room."

Millie gave him a stern look, unconcerned by the darkening of the deep brown eyes. "We're making Turtles."

"Carl, why don't you take a cigarette break while Millie and I gather all the supplies?" I gently moved him toward the back door. "By the time you get back we'll be all set."

"Humph," Millie snorted behind me, "old coot needs to quit smoking 'fore they kill him."

Taking a deep breath I closed the door quickly, shutting off Carl's not so nice retort. "Now, Millie, you know Carl. He'll come around. We just have to make it look like we're having fun."

"Humph, be a lot more fun without him." Millie growled, opening cabinet doors and pulling out bowls. "Old coot needs to learn a little respect for his elders."

I stifled the giggle bubbling up inside my chest. Millie was only a month older than Carl, but she used that trump card every time she could. "Why don't you make him some of your special coffee. Nothing mellows Carl like a good cup of your coffee."

Millie reached for the pot a mischievous smile playing around her lips. "I was just thinking the same thing myself. Why the poor dear must be starving for a good cup of coffee after drinking that rotgut Miss Charity serves."

Uh, oh. Now that was a subject I truly did not want the two of them getting into. "Hand me the recipe and I'll start putting everything together."
Millie handed me a set of handwritten instructions. "Carl wrote them out, so I hope you can read it."

The back door opened and Carl strode back in. "Of course she can read it. Ain't like that chicken scratching of yours. Here give me that list."

"Millie's making you some fresh coffee, Carl. You know, the kind you like."

A slow grin spread over the wrinkled face. "With the good stuff in it?"
Millie nodded, reaching for her purse. "Best money can buy."

"Now you're talking." Carl turned back to me, list in hand. "You ready, girl?"

"Lead on."

Carl scowled at the list. "Need a cup and a half of flour, a half a teaspoon of soda, a fourth a teaspoon of salt, a half a cup of butter, an egg, a half a cup of brown sugar,. .."

"Firmly packed." Millie reminded him gently, as she poured a sizeable helping of bourbon into the coffee cup and topped it off with fresh brewed coffee. "And you need to slow down. She ain't got half the stuff you read off yet."

I could tell Carl really wanted to make some smart retort, but the delicious smell drifting his way kept his mouth closed. He wasn't going to take a chance on Millie not passing over that cup of coffee.

"Now, you drink this and Linda and I will finish getting things ready."

Taking the cup of coffee Carl breathed in the aroma and sighed. "You girls go right ahead."

Millie grabbed the list and quickly pulled all the ingredients together. I was beginning to think my presence wasn't really needed when Millie stopped in mid-stride and reached for another cup. "You look a little pale, honey. Let me fix you a cup of coffee."

"Uh, thanks, Millie, but just coffee, okay?"

"Humph, need more than that to put color in them cheeks."

Millie handed me the coffee. "Drink up. Loosen you up a little. You're way to uptight."

Uptight. That was an understatement. Sniffing the coffee I took a small sip. Just as I suspected Millie had poured in a generous dose of Kentucky Bourbon. It was good, though. I took another sip, savoring the taste. I really could start to like this. Problem was I couldn't hold my liquor. One stout drink and I'd start giggling like a school girl. Only two sips and I could already feel it.

"So, guys, are we gonna make candy?"

Carl sat back in his seat, reaching for a cigarette. "Cheaper to buy it at the store if you ask me."

I giggled. Uh, oh. "Yeah, but not as much fun. Come on, Carl, we can make the turtles."

"Told you, I ain't making no da…I ain't making no turtles. A man don't make turtles."

"Humph," Millie grumbled pouring herself a cup of fresh coffee and adding her special elixir. "A real man don't have to worry about such things. Why if Clarence was here he'd be right in there fixing them turtle shells."

I saw the smug smile on Millie's face out the corner of my eye, as I watched Carl sputter and stutter. Smart woman.

"Hand me them pecans. Anything that old codger can do I can do better."

I really couldn't resist. The song just sprang into my mind. "I can do anything better than you."

Carl raised an eyebrow and looked at my cup. Which surprisingly was empty. "Millie, how much bourbon did you put in that cup?"

Millie glanced up from her mixing. "Oh, dear. She drank it all already?"

"Yep, every last sip." Carl stated, taking the empty cup from my hand. "Don't think you need any more of this, honey. Why don't you just sit there quietly and we'll let you lick the frosting spoon."

*Hiccup*. "Okie, dokie."

Carl took the baking pan, greased it up good and grabbed the bag of pecans. "Rounded side up, right?"

Millie smiled at him. "One for the head, two for the back legs."

I sat, giggling occasionally as Carl lined up the pecans. "Don't look like a turtle to me. Have you got a picture of that? I bet it don't look like that."
Millie came to the table carrying a bowl of dough balls and bowl of egg whites. "Now you shush up. Carl, I think you done a great job, honey. Now all we have to do is form the bodies."

"Oh, goodie," I squeaked, popping a dough ball into my mouth. Which wasn't nearly as good as I'd thought it would be. Millie immediately moved the bowl out of my reach.

I figured I'd better be good or they wouldn't let me have any turtles. Sitting quietly except for an occasional giggle I watched as they dipped the balls into egg whites and pressed them into the nuts forming perfect little turtle bodies. "They're so cute."

Millie and Carl exchanged glances as Millie picked up the pan and headed for the oven. "Carl, why don't you pour Linda a cup of plain coffee."

"Only if I can make myself one that ain't plain." Carl joined her at the counter. "You think we can sober her up before the story closes out?"

Millie glanced my way and I gave her a big smile with a thumbs up. Shaking her head she turned back to the counter. "Don't look that way."

Carl placed the cup of coffee in front of me. "Drink up, honey. Otherwise I get to write the ending here, and you know how you hate it when I write the story."

Three cups of coffee later the turtles were cooling on a rack and Carl handed me the frosting spoon. "Here you go, honey. Just like I promised."

Unfortunately the smell didn't have quite the effect either of us had expected. Or maybe not the effect I had expected. "I don't feel so good. Would you two excuse me." I headed quickly for the bathroom.

"Works every time." Carl smiled at Millie, licking the spoon. "That sure is good, Mille. Don't nobody make chocolate frosting like you."

Millie smiled back. "Another cup of coffee?"

"Might as well. I don't think she's coming back."

Carl sipped his coffee watching as Millie coated each little turtle with chocolate. "They are kind of cute."

"Humph," Millie grunted. "Thought real men didn't make turtles?"

"Hush woman," Carl growled. "I'm thinking. I gotta close this thing out."

"Ain't no brainer there. Just tell them what you learned."

Carl looked around the room. "You ever wonder where they are, Millie?"

Millie licked chocolate from her finger and shook her head. "Everybody loves a good book. They're everywhere."

Taking a deep breath Carl stood up. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. Today we learned two things." Laughing he took a sip of coffee. "First, Linda can't hold her liquor."

Taking another sip of coffee he tightened his jaw muscles, brown eyes turning charcoal. "And real men make turtles."

Draining the cup he headed for the counter. "And I think it's time a real man got to sample the fruits of his labor."

"Carl Jackson don't you touch my turtles."

"Your turtles! Dammit, woman, I made them turtles."



1 1/2 cup sifted flour 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. soda 1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. maple flavoring
1/2 cup butter or margarine pecan halves
1 egg 1 egg white
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Mix flour, soda and salt. Cream butter; gradually add sugar and cream well. Add egg and egg yolk; beat well. Blend in flavoring. Add dry ingredients gradually and mix thoroughly. Arrange pecan halves rounded side up in groups of three on greased baking sheet to resemble head and hind legs of turtles . Mold dough into balls by using rounded teaspoon of dough to each. Dip bottom into egg white and press into nuts. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting for Turtles:

2 (2 oz.) squares chocolate 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup milk 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Combine chocolate, milk and butter in top of double broiler. Heat over boiling water until chocolate melts; blend until smooth. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and glossy. Frost turtles when cool.


Chocolate Caramels

2 cups sugar 1 cup nuts (optional)
2 cups whipping cream 1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 squares semi-sweet chocolate

Keep back 1 cup of cream. Boil all other ingredients till firm ball stage. Slowly add 1 cup cream and boil again till very firm ball is formed in cold water. Boil at least 25 minutes. Grease large cookie sheet and pour. Cut when cool.

Peanut Butter Fudge

1/2 cup margarine 3/4 cup peanut butter
1 lb. light brown sugar 1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk 1 lb. confectioners' sugar

In medium saucepan melt margarine, stir in brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Mix in confectioners' sugar; beat with mixer until smooth. Spread into buttered 9 x 13 pan. Chill.

Peanut Brittle

2 cups sugar 1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup white corn syrup 1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup water 2 tsp. soda
1 lb. unsalted peanuts

Boil sugar, syrup and water until mixture spins a thread in cold water. About 11 minutes. Add peanuts and cook until mixture is caramelized - about 10 minutes. Stir in butter and vanilla. Add soda and stir quickly. Spread candy on large buttered cookie sheet. When cook break into pieces.

Butterscotch Balls

1 box powered sugar 1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans 2 sticks margarine, melted
1/2 cup peanut butter 1-6oz pkg. butterscotch chips
1 tsp. vanilla 1/2 bar paraffin wax

Combine first 6 ingredients. Add margarine. Shape into balls. Melt butterscotch chips and paraffin. Dip balls into butterscotch mixture. Drop onto waxed paper.

Mocha Fudge

3/4 cup evaporated milk 1/4 cup oleo
3 Tbsp. instant coffee 1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
2 1/2 cups sugar 1 tsp. vanilla
1 - 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream

In a 3-qt. saucepan, heat milk and stir in coffee to dissolve. Stir in sugar, marshmallow cream and butter. Bring to a boil stirring constantly and boil GENTLY over medium heat for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and beat in chocolate and vanilla until well blended. Pour into greased 8-in square pan. When cool, cut into 1 or 2 inch squares.


  1. Great piece! And the recipe sounds scrummy :)

  2. Valerie Maarten said...
    Nice! And you make cooking look so easy, I might try it some time ~winks~

  3. Great job Linda, you really made the characters come alive.

    And thank you for all the recipes. I'll be sharing them with my daughter who is dying to make candy.