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Posts Tagged ‘candy’

postheadericon Mozhee (or Moche)

Mozhee (aka Moshee, Moche, Mozhy among others; meaning molasses related), a hard molasses candy, is a Coal Region favorite often sold at bake sales and fundraisers. It always seems to sell out quickly and people often request the recipe here. Many people fondly remember their grandmother or mother making it. It can be poured in a flat pan and broken in pieces to eat once hardened or, as was popular for bake sales, poured into muffin tins making “individual” pieces that could be easily wrapped and sold. You can keep it plain or sprinkle it with chopped walnuts, peanuts, shredded coconut or a mixture of them to your liking.

Back in “the day”, folks often got their molasses at the company or general store. It would be in a large barrel; the cook would take an empty jar to the store where it would be filled with molasses from the barrel – hence “barrel molasses”. Today’s equivalent would be unsulphured baking molasses (not blackstrap molasses).

I have two Mozhee recipes and will share them both with you. One is an old recipe that lists “barrel molasses” as an ingredient which will yield a stronger flavored candy (some people find it a bit bitter), the other is from a Pa Dutch cookbook and uses table syrup (like King’s Table Syrup or Turkey Brand Table Syrup) which yields a milder tasting candy. I will include both versions in this post. The basic method of preparation is similar for either.

Mozhee needs to be cooked to what is known in the candy making world as the “hard crack” stage – 300 to 310 F degrees.  Brittles and lollipops are made from syrup heated to the hard crack stage. As a sugar syrup is cooked, water boils away, the sugar concentration increases, and the temperature rises. The highest temperature that the sugar syrup reaches tells you what the syrup will be like when it cools.  If you are not experienced at candy making (and even if you are…), I HIGHLY suggest investing in a candy thermometer and using it. It can be your best friend and help eliminate “goofs” due to incorrect cooking. To use the thermometer, stand it upright in the candy syrup so the bulb is completely immersed in the liquid. Do not let the bulb touch the bottom of the pan. Clip it in place.

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can still make candy from sugar syrups by using the cold-water method to test the stage. During the cooking stage, remove your pan from the heat and drop a small spoonful of sugar syrup into a bowl of very cold water. Immerse your hand in the cold water, try to form the sugar into a ball, and bring it out of the water. By examining the shape and texture of the resulting candy blob, you can determine the approximate temperature of your sugar. This method takes a little practice, and is not as exact as a candy thermometer, but it will do in a pinch! For ””hard crack” stage which is what the mozhee needs to reach, the  hot syrup will form brittle threads in the cold water and will crack if you try to mold it. I had no picture of the actual mozhee and apologize, but found one that resembles the Mozhee (sorry – I did the best I could…).

Mozhee (or Moche)

Mozhee (or Moche)

Mozhee (Hard Molasses Candy)


    Mozhee #1
  • 1 cup "barrel" molasses (today = unsulphured mild baking molasses; not blackstrap molasses)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1/8 lb. butter
  • Walnuts, peanuts, coconut (all optional)
  • Combine first three ingredients in a heavy saucepan or No.10 cast iron frying pan, stirring until dissolved and then stirring occasionally until the mixture forms a hard "crack" stage (300 to 310F degrees on a candy thermometer). Reduce heat, add vanilla and butter. Mix thoroughly. Pour into buttered pie pans sprinkled with nuts and/or coconut if you desire. Allow to harden, break into pieces to eat.
    Mozhee #2
  • 1 lb light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup King’s Syrup or Turkey Table Syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Optional – chopped English walnuts, chopped peanuts, and/or shredded coconut
  • Combine sugar, molasses, butter and water in a heavy 2 or 3 quart saucepan. Cook until a brittle thread forms in cold water, or use a candy thermometer and heat to 300 to 310. Remove from heat.
  • Add vanilla. Pour into well greased muffin tins, about ¼ inch high or into buttered pie pans sprinkled with nuts and/or coconut, if desired.
  • Makes 20 to 24 muffin sized pieces.
  • When cool, pop out of tins and wrap in waxed paper. To eat: smack candy against hard surface to crack into bite-sized pieces.




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postheadericon Mom’s Homemade Easter Eggs

In the Coal Region, churches and organizations turn out tens of thousands of handmade candy Easter eggs, selling them to raise much needed funds.  It is tradition among many families to make their own eggs, too. Every one who makes them usually likes their recipe best and in my family, it was no different. Over the years, I have had many handmade eggs at Easter – from far and wide – but Mom’s eggs always were – and always will be – MY favorite.  Nothing said Easter was nearing in my house like seeing the makings for these eggs come into the kitchen with that week’s “store order” (grocery shopping)

Mom called these “peanut butter” eggs, but always used some fresh, finely grated coconut in them (which Dad cracked, peeled, and grated). She never varied the ingredients. She never made other filling flavors. To this day, THESE are what homemade Easter eggs are measured against in my mind.

Mom always used her hands for mixing the filling – no electric mixer for her!  She could easily tell by touch whether or not the mix needed any adjustments to bring it to a creamy consistency that rolled nicely but did not stick to your hands. Mom and I always made Easter eggs together at our kitchen table when I was a kid and I can remember finding it amusing watching her start out with “Frankenstein hands”  as the filling was super mushy at the start but came together and rolled itself off her fingers as she added the powdered sugar.

I perched on the edge of that chrome and yellow vinyl chair just waiting to get the first teeny ball Mom would roll and hand to me, her “official taste tester”.  I thought I called the shots as to whether they were firm enough or not and, to be honest, knew immediately they were just right but always “needed” a couple more tastes “to make sure”!

Once the mixture was ready, out came the wax paper-lined cookie sheets and she and I set to work pinching off lumps of filling and doing our best to form them into acceptable, two-bite-sized, egg-like shapes. My Dad had some kind of built in detector that let him know the eggs were at the point of going into the refrigerator to set overnight before dipping and he never failed to show up when we were otherwise distracted, snag a few naked eggs for snacking, and disappear again. The only evidence of his thievery was the glaring empty spaces left on the trays among the carefully placed and spaced rows of eggs.

When it came time to dip them, Mom chopped up blocks of semi-sweet baking chocolate (found in the baking aisle of the grocery) and a little bit of paraffin wax (I can close my eyes today and see the box of “Gulf” wax sitting on the kitchen counter) which kept the chocolate shiny once it hardened, and melted them together on top of a double boiler. She would take a small amount of the naked rolled eggs from the refrigerator, snag each with a toothpick, dip the egg, deposit it onto another wax paper-lined tray and take a teaspoon and drop a tiny bit of the melted chocolate on to the hole left by the toothpick to seal it. The thin, semi-sweet coating perfectly offset the sweetness of the inside of the egg. The finished eggs were always stored in the refrigerator in a covered tin, resting layer upon layer, separated by rounds of wax paper. To this day, my favorite way to eat these eggs is ice cold from the fridge, the bite into it taking me back to Easters many decades ago in that kitchen in the Coal Region.

If you make these, you might want to coat them using what many people favor today and I use – candy coating wafers which are widely available in cake and candy making supply stores and many supermarkets carry them around Easter. Using these wafers will yield a thicker chocolate coating on your egg than the semi-sweet baking chocolate method. The wafers are available in light, dark, and white along with flavors like peanut butter and also come in a rainbow of colors allowing you to get really creative with your decorating and flavor combos. I personally prefer Merckens brand. If the eggs get soft while you are dipping them, take only a few from the refrigerator at a time to dip.  I NEVER use baking chips to coat my eggs – the results for me are less than satisfactory in appearance and the quality of chips among brands varies wildly.

You can make bite-sized eggs or jumbo ones; the yield from the recipe will depend on how much filling you use for each egg.  Make sure you have sufficient powdered sugar available before starting the recipe, amounts needed can vary slightly depending on weather, peanut butter used, etc.  I use only Jif or Skippy traditional creamy peanut butter. I have found only these two give me consistent, quality results. If using bagged coconut, rather than fresh, I use unsweetened and give it a whirl in the food processor to break the shreds/flakes down into fairly fine pieces. And yes, you can skip the coconut altogether if you prefer; adjust your powdered sugar when mixing to get the right consistency.

Homemade Peanut Butter Easter Eggs

Homemade Peanut Butter Easter Eggs

Homemade Easter Eggs


  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar (approximately - have extra in case needed)
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) salted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces creamy peanut butter (Jif or Skippy)
  • 1 to 2 cups finely grated fresh coconut, to your taste (or store-bought unsweetened)
  • OR skip the coconut - you will need to adjust the amount of powdered sugar.
  • Coating wafers - the amount you need depends on how large you make the eggs; smaller eggs use up more coating chocolate. I buy a several pounds, there are lots of uses for extra if you have it..


  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter (margarine) and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the coconut and mix well.
  4. Add the powdered sugar, starting with a couple cups, mix and continue to add powdered sugar as needed to get a soft filling that is not sticky and can be rolled into egg shapes using your palms.
  5. Form egg shaped balls in desired size and place on lined cookie sheet(s).
  6. Cover and refrigerate several hours.
    To coat
  1. Melt coating wafers in top of double boiler; take care not to get any steam or water in chocolate or it will seize up.. Re-warm as needed.Stir the coating occasionally. Use fork to dip egg, tap off excess chocolate on rim of pan, drop egg onto lined pan to set.
  2. Store in refrigerator.



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