Story 10: Cole + Chocolate = Christmas

Story 10/24: One of my favorite memories I have growing up was hearing Andy Williams or Nat King Cole blaring from the kitchen stereo because that meant chocolate!  It was a tradition for my mom to make homemade candy and all eight of us kids loved to help.

We’d set up stations around the countertop, and on the kitchen table of different kinds of chocolates, we would assemble. One area would be the peanut butter ball section. One would be the place for chocolate turtle groupings. Sometimes an entire cookie sheet was coated with Pam cooking spray. Other times it was covered in shiny tin foil. It all depended on what kind of confection my mother was in the mood to make.

On the stove would be several different pots of melting chocolate—white, milk, and semi-sweet of real blocks of chocolate, not just waxy chocolate chips from a Nestle bag—and under each was a more significant pan of boiling water.

Once molten, my mom would divide the chocolate into small bowls and distribute them around to all her salivating children at their respective positions. However, it must be said that candy making and lagoons of chocolate are more dangerous than it sounds. Every one of my siblings sustained third-degree burns from handling coconut confections too soon, but it was worth it!

Then the dipping of pretzels or peppermint sticks would commence. Soon, everything was covered in chocolate cocoons.

When all caramel-covered nuts became turtles, we stopped. We waited. The worst part was that we had to pause for the chocolate to set up before we could officially eat any—and no, the earlier sneaked samples we tasted as we went did not count as official.

To this day, the smooth vocals of Nat King Cole will induce happiness and the remembered scent of melted chocolate—it’s the perfect cure for the winter cold!

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