This is my dad's favorite Christmas candy. I got the recipe from his mother, who used to make it for him at Christmas time. She's not able to any more, so I decided to try my hand at it this year. It required a phone call to both my mother and my grandma... but I got it done... and boy, does it taste good! I didn't know if the kids would like it because of the dates in it, but they do! It's a very rich candy, so just a tiny piece at a time is enough.
Don't worry, Dad. I'm sending you some. That was the whole idea of making it.
3 cups sugar
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups pecans or walnuts
1/2 pound chopped dates
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine sugar and milk. Mix well and boil until mixture thickens. Add chopped dates and butter. Mix well. Mash until mixture forms soft balls. Add nuts and vanilla. Stir until it gets stiff. Pour on damp tea towel. Roll up and put in refrigerator several hours. When cold slice in thin pieces.
I discovered that it took about 30 minutes of boiling for the milk and sugar to thicken. That was on medium low. I stirred frequently to keep it from boiling over or scorching. It may have thickened sooner if I hadn't stirred it so much, but it turned out okay, so I guess it didn't hurt anything to do it that way.
Also, I used walnuts because they are considerably less expensive where I live. I like pecans better, but walnuts are good enough!