Mexican Candy Recipes
Wonderfully Unique Mexican Candy
Spicy and sweet are the two most common tastes in Mexican treats. A unique blend of flavors is an appropriate description of almost any Mexican candy. Visitors are often surprised to find the taste of jalapeno or the fire of chili powder on what they are expecting to be a sweet candy. The salty, spicy flavors add to the complete taste of the treat and rather than overwhelming the candy’s identity, help to create a new and unusual blend of the many flavors of Mexico.
Tamarind is the most common Mexican candy ingredient. It is a popular fruit originally from Asia and adapted to Mexico. Tamarinds are delicious when eaten fresh. Uses include making a cool, tropical delicious drink mixed with sugar and water. Tamarind pulp flavors chutney, preserves and meat sauces, and is used to pickle fish. It is no wonder that such a diversified ingredient makes Mexican candy special. The candies are made by mixing the sweet and sour taste of the pulp with dry sugar and molding it into desired shapes.
Another typical Mexican candy, Chamoy has a fruit base of mango, apricot, or plum. It is a sour, sweet, and salty treat. Chamoy is included in fruit sauces and frozen treats like slushies. Dip mangoes and other dried fruits in chamoy sauce to complement the sweetness of the dried fruit. It is prepared as a liquid, powder and pasty form and can be enjoyed by itself or when added to other sweets and fruits. The standard sweet candies in Mexico are delicious. Once visitors try the unusual blend of flavors in other candies, they will find the traditional composition a delightful and enjoyable treat.
Mexican candy is a popular treat in the local marketplace. It is certain that the crowd will soon be stopping by to choose their favorite candies from the confectioner. The plastic keeps dust and other items from landing on the fresh offerings made especially for the fantastic plaza sale today at one of Mexico’s many outdoor markets. Coconut, orange, berries, cinnamon, butter, sugar, and caramel fragrances fill the air with a delicious, tantalizing scent. Mango and papaya draw everyone’s attention as the special dried fruit with nuts and cajeta topping are sure to be the first treats eaten.
Sweet and Simple Mexican Candy Recipe
Even if you have avoided making candy because it sounds so complicated, you will enjoy making many of the different Mexican candies. Like most of us, families are busy and do not have hours to spend in the kitchen checking candy thermometers to make complex candies. These delicious nutty candies are perfect to take to work or potlucks, or just for enjoyment at home.
- 1 cup canned milk
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 3 cups white sugar
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8-inch pan.
- Place a large heavy pot over medium heat.
- Add the brown and white sugars and milk.
- Stir and cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage.
- Set the pan in a sink of cold water.
- The water should reach one inch up on the pan.
- Add the vanilla and butter, beating to combine.
- Mix in the pecans.
- When the mixture begins to crumble, put it into the buttered pan and press it evenly across the pan. Let it cool.
- Cut into 1 x 2 inch pieces and enjoy.
Vary this simple Mexican candy recipe by substituting the pecans with candy-coated chocolates, peanuts, almonds, or raisins. Pine nuts, a traditional Mexican ingredient, are softer than other nuts and easier to chew (they are also good in savory dishes, especially anything rice-based). To add color, use small pieces of dried fruit, such as pineapple and cherry. If you have a hot spice fan in the family, take a portion of the completed mix, mix in a sprinkle of ground cayenne, and cool it on a different buttered dish. This delicious recipe lets you be as creative as you want to be.
Color and Variety in Mexican Desserts and Candies
Candies in Mexico offer sweet tastes and sometimes offer a lot more because of chili used in the making of that particular candy. One example is popsicles. Visitors will find the familiar flavors of cherry, lemon, and strawberry. They will also find popsicles with chili powder on the outside. Kids love them hot, as much of their food has the same fiery flavor. A popular popsicle flavor is mango. Instead of chocolate candy bars, chocolate flavors drinks and food. An exception is chocolate-covered candies such as coconut.
Chewing gum, called ‘chicle’ is considered a treat. It is extracted from the Txzicl tree. Mexican General Santa Anna, exiled to New York after his defeat in Texas, presented some of his chicle to inventor Thomas Adams. Adams tried using it as a substitute for rubber, even attempting to create toys with it. One day he put a bit in his mouth and, discovering how good it was, started a chewing gum business. Later he added licorice flavor, creating Adams Black Jack chewing gum.
Like other Mexican dessert recipes, chewing gum varies from gums found in other countries. There is a corn flavor and some flavors are covered in chili powder. Candies come in various textures, colors and shapes. As in other countries, some are solid and some have liquid interiors. Light and dark sugars make the difference in candy results. When you look at the many types of candies in outdoor markets or stores, it is easy to notice a type of candy not seen before. Fruits can be the medium to build the decorative candy or hardened sugar can form a base. The buyer is certain to enjoy the colorful confections, especially during a holiday season, when candies abound in artistic creations. So if you have a sweet tooth, keep reading to find out how to make typical Mexican sweet treats!
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup fresh shredded coconut
- Red and green food coloring
- Spray the inside of two loaf pans with non-stick vegetable spray.
- Place the milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and put it on a burner over low heat. Stir gently until the sugar dissolves.
- Turn the burner to medium and cook until smooth, stirring to avoid scorching.
- Remove from the heat. Add vanilla, cream of tartar and butter and stir to mix.
- Allow to cool.
- After the mixture has cooled, beat it to a creamy smoothness.
- Add the coconut and mix well until the mixture is thick.
- Separate equally into three medium mixing bowls.
- Put 3 to 4 drops of green food coloring in one of the bowls and mix until the coconut is colored. If you desire a deeper green, add 1 or 2 more drops. Divide in half.
- Press the first half along the length of the bottom third of one loaf pan. Repeat with second pan.
- Divide the white coconut in half and press it on the middle third of each loaf pan snug to the green layer.
- Put 3 to 4 drops of red food coloring in the final bowl and mix it with the coconut until it is colored. Add another drop or two if you want it darker red. Divide in half.
- Press along the top third of each loaf pan, snug to the white strip.
- Cover and chill each pan for at least 2 hours to let the candy set.
- Cut into ½ inch or inch wide strips of red, white, and green.
“There are Many Sweets in Mexico and Cajeta or Caramel is Used to Make Many of the Favorites”
Health and Nutrition Information for Mexican Candy Recipes
The shock of nutrition and health information for any candy is easier to take when a person remembers that sweet things like candy, pastries, and cookies consist mostly of sugar, butter and starch, the mega-carriers of carbohydrates. Mango Revolcado, a beloved Mexican popsicle, has 127 calories per serving, with 31 grams of carbs and 487 mg of sodium. A Mexican nut bar contains 260 calories, 13 grams of fat, 29 carbs, and 18 grams of sugar. The Extra Giant Marshmallow, sold by a popular candy company, has a calorie count of 90 with 22 grams of carbohydrates. Even an ounce of dried papaya averages 100 calories, 70 mg of sodium, 25 carbs, and 20 grams of sugar. It provides just 2 percent of the daily requirement of calcium and iron.
The typical Mexican breakfast includes pan dulce or sweet rolls. Lunch is the main meal and includes dessert. Supper is a light meal, usually eaten late in the evening. Sweets often take the place of a healthier bite to eat.
One of the advantages of making Mexican candy rather than buying it ready to eat is that you can control the ingredients. By experimenting with small batches, you can find out how to make the candy more healthy and nutritious. For example, substitute butter with light margarine. Compare the nutritional information first. Cut down on sodium with light salt and less salt in other ingredients added to the candy, such as unsalted roasted peanuts. Experiment with quality sugar substitutes. Some hold up to heat from cooking and baking and others turn bitter. Use candy as a treat to minimize its impact, rather than something enjoyed all the time.
“Candies in Mexico Offer Sweet Tastes
and Sometimes a Lot More”
- 1 cup water
- 1 ¼ cups shredded or chopped panela
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- ½ cup large walnut pieces
- ¼ cup roasted almonds
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts or toasted pine nuts
- Note: If you are unable to find panela, substitute one packed cup of dark brown sugar.
- Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil to use later.
- Combine the salt, shredded panela, and water in a small saucepan. Stir over medium-high, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and put a candy thermometer in the pan. Let the mixture cook, without stirring, until the candy thermometer reads 236 degrees F.
- Remove the thermometer and take the pan off the burner. Stir in the butter until it has melted.
- Stop stirring and let the mixture cool for 8 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract and the nuts. Stir the mixture for about two minutes to coat the nuts and cause the candy to lose its gloss and thicken.
- Stop stirring.
- You can spread the mixture out to break up later or make individual candies. Drop the mix a spoonful at a time on the cookie sheet.
- Add a small spoonful of boiling water and stir if the candy firms up before you finish spooning it out. Finish putting it on the cookie sheet.
- Let the candy set for an hour. Leave some out for treats and store the rest at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
There are many sweets in Mexico, and cajeta or caramel is used to make many of the favorite syrups and candies in that nation. Made with fresh goat or cow milk, cajeta often tops flan, ice cream, pancakes, or cakes. Used as a filling for cookies, it helps make hard candies like popsicles. Cajeta earned its reputation for taste and shelf life in the 1800s.
There was not a lot of food for the soldiers and no refrigeration to keep things fresh as Mexico began a war for independence in 1810. Cajeta was easy to carry, pack along and lasted several months without spoiling. It gave the soldiers a sweet treat to nibble on and was easy to eat while they were marching. The energy boost from the sugar motivated them to continue in their struggle.
Also known as dulce de leche or milk candy, there are many ways that cajeta can add a special oomph to any Mexican candy recipe. There are few dairy animals in Mexico in comparison with many other large nations, so canned milk often is used in place of fresh milk. The results are still incredible.
Mexican traditional caramelized nut candy is a wonderful way to celebrate any event. Add the soft texture of pine nuts to the walnuts, almonds, and peanuts. Maintain tradition by using panela, a Mexican brown sugar often sold in cones or tablets. It is usually located in the international food section of large grocery stores, at Hispanic markets or at specialty markets. Other names for the sugar are piloncillo or panocha.
Recipes From Different Nationalities Combined As More And More People Came To Mexico
Glossary of Good Mexican Candy
Like every country, easy-to-find ingredients create most of the candies. Mexican candies include the very common chili flavoring and fruits such as lemon, pomegranate, and coconut. Many of the treats are simple to make. The color and design is very festive.
Calaveras de Azucar: Candy Skulls made with sugar to celebrate the traditional Day of the Dead. Honor loved ones with creative confections of sugar, decorated with frosting, icing, color, and including ingredients like amaranth and chocolate.
Chewy Caramels: Candies made with dulce de leche. They can be strictly cajeta or include bits of pecans for a nutty flavor.
Chicle: Mexican chewing gum often presents flavors like jalapeno and some varieties are sprinkled with chili powder.
Cocadas: Chewy baked coconut treats created by combining fresh, shredded coconut, egg, and milk.
Fruit Rolls: Fruity, sweet leathery treats made with ingredients like coconut, guava, and quince.
Marzipan: Marzipan is a tasty combination of primarily ground almonds and sugar. The easy-to-make paste is rolled into dough and eaten by itself or used for creative designs or dipping.
Obleas con Cajeta: Tasty milk caramel wafers – basically a filling of caramel spread between two wafers.
Pepitorias: A delicious confection of sesame seed brittle, pepitorias are made of ground sesame seeds mixed with syrup and honey. Pumpkin brittle is another popular Mexican candy.
Spicy Spoon Suckers: Gooey, spicy candy served on a spoon. Popular flavors include mango and tamarind. It is like having a sucker without the stick.
Wafers: Many families purchase or make their own stacked wafers. A filling of jam or jelly and perhaps a sprinkling of crushed nuts or seeds is placed between two of the delicate wafers for a tasty treat.
A Brief History of Mexican Candy
Religious men accompanied Spanish soldiers on their journeys and set about converting the Mexicans to Christianity. Those in the religious orders were skilled in architecture, carpentry, engineering, technology, gardening, and food preparation. Missions housed travelers and provided a church and housing for the religious community. Locals learned how to build huge outdoor ovens and cooking stations, used to prepare food. Christian holidays like Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Easter demanded celebrations complete with amazing food, desserts and candies.
Recipes from different nationalities combined as more and more people came to Mexico, creating some wonderfully unique candies. Chocolate was already there, but was used as a hot drink and is still not a common ingredient in Mexican candy today. Two other religious holidays calling for special treats include Dia de los Trey Reyes or Three Kings Day, on January 6 and Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, on October 30. A special sweet bread is eaten on Three Kings Day, called Rosca de Reyes.
Sweets and treats for Day of the Dead include a mole sauce of chilies, spices and chocolate, Calaveras de Azucar which are sugar candy skulls, made at home or purchased at candy stores and further decorated with colorful icing are popular at this time, and a sweet bread called pan de Muertos, a ring-shaped bread that hides a plastic skeleton is also well-known.
In celebration of the Christmas story, neighbors and friends travel from house to house for the eight nights before Christmas. Recited lines or holiday songs are followed by a request for lodging. At the last house, the travelers are invited in for a festive celebration, which includes a piñata. The papier-mâché ornament scatters candies when broken, for guests to retrieve.
Picture, recipes and/or content upgraded and edited: 03-30-16
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