Are you looking for healthy treats for you and your kids? We are not the only generation to worry about the amount of sugar consumed by our young children. As I have been sorting through my great-grandmother's recipes, I discovered a newspaper clipping dated 1952, where the Red Cross suggests substituting “Fruit Candies” in the place of “rich confections” which might make children ill. The article continues with several recipes for making these delicious fruit candies at home, even perhaps enlisting the help of the children themselves!
The recipes that follow combine dried fruit, nuts, and citrus to make tasty little treats. If you have ever made homemade Larabars, the recipes are incredibly similar!
Resources for Homemade Historical Fruit Candies
Food Processor- Although the 1950s Mom may have “chopped everything finely” as the original recipe suggests, I use my food processor to speed things up.
Shredded Coconut– This was the best deal I found (and I kind of forgot to pick any up when I did our twice a month grocery run) on coconut, plus it's from one of my favorite brand's.
Dried fruit-Dehydrating fruit is easy and often times cheaper than purchasing it. Here's my tutorial on How to Dehydrate Fruit, plus an easy tip that's saved me hours of drying time. I will often times swap out blueberries and cherries for raisins or other dried fruits to give a different flavor or to avoid purchasing an ingredient.
Kitchen scale-This kitchen scale is less than $15 and I use it for making homemade lotion bars, creams, and food of course. Seriously, a must have in a from scratch homemade kitchen.
Historical Fruit Candy Recipe
On top of being a sweet snack, we have these at my house as part of a quick breakfast on the go, and they make excellent trail food for family hikes.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until finely chopped and mixture sticks together. Roll into balls or shape into squares.
This recipe is measured in pounds. If you have a kitchen scale, it's easy to put the bowl of your food processor on it and then add ingredients to the right weight. If you don't have a kitchen scale, try about ½ cup of each weighed ingredient.
Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until finely chopped and the mixture sticks together. If you find the mixture is dry, squeeze in orange juice until it starts to stick together. Press into a loaf pan and cut into squares. Or form into squares or balls by hand.
A note about nuts: The original recipe simply states “nuts” and leaves the choices up to you. I usually use a combination of almonds and pecans, or almonds and cashews. You could use one type of nut, or many. I have even used sunflower seeds in place of nuts.
- Try adding spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or ginger.
- Add a little vanilla instead of some of the lemon juice or orange juice.
- The original recipe suggested rolling the finished treats in sugar, but rolling in coconut would be nice too.
- Changing up the types of nuts, or even the dried fruits, will create completely new varieties
The original recipes (which have been slightly modified here) were published in “The Star Weekly” in February 1952.
Dried Fruit Candy
- ¾ cup dried apricots
- ½ cup nuts almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, etc. see note below
- ¾ cup shredded coconut
- 1 tsp grated orange rind
- 1 tsp grated lemon rind
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until finely chopped and mixture sticks together. Roll into balls or shape into squares.
- 1/4 pound pitted dates
- 1/4 pound dried figs
- 1/4 pound pound raisins
- 1/4 pound coconut
- 1/4 pound pound nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, etc.)
- 2 teaspoon grated orange rind
- teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice (enough to reach the right consistency)
- Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until finely chopped and the mixture sticks together. If you find the mixture is dry, squeeze in orange juice until it starts to stick together.
- Press into a loaf pan and cut into squares. Or form into squares or balls by hand.
Have you ever made dried fruit and nut candy? What are your favorite combinations?