Grandmama’s Bon Bons

Grandmama's Bon Bons

This is going to be our first Christmas without Grandmama and we sure do miss her. But as much as our hearts ache, we have so many wonderful memories of laughter, generosity, and smiles that we are still talking about her as if she is in the room – and we really feel she is sometimes.

She sure did leave a lot of good behind and I’m so grateful that I got to see how she lived her life. I definitely picked up a few pointers :)

Grandmama used to make these bon-bons every Christmas. That was back in the day when coffee pretty much always came in tin cans, at least the kind my family drank. Grandmama would save her coffee cans all year long so she could use them to put her bon bons in. As Christmas got close, Grandmama and her mother would set up a bon bon work station in their kitchen and spend the better part of a day mixing, rolling, and dipping these precious little confections, filling up coffee cans and placing the filled ones in the fridge. She always sent us a big old can of them and Mama would store it in the fridge where, I swear, it winked at me every time I opened the door so I just had to lift the lid and get me one.

Grandmama saved all sorts of things in addition to coffee tins. Glass pickle jars, mayonnaise jars, anything that could be put to another use. My grandaddy used to say “We need to save these glass jars. They’re good jars and they won’t always make jars like this, soon everything will be plastic.”

When Grandmama passed away a few months back, I went to her house to pick out a coffee cup. Grandmama was the only person in my life that I could call at 4:00 in the morning and sit and drink my coffee with over the phone so I thought that would be something special I could keep of hers. As I opened her cabinet, I found a stash of little glass pimento jars and their lids.

Hers was a golden generation and, like those glass jars, they are becoming more and more rare. We’ve got to learn from them while we still can.

So this Christmas, I wanted to share Grandmama’s Coffee Can Bon Bons with you. This recipe is in my first cookbook, along with the story of why they are so special to me. They are delicious for two reasons, one is because they just are. Two, is because of the wonderful woman who made them with such love.

Good hearted people just make everything in life better.

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You’ll need: Chopped Pecans, Margarine*, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Chocolate Almond Bark, Sweetened flaked coconut, and confectioner’s sugar.

*You can use butter if you want. I know, I know, margarine is one molecule away from plastic – and everything you read on the internet is true :)

Use whatever you prefer, whatever you can afford, and no one here is going to judge you. Because we don’t judge at my supper table.

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Melt the margarine/butter and then dump everything except the chocolate bark (which is not melted at this point) into a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined.

This is a double recipe you’re seeing here. I don’t recommend doing this in this size bowl.

A single recipe will work just fine but double – not in this size bowl. In the next photo you will see that my double recipe in a bowl big enough for a single recipe ended up pretty messy….

Oh alright, I’m not going to share those photos. Mama took them. I had confectioner’s sugar all over the place so Mama stepped in and said “Christy! You aren’t supposed to use an electric mixer, you just use your hands..” and she set to mixing it.

In reality though, she agrees that an electric mixer would be just fine if you don’t try to make two recipes at once.

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This is Mama with her immaculately clean hands mixing up my bon bon dough. And all of the junk around my kitchen sink.

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Form all of your dough into balls one way or another…

Now, Grandmama and Lela (my great grandmother) rolled these all out by hand into perfect little one inch balls.

Because they were awesome people who really cared about details.

I am using a cookie dough scoop for mine.

Because I am the daughter and granddaughter of an awesome person but I have always been more of the “if it looks good from ten yards on a galloping horse then it is fine” type gal.

We have always laughed, enjoyed, and celebrated our different personalities and ways of doing things in my family. If you ever want to really make someone in my family laugh, come along and tell us there is only one way to do something and that we are doing it wrong and you’ll be sure to have us all burst into laughter because our first response will be that you must be making a joke.

Once you have your little bon bon balls made, cover them and refrigerate for at least an hour.

The great thing about making these in the winter is that most of the time you can just put them outside for a spell and they get plenty cold. This is “most of the time” because we have had capri weather in December on more than one occasion in good old Alabama.

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After they are good and cold, melt your chocolate bark in the microwave by breaking the large pieces up in a bowl and microwaving for 45-1 minute intervals, stirring in between each, until melted and creamy.

You can also melt this in a double broiler. I’m gun shy about suggesting folks do a lot of things in the microwave because microwave ovens vary so incredibly much so we really rely on our own judgement when it comes to using them.

I love using mine and haven’t had any problems that I recall, but I have heard plenty of horror stories.

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Dip your bon bons in chocolate.

There are a hundred different ways to do this and you go with whatever works best for you. For me, I just put a bon bon on a fork, dip it in, then lift it out and tap the fork on the bowl lightly to remove excess before placing my chocolate dipped bon bon on some waxed paper to harden.

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So see, Grandmama made these perfect little coffee can bon bons.

But when I make them, I think we need to rename them. Christy’s Great Big Gobby Bon Bons!

heehee!

If Grandmama was here, she would laugh, and then pop a whole one in her mouth.

Grandmama's Bon Bons

Store these in the fridge until you are ready to gift (or eat) them.

Merry Christmas!

Make sure you live a life that leaves a whole lot of good behind.

Grandmama’s Bon Bons

Grandmama’s Bon Bons

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Confectioner's Sugar
  • 1+2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 package chocolate almond bark, for coating

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except almond bark well with your hands or electric mixer.
  2. Form bon bon dough into balls either with hands (for smaller ones) or cookie dough scoop (for great big gobby ones!). Place on cookie sheet and cover. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Melt chocolate bark by heating in the microwave at 45 second intervals, stirring after each, until smooth and creamy. Dip bon bons into chocolate and place on wax paper to harden.
  4. Store in refrigerator until ready to eat or gift.
  5. Makes about 4 dozen, 1-inch bon bons
http://www.southernplate.com/2013/12/grandmamas-bon-bons.html

“At Christmas, “It’s a Wonderful Life” makes me cry in exactly the same places every time, even though I know it’s coming.”

~Nicholas Lea

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Comments

  1. Penny says

    Yummy. I don’t know if this works but at a chocolate class I took she said
    when you have your bon bon on the fork and place it on the waxed paper -
    push the fork away from you – and then draw it back toward you and it leaves
    a clean edge. Love your stories.

  2. Phyllis Rushcamp says

    Christy,
    Thank you so much for your delicious recipes,sharing your family stories ( I was very close to my Mom and my Grandma) they are no longer with us but there memories are in my heart forever.
    Your such a sweet lady and I hope someday I will get to meet you.
    Have an absolutely fabulous day.

    Sincerely,
    Blessings from our home to you and your family.

  3. Sherrie Lindsey says

    Christy,
    I love to listen to all your stories some make me think so much of myself or my family and then there are stories like this one that I never personally had with my mom,grandmother or anyone but I do have them with my boys as they were growing up bc I always wanted to include them in the kitchen and especially at Christmas and then later we included a dear friend that would help us make candy at Christmas and we always made peanut butter balls (my mom’s recipe) into cute lil tin cans that we would find with snowman on them bc that’s what I love..Lol.. Anywho.. thank you for sharing a part of your life and great memories that you have with us and some really good recipes!!!

  4. Cathy says

    Hi Christy,
    I have a question about Almond Bark.
    I’ve seen recipes that use almond bark and have read the ingred. List and there is not mention of almond product listed. I’m wondering because my son has peanut/ tree nut allergies I want to know if I’m missing something? Why is it called almond bark?? Also, on the bonbons is it 1 2/3 or 1+2 =3 cups coconut ?
    I so enjoy reading your stories, it takes me back to my days growing up in NC with my granny. She was such a good cook and I wish I had her recipes but I don’t. Just alot of good memories!❤️ One of my favorites was her chicken & dumplings, they were soooo yummy! If by chance you have a recipe for that could you please share. That would be so great! Oh, and you know what, I have her large glass Pyrex dish she use to make it in.! Thanks again for your stories and recipes .
    Cathy

    • says

      Hey Cathy! Almond bark is a vanilla flavored candy coating that does not actually have almonds in it, BUT I would check and make sure that it is safe due to cross contamination at the facility with other nut products. The Bon Bons are 1 and 2/3 cups coconut.

  5. MARSHA G says

    Christy, sure did love the recipe and story today. It made those ol’ memories come flowing back in a river of happy tears of beautiful times. my momma always saved her coffee cans all year and used them to put goodies in at Christmas for others in the community. When she didn’t have us in the kitchen helping her then she had us cutting strips of paper to go all around the can and we had to decorate the paper with our crayons. She also saved other small cans to bake date bread in. Thank you Christy for being such a giving person that you share your memories with us which in turn stirs our memories up. Sharing oh what a beautiful thing!

  6. Linda C says

    Hi Christy, I have a question regarding “cans” I would like to bake some christmas gifts but not sure what type of cans to make them it? I have saved the tin tomatoe sauce cans ,with and without some sort of liner inside ,can I use both to bake in , do I grease them ? HELP! also if you have a BOston Brown Bread recipe ( I had it so long ago it use to come in a tim can ) I would appreciate it Blessings to you and yours
    Linda

  7. Linda C says

    Hi Christy, I have a question regarding “cans” I would like to bake some christmas gifts but not sure what type of cans to make them it? I have saved the tin tomatoe sauce cans ,with and without some sort of liner inside ,can I use both to bake in , do I grease them ? HELP! also if you have a BOston Brown Bread recipe/Date Nut Brown Bread ( I had it so long ago it use to come in a tim can ) I would appreciate it Blessings to you and yours
    Linda

  8. Melissa says

    Thank you so much for sharing this story of your Grandmama and her recipe. My grandma passed away a month ago and I miss her so much. This story reminded me of her because she kept all kinds of containers in her house. She would always make me cookies at Christmas and would put them in a container she kept. That way I would have a container that I could reuse.

  9. Jan says

    We called them Martha Washington Balls. Mama coated them with chocolate chips and Gulfwax paraffin because we had never seen Almond Bark. Last time I followed her recipe I had a heck of a time finding the paraffin. I think I found it above the marshmallows instead of near the canning supplies or the baking aisle. Either way you coat them, they are so rich and addictive. Thanks for giving me an alternative recipe. Blessings to your family and your readers this Christmas season.

  10. Irene says

    I just made these and they are KILLER GOOD OMG to the choc. I did add 1T. coc. oil and it did make 40 as you said. LOL TKs for recipe also I do save my jars and also have one of those old pickle jars and wont part with it for NOTHING. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY and keep those recipes coming.

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