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.
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.
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.
This is Mama with her immaculately clean hands mixing up my bon bon dough. And all of the junk around my kitchen sink.
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.
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.
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.
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!
If Grandmama was here, she would laugh, and then pop a whole one in her mouth.
Store these in the fridge until you are ready to gift (or eat) them.
Make sure you live a life that leaves a whole lot of good behind.
- 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
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except almond bark well with your hands or electric mixer.
- 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.
- 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.
- Store in refrigerator until ready to eat or gift.
Makes about 4 dozen, 1-inch bon bons
“At Christmas, “It’s a Wonderful Life” makes me cry in exactly the same places every time, even though I know it’s coming.”