Homemade Peanut Blossoms Recipe
by Janet Smart, janetsmart.blogspot.com
(Originally published in Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine, September 2016.)
What do you call a lamb covered in chocolate? A Candy Baa.
The first day of school used to be in September. Times have changed. By the time you read this, school will have already started. One thing that hasn't changed is the love of learning. I enjoyed reading biographies when I was young. I still love learning about interesting people.
September 13 is International Chocolate Day. When I found out about this unofficial holiday celebrated on Milton Hershey's birthday, I wanted to know more about the man behind the chocolate bar.
Milton was born on September 13, 1857, in a small town in Pennsylvania. His only sister died from scarlet fever when he was nine years old. His mother, Fanny, was a Mennonite and his father was a dreamer who went from job to job. Milton's family moved so much that he didn't get a very good education. He only went to the fourth grade. In 1872, he worked at a confectionery shop in Lancaster. There he learned about candy making. He had discovered what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
When he was nineteen, he opened his own candy business. After failing a few times, he started making caramels in Lancaster in 1883. This was a huge success and he became a rich man. While visiting the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, he had a bigger and better idea-chocolate!
He built a large factory. In fact, he built an entire town! People thought he was crazy but he didn't care. His town had houses, a post office, churches, schools and avenues named Chocolate and Cocoa. Hershey, Pennsylvania was born. He also built Hersheypark in 1907 for the enjoyment of his employees. He and his wife never had children. In 1909, he used his millions and invested in a school for orphaned boys.
In the beginning, he made one simple product-the milk-chocolate candy bar. He made so many he could sell them at a low price and everyone could afford them.
From the mind of a young man who never gave up, a sweet idea grew and grew. But before you get covered in flour and chocolate making the delicious cookie recipe below, I have another special treat just for you. Did you know there is a hidden sideways kiss on the Hershey's Kisses bag? Look for it between the K and the I in Kisses.
1 ¾ cup self-rising flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup solid shortening
½ cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
48 HERSHEY'S milk chocolate kisses
Mix sugars and shortening in a large mixer bowl. Add peanut butter, milk, vanilla, and egg. Mix. Add flour. Mix at low speed until a dough forms. Shape into balls, using a rounded teaspoon of dough. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes. Top each hot cookie with a chocolate kiss, pressing down so the cookie cracks around the edges.