When I was a kid, bonbons, made by the Brach’s Candy Company were quite popular.
I don’t see bonbons anymore in stores, although I did find a five pound bag from WinCrest Bulk Foods on Amazon.
The recipe to make bonbons below is from “CANDY MAKING AT HOME” by Mary M. Wright, 1915.
THE FOUNDATION FOR NEARLY ALL BONBONS IS FONDANT
Hundreds of varieties of bonbons can be made by using different flavorings and different combinations of one kind with another. Bonbon making is fascinating work and after they are made, the home candy-maker has the satisfaction of knowing that she has a pure delicious candy at much less expense than if she bought it.
THE MAKING OF FONDANT
This is quite easily made by the home candy-maker after once getting the knack of it, but one must be careful to follow directions closely and not become careless. It has a great advantage that it can be made up a long time before it is worked into candies, since it will keep for a great length of time. It can be made up in large quantities, but it is best for the amateur candy-maker at first to make it in small quantities at a time, and make it oftener. Then as she becomes more adept, she may use several pounds of sugar at a making.
In making fondant it is best to take a kettle that has not been used for other purposes, or it will give the fondant a taste. Also be very careful to have the thermometer clean if one is used. The fondant can be colored and flavored when still warm, or it can be colored and flavored when you warm or melt it when ready to make the bonbons.
To make the fondant take two pounds of granulated sugar, one-half cupful of water and one-fourth teaspoonful of cream of tartar. Stir the sugar over a slow fire until it is thoroughly dissolved and at the soft ball stage or to 238 degrees Fahrenheit [the soft ball stage is reached when the syrup forms a soft ball between the fingers when dropped in cold water].
When it is done, remove from the fire and take a damp cloth and wipe away all the sugar crystals that appear on the sides of the pan. Pour the fondant over a large platter that has been cooled or over a marble slab. As marble is naturally cool it is best for this purpose, but a platter may be placed on ice, or dipped in cold water before being used.
Do not scrape the contents out of the pan or allow it to drip, but pour out quickly. Then there will be less danger of its graining. It is a good idea to sprinkle a little cold water over the top of the syrup after it has been poured out; this will prevent a crust from forming on top.
Let stand until nearly cool (not cold), then stir with a wooden spoon until it becomes thick and creamy, working it away from the edges of the platter or slab into a mass in the center. When too stiff to work with a spoon, take it in the hands and knead until it is smooth and velvety. Let stand a few hours until it has mellowed somewhat, then pack down in jars and bowls, and cover with a damp cloth. If a batch should turn grainy after stirring it can be boiled over again, or used in making some other candy, but in either case it must be boiled over again and a little more water added.
THE COLORING AND FLAVORING
Use nothing but fruit or vegetable colorings for candy. These can usually be obtained at a drug store or from the confectioner. A little of these will go a long way. Colorings can be obtained in liquid form or in form of paste. Always remember that high colors are not desirable in candy and confine yourself to the paler shades as much as possible. You can obtain different shades by combining two colors. For instance, put a drop or two of red with your violet and you will have another shade, and so on.
By using different flavoring extracts, one may have a great variety in candy. Use only pure extracts or oils. When using oil of peppermint or oil of cinnamon for flavoring remember it is very strong and use only a few drops, while from a half teaspoonful to a tablespoonful of extract may be used, according to the strength of flavoring desired. Always add the flavoring after the syrup has been removed from the fire, as in most cases it will boil out if put in with the other ingredients.
BONBONS MADE WITH COCOANUT [COCONUT]
Cocoanut cubes are made by taking two cupfuls of fondant and melting it in a double boiler. Stir in one cupful of grated cocoanut and mix in well. Pour this into a square box lined with paraffine paper; it should be about an inch thick. Cut into squares when cold. This cocoanut mixture may be variously tinted and given unusual and elusive flavors, and thus one may have a variety. Another way to make cocoanut cubes is to melt some fondant and pour half of it in a square or oblong box lined with paraffine paper. Then cover this over with cocoanut a half inch, then pour over the remainder of the fondant. This is especially good if the fondant is colored rose or pink. Cut into cubes when cold.
HOW TO DIP WITH FONDANT
Place the fondant in a double boiler or in a bowl and place the bowl in a saucepan of hot water. The fondant should be melted to about the consistency of thick cream. Be careful that it does not get too hot or it will become a syrup again. Stir occasionally while melting and this will help it to melt not only evenly, but more quickly. If the fondant is very dry a few drops of water may be added, but be very careful not to get too much water in or the bonbons will not harden up well.
When ready to dip, remove the fondant from the fire but let the bowl remain in the hot water. Take up the centers to be dipped on a candy dipper or fork and drop into the bowl, then lift them out, scrape off any surplus fondant with a knife, and drop on oiled or waxed paper or smooth tin slightly oiled. These will harden very quickly. One can make a twist on the top of them, but this must be done just as soon as dipped. The fondant can be flavored and colored in any way desired while it is melting.
~~ Have you ever eaten or made bonbons? ~~