"You put everything in a wide-mouth canning jar and seal them. They'll last as long as canned goods last," says King, who laughs often as she mixes up a batch of candy while visiting with her daughter.
All King's children grew up cooking.
"Each child had a weekend of cooking. I took them to the store. They bought it. They cooked it and they cleaned up," says King, who implemented the policy when the children became 10.
King collects cookbooks and Peavler, who is next to the youngest in the family, treasures the 30 her mother gave her. Cookbooks are great, but both King and Peavler agree that nothing replaces experience.
Peavler has been making the candy since her mom shared the recipe about five years ago, and knows all the ins and outs of the process.
One piece of advice is to use a crockpot to melt the chocolate.
"A lot of people say, 'I can't get the chocolate right,' but the secret is to use your crockpot," says Peavler as she gives the melting chips an occasional stir. Crockpots melt the chocolate to the correct consistency without scorching.
In mixing the butter and confectioners' sugar, she recommends leaning toward the greasy side.
"If you get it real dry, when you eat it, it's going to be dry," she said.
Dipping the candy
Peavler's least favorite part of the job is dipping the candy. She inserts a toothpick to dip it and after setting it on a tray, removes the toothpick. A spoon is used to cover the hole.
One bright idea is to turn the candies into truffles by dipping them in crushed peppermint, nuts or cookie crumbs. Coating the candy eliminates the need to cover the toothpick hole.
Peavler does enlist some help from her grandchildren. Taya Reed, 6, and Austin Reed, 7, like to help. Taya shows signs of perfectionism.
"She wants them just right," says Peavler, who has four children. Her youngest, 13-year-old Cole, attends Lincoln County Middle School.
With so many good cooks in one family, Peavler says they sometimes have a dessert exchange for the holidays.
"We all brought our specialty dessert. I bought jars when they were on sale and filled them up for each family. Attached to each dessert was a recipe."
King says people like taking the candy home to be savored later.
"After Christmas dinner, everybody's too full and it just goes to waste."
Makes 10 to 15 dozen
In a large mixing bowl, melt 2 pounds (eight sticks) margarine for 11/2 to 2 minutes in a microwave.
Add your choice:
About 1 cup peanut butter or 1 cup Maker's Mark whiskey, or about 1 tablespoon mint flavoring (Peavler likes peppermint), or 14-ounce bag of sweetened coconut flakes
Candy can be varied in many ways: Use crunchy peanut butter; add nuts to any of them; use crushed peppermint; use any other flavoring that sounds good.
Add to mixture 3 to 4 pounds confectioners' sugar. When mixture starts to thicken, add sugar slowly until it is the right consistency to make candy balls. The mixture should be a little soft to keep them from being dry later. Place candy on wax paper-line baking pans or trays. Place in refrigerator until just the outside of the ball is dry and candy is firm.
Candy coating: You can use any flavored chips. Peavler likes chocolate for everything except the peppermint for which she uses white chocolate. Her tip for dipping is to use a crockpot instead of a double-boiler. A crockpot keeps the chocolate at a temperature that melts it without scorching. Set the crockpot to its lowest setting. Dump in one 24-ounce bag of chips. Add 4 ounces of paraffin wax. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes until completely melted and blended.
The tricky part: Dipping the candy takes the most time. Remove from refrigerator. Insert a toothpick in each ball. If the candy cracks, wait a few minutes for the candy to soften before inserting toothpicks. Dip each piece in coating. Hold over crockpot until it stops dripping. Place on wax paper. Remove toothpicks and use a spoon to cover the hole. Place in refrigerator until firm enough to put in containers.