By Randy Fiedler
Are you looking for a new treat to prepare for holiday guests this year? Well, I’m going to let you in on a great Baylor candy recipe you can try this Christmas, but first I need to do a bit of storytelling.
One of the most prominent and well-loved Baylor graduates in Waco surely had to be Judge Bill Logue, who earned a BBA from the university in 1947, and then completed a law degree from Baylor Law School in 1949. He went on to complete decades of public service in Waco, first as a justice of the peace in 1951, then as McLennan County Judge in 1955 and 19th District Court Judge from 1960 until his retirement.
Logue was a 1941 graduate of Waco High School who attended Baylor for two years before serving with the 99th Infantry Division during World War II. He was taken prisoner by the Germans in Belgium in December 1944, and was released after being liberated by Allied forces in the spring of 1945. After his return to Texas he enrolled at Baylor to finish his degree.
As district judge and the judge for McLennan County’s Juvenile Court, Logue gained a reputation as a fair and caring arbiter of the law. He was named for the First Annual Charles O. Betts Award for Excellence as Juvenile County Judge by the Texas Institute on Children and Youth, and McLennan County’s Bill Logue Juvenile Justice Center was named in his honor. Logue was also a diehard Baylor sports fan and supporter of the University and its law school. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 81.
Okay, here’s where the candy part comes in. If you were in Waco for any time at all during the time Judge Logue was alive, there was a good chance you would end up being offered a bite of his famous Christmas candy by someone — or at least hear people talking about it. Every year at Thanksgiving for more than 25 years, the Judge would turn the kitchen of his home into a virtual food factory, whipping up several batches of candy a day and not stopping production until Christmas. Sometimes he would even keep creating his goodies until New Year’s Day.
The candy was a delicious, chewy mixture of pecans and coconut, rolled into balls and coated with chocolate. Logue would enlist the help of his four daughters at times to help keep the candy coming, and I’m told that one time he even flew his retired brother Tom down to Waco to help him out. Judge Logue’s daughter Katherine has told me that by the time he made his final batch of candy in 1999, he had progressed to making 200 batches during the holidays. Since each “batch” contained about 100 balls, that’s roughly 20,000 pieces of candy produced each year. Twenty…thousand! This was a serious endeavor, indeed.
But perhaps the most memorable thing to me about Judge Logue’s Christmas candy was not its contents or details about its manufacture. It was the fact that he took joy in sharing it with people literally across McLennan County.
The first time I heard about Judge Logue’s holiday tradition was when I was working as a television reporter in Waco during the late 1980s. My regular beats included offices and courtrooms in the county and federal courthouses, as well as offices in Waco City Hall. Around Christmastime, I began noticing that everyone in those offices across town seemed to have the same bag of chocolate candies sitting on their desks. When I asked someone about this, they told me the story of Judge Logue’s candy making and his love of giving his creations to…well, to just about everyone, it seemed. Baylor University was not left out, as some of the Judge’s candy always found its way to offices in Baylor Law School and the Baylor Alumni Association.
Baylor Law School Dean Brad Toben was one of the annual beneficiaries of Logue’s tasty Christmas charity.
“I remember how Judge Logue would make a number of personal deliveries of his candy balls,” Toben said. “He was the picture of delight as he would give the candy balls to the recipient and add very sweet and heartfelt remarks about how he appreciated their friendship. I know I always felt so special when the Judge gave me his homemade treat!”
In 1979, the Baylor Alumni Association collected recipes from Baylor alums and published them in a cookbook called “Flavor Favorites: A Collection of Treasured Recipes from the Kitchens of Baylor Alumni.” There on page 103 is Judge Logue’s recipe for “Christmas Candy,” which we have shared below for your enjoyment. (Please note that the recipe calls for a quarter pound of paraffin — a colorless, tasteless wax once used in cooking. You might want to come up with a modern-day substitute if the idea of using wax to give your candy consistency doesn’t appeal to you).
If you end up making a batch of Judge Logue’s candy, or have a memory regarding this tradition, feel free to leave a comment below.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
The photo of Judge Logue is courtesy of Waco Today and photographer Rod Aydelotte.The Lariat clipping is courtesy of Baylor Electronic Collections.