Three generations of the Morganelli women get together to bake one weekend a year, right before Christmas.
Suz’s National Bake-Off of Champions has become a tradition since it started in 1969 or so, beginning with three sisters who come from a long line of bakers.
Now it’s a coming-of-age ritual, with granddaughters allowed once they’re old enough to drive.
“We do it because we love each other, and we enjoy being together,” said organizer Suzette Morganelli, 66, who lives in Gilbert and hosted the weekend marathon of confections to be given as gifts to friends and family.
Some of the 16 candies they prepared were chocolate toffee in a Santa Claus mold, dark chocolate and coconut truffles, chocolate granola crunch candy and caramel pretzel bark.
But their specialty is “turtles,” the chocolate, caramel and pecan candies.
The event has inspired group T-shirts, silly nicknames and a willingness to try new recipes.
This year, eight women attended, all of them from Lexington County.
They made thousands of pieces of candy, using 70 pounds of chocolate, 20 pounds of nuts and 11 pounds of powdered sugar.
“We solve all the world’s problems at this event — and all the romance problems,” Morganelli said.