Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fudge, Part I

I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year, and while I’m usually a control freak about such things, I decided to relinquish control a bit and actually let others bring food. As a result, aside from cleaning, I don’t have a lot to do before the big meal. (This gives me more time to focus on my cloth napkin/napkin ring obsession.)

I do, however, have serious concerns about how my body will respond to eating at the godforsaken hour of 1 p.m., so I decided to make a few goodies today for the crew to munch on while we’re carving turkeys and slicing hams and whisking gravies. Those are important tasks; we'll need to keep our energy up.

I started this morning by making my mother-in-law’s recipe for fudge. I’ve never actually made typical fudge – the kind that starts with chocolate or chocolate chips. I’ve never even seen anyone make it. I’m not really a fudge person. Which is shocking, because I’m really a chocolate person. But as far as traditional fudge is concerned, my mother-in-law’s is the best I’ve tasted, and the hubby loves it. (And it’ll be totally cute on my little crystal candy plate.) I was thoroughly nervous the entire time I made this, but it turned out really well. It’s almost foolproof.

This is Fudge, Part I, because I also attempted to make my dad’s fudge recipe. That recipe is almost fool-guaranteed. It’s an old family recipe from my dad’s side, and it is old-fashioned candy-making at its best: cream, sugar, and cocoa. Apparently I didn’t inherit the gene for knowing when the fudge is done. (“Use a candy thermometer,” you say? “Thermometers, bah,” my dad says.) I’ve watched him make fudge dozens of times, but I’m still missing something. Perhaps next time I’ll videotape it so I can study the process in slow motion. I will master this, and we will have a day of reckoning that shall be Fudge, Part II.

On a side note, I accidentally invented fudge-flavored taffy.

But back to traditional fudge.

Makes 16 pieces (you can double the ingredients and use a 9x13 pan)

2/3 c. evaporated milk
1½ c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1½ c. chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ c. miniature marshmallows
½ c. chopped walnuts (optional; I think nuts ruin fudge)

1. In a medium saucepan, bring evaporated milk, sugar, and salt to a full boil. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Remove from heat and add vanilla, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. Stir until combined and marshmallows are melted.

3. Put in an 8x8 pan and set aside to cool until thoroughly set. Cut into squares.

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