Nothing says Christmas to me like mom’s homemade fudge. It’s hard to believe that its been three years now since mom passed away, but each Christmas I remember her in my own special way by making her homemade fudge. Everyone around and near Shenandoah Ave. in St. Louis came to mom every holiday season for some of her fudge. It wasn’t uncommon that in a Christmas season she would cook up well over 100lbs of fudge!
Fudge is a wonderful gift to give others, and means a lot more than some store-bought trinket. It takes time and patience to make, and personally I love it when I get homemade gifts. Best of all, it’s something that everyone can enjoy and if you have a family, something that everyone can get involved in making.
So without further ado, here is mom’s recipe – copied straight from her handwritten recipe card!
- A heavy-bottomed large sauce pan
- 9×9 or larger basking dish
- wax paper
- 3 cups of sugar
- 3/4th cup of evaporated milk (sorry, can’t use fat free!)
- 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I suggest a premium brand a not Toll House)
- 1.5 sticks of butter (not spread – we need the real deal here folks)
- 1 large jar of marshmallow fluff
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of real vanilla extract (never, ever use imitation vanilla for ANYTHING!)
- 1 cup of walnuts, peanuts or pecans (optional)
Place butter, evaporated milk and sugar in the sauce pan on a high heat and bring to a boil. Stir everything up while you are waiting for it to boil. The sugar should be completely “dissolved” into the butter and milk.
Now this is the trickiest part of the whole thing – once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and constantly stir for 5 to 6 minutes. Do not walk away and do not stop stirring or you will have a scorched mess on your hands!
When the time is up, remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the chocolate chips. Stir until they are melted and you have a thick chocolate “soup”. Now, using a silicon based spatula, stir in the marshmallow fluff. Go ahead at this point and throw in the vanilla as well. Do not add the vanilla to the mixture when it comes right off the heat as it will just “burn off”.
Last, add your nuts if so desired. Just mix them in a few strokes.
Now with your baking dish, make sure you have it lined completely with wax paper. Pour it in and then let it sit overnight to stiffen. Don’t rush it! It will take a long time for it to cool – and if you rush it then its just going to be a soft, gooey mess.
As Alton Brown would say, now that’s some Good Eats!