Fantasy Fudge

There are four Christmas treats that have made an appearance in my life every year that I can remember—making them is a tradition, whether I'm in the same state as My Family or not.

The first two you've already heard a bit about: candy cane cookies and frosted sugar cookies. The third—caramels—you won't hear about here (at least not this year). They're absolutely divine, but they're one treat I let My Mom take care of (and then I just sample the results when we meet up for the holidays). The fourth treat in the bunch, however, you're going to learn about today: fantasy fudge.

The thing about fantasy fudge is that it doesn't just make an appearance in our family once a year. It stops by twice. The first time is at Thanksgiving. Then it reappears less than a month later for the BIG holiday.

This family tradition, as near as I can remember, began long ago in a place far away (in other words, when I was a little girl and we'd gather for Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house in Montana). The Saturday night after Thanksgiving, My Mom and Auntie L would make fudge, which we'd begin devouring after we ate our pizza (we were big on traditions in those there parts, so it happened the same every year).

We'd put a hurting on the pan Saturday evening, to be sure, and then Grandpa Charlie would do even more damage when he made his way back to it in the middle of the night for his midnight snack. (I know this for a fact because the kids would sleep in the living room and we awoke many a time to catch him standing over the pan, giant pieces of fudge in hand.)

The thing about fudge is that most people don't bother to pass down a recipe from generation to generation. They just look on the back of the marshmallow cream jar. At least that's what we've always done, which worked out splendidly until some nut job started to mess with the recipe. I don't recall when exactly we noticed it, but one year the ingredients list had changed slightly. And then the next it was changed again. These modifications never yielded quite the same fudge we remembered, so after a few years My Mom finally did what any sane 21st-century woman would do: she hunted down the original recipe on the Internet.

And it's a good thing too, because someone keeps changing the darn thing even today. We tried to make a pan of fudge this year in Georgia and the result was less than stellar. Whether this was because the marshmallow cream folks still hadn't gone back to the original recipe or because apparently in Georgia you shouldn't make things like fudge when it's raining, I don't know. All I know is that the classic recipe I now hold in my personal cookbook for posterity makes much better fudge than the impostors the marshmallow cream folks pass off on all of us unsuspecting fudge-makers now.

So, without further ado, I present to you the best fantasy fudge recipe we have yet to try:

The merry ingredients:
3 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
5 1/3 oz. can evaporated milk (2/3 c.)
12-oz. jar chocolate chips (2 c.)
7-oz. jar marshmallow cream
1 tsp. vanilla

The festive steps:
Bring sugar, butter, and milk to a boil. Boil 5 minutes or to 234 degrees—stir constantly. Stir in remaining ingredients.

(So easy to make, yet somehow also so easy to sugar, so be careful!)

Oh, and remember how I mentioned that my photo-taking during this year's holiday baking was spotty at best? The fudge fell victim to my lack of attention and so I don't have any fudge-making photos to share with you. You'll just have to use your imagination on this one.

No comments: