One of the goals I have for this blog is to post a new recipe each week. The problem is that some weeks I do more cooking than others. I tend to cook two or three meals in the first two weeks of the month and eat leftovers for the rest of the month. Anyway, I have a bunch of pictures I took last year for this candy survey thing and I thought I would use them to post some of the recipes I made for Christmas last year.
Every year I bake 3-4 different kinds of cookies and make several varieties of candy for the holiday gift boxes I send to my family. I usually do all of the baking and candy making over a two-week period. One of the candies that makes an appearance every other year is fudge. The recipe I use is the Famous Fudge recipe from The Complete Wilton Book of Candy. I had this book for years before I actually tried this recipe. Every Christmas Mom and I would hunt for a new recipe for fudge and try it, often with disastrous results. The fudge would set but be full of sugar crystals or the fudge never set but was a decent topping on ice cream. The Famous Fudge recipe comes out perfectly every time and is surprisingly simple. I have even made modifications to make mint chocolate swirl fudge and maple walnut fudge (which is the fudge that went in last year’s Christmas boxes.) I’ll include notes on the modifications at the end of the post.
4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup butter, cut into thin slices
25 large marshmallows, cut into quarters
1 tsp vanilla
1 11.5 oz bag of milk chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)*
1 12 oz bag of semisweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)*
1 cup chopped toasted nuts (I often use pecans but walnuts would be good too)
Before you begin
It is important to crisp the nuts if you want them to have a nice crunch in the final product. In addition, crisping the nuts will enrich the flavor of the nuts. The nuts should be cripsed before you begin making the fudge and they should be cooled completely before adding them to the mixture. The marshmallows should be cut in quarters using kitchen shears dipped in water before you start cooking so they are ready to add when the milk and butter are finished boiling.
Prepare pan by lining a 9×13 inch pan with foil and buttering the foil. This step is essential for removing the fudge from the pan. My friend made the fudge skipping this step and was forced to eat the fudge straight from the pan with a spoon. It was still delicious, but awkward.
Making the fudge
Combine sugar, milk and butter in a four-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a full boil. Boil mixture for two minutes, then remove from heat.
Add marshmallows and stir until they have completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Add vanilla and both kinds of chocolate and stir until the chocolate has completely melted. The finished product should be smooth. Stir in the nuts and pour into the prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes. Cut into 1″ pieces or store uncut, wrapped tightly in foil and plastic wrap (I also place it in a large freezer bag.) This recipe makes a ton of fudge (about 120 pieces,) so be prepared! This recipe halves surprisingly well so feel free to make half the recipe if you think the full thing would be too much for you.
Modifications to the recipe
Make 1/2 recipe according to the directions but omitting the nuts. This will form the chocolate layer of the chocolate mint swirl fudge. You could probably swap the vanilla for mint extract if you wish. I did not do this and found the resulting fudge to be sufficiently minty.
At the same time, make a 1/2 recipe of fudge with the following substitutions: Instead of the milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate use 1 bag of white chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli*) and substitute the vanilla with mint flavoring. If desired, add a few drops of green food coloring.
Pour the chocolate fudge into the pan. Immediately pour the mint fudge over the top of the chocolate later. If desired, swirl the two layers together using the tip of a knife.
Set and cut as directed in the recipe.
Maple Walnut Fudge
Substitute the chocolate chips with two bags of white chocolate chips. Use maple flavoring instead of vanilla and make sure to use walnuts for the nuts! A nice decorative touch is to place whole walnut halves on the surface of the fudge after you pour the fudge in the pan.
*I mention Ghirardelli, but any quality chocolate will do. I think that when you are making candy where you will really taste the chocolate it is best to use some good stuff rather than some cheaper, lower quality ingredients. This is similar to how I feel about using real butter instead of margarine. If you can taste the difference, then it is worth spending more money and calories for the real deal.
This recipe was adapted from the Famous Fudge recipe in The Complete Wilton Book of Candy.