Well, party season is upon us. Time to break out that festive garb you wear only one month a year. The red, the green, the sparkly and, dare I say, the ugly sweater.
Our Sunday school class has their annual party Saturday night and I couldn't decide what to bring, so I made up a variety of different sweets and assembled a pretty tray of mouth-watering treats.
We have peanut clusters (you can find that recipe here), turtle pretzels, which are very similar to a recipe Jan shared here, dipped pretzels (recipe here) and the quintessential favorite, fudge.
Growing up, my mom always made the fudge recipe on the back of the marshmallow cream jar. Yeah, you know the stuff.
So now that I'm a grown up--well, some days anyway--I have made this same fudge every single year. However, in recent years, there was something about it that seemed a little off. Oh, everyone still ate it and never heard any complaints, but I knew that it was not the same fudge I'd had growing up. So a couple of years ago, I decided to do a little investigation.
I went online and searched ORIGINAL FANTASY FUDGE RECIPE and came up with several options. I found it interesting that none were exactly the same. And when I tried the one I thought was right, it still wasn't the same.
Then last year, I hit pay-dirt. I was going through my mom's old recipe file and came across a yellowed piece of shiny paper. It was the recipe for Fantasy Fudge she had clipped from the back of the marshmallow cream jar all those years ago. And you know what, the recipe had changed.
You see, evaporated milk has always come in two sizes. The big can and the small can is how we always referred to them. The big can was for pumpkin pie and the little can was for fudge. However, at some point, the manufacturers of evaporated milk changed the size of the small can from 6 ounces to 5 ounces. Amazing what a difference a single ounce of evaporated milk can do for a recipe. So now, I buy the 12 ounce can and measure out my 6 ounces. Best of all, because it's 12 ounces, I can put the other 6 in the fridge to make another batch closer to Christmas.
Here the recipe for REAL Fantasy Fudge:
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine (I use butter)
6 oz. evaporated milk
1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7 oz jar marshmallow cream
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Now let's get this candy made.
First thing you'll want to do is line a 9x13 baking pan with aluminum foil. This is so you can lift the fudge out of the pan after it's cooled, for easier cutting.
Now spray that foil with some non-stick spray and set aside.
Melt your butter or margarine over medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan at least 3 quarts in size.
Once the butter is melted, add your sugar and 6 ounces of evaporated milk.
Stir that all together and continue to cook and stir until it comes to a boil.
Once it boils, keep stirring and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes, until mixture reaches soft ball stage on a candy thermometer.
What's that, you don't have a candy thermometer
Not to worry. We didn't have one when I was growing up, so I learned to do it old school.
Drizzle a small amount of the boiling mixture into a cup of cold water.
Now stick your fingers in there and see if you can form the mixture into a soft ball. If not, keep cooking, testing every minute or so.
This is what you should end up with.
And if you pop said soft ball into your mouth, you will be a very happy camper. Just sayin'.
So once your mixture has reached the soft ball stage, remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate chips.
Stir until melted, then add your marshmallow cream.
This takes a little longer to stir in than the chocolate chips, because you need to make sure all the little lumps are gone and the mixture is nice and smooth.
Once it is smooth, add your vanilla and stir to mix.
Mix those in and your mixture should look like this.
Pour into your prepared pan and set aside to cool for at least a couple of hours.
Do not refrigerate until completely cooled.
When the fudge is cooled and set, remove foil/fudge from pan and cut into squares.
Sorry, my lighting must have been a bit off, because these look much lighter than they really are.
Still, the fudge is creamy and oh-so delicious. Just like Mom used to make.
And that makes me very happy.
Now it's your turn. Have you ever tried to duplicate a recipe from your childhood and found that it wasn't quite right? If so, what did you do?
Mindy Obenhaus lives in Texas with her husband and kids. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com.