Mints & Fudge (or "Why I'm on a Sugar Buzz That Will Last Till Next Tuesday")

Merry Christmas!
For the past month, I've been telling Steve that it just doesn't feel like Christmas, and I couldn't put my finger on why that was. Maybe because there was no snow, or maybe I was just feeling grinch-y, but I finally figured it out.  Two weeks ago, I was elbows-deep in a batch of banket when it finally started to feel like Christmas. Turns out, the key to it all is going crazy with cooking and baking - then it feels like Chrismas is upon us!

The banket was a total bust this year (fortunately there are certain members of my family who will simply scrape off the disastrous crust and eat the almond filling), but I did have two smashing successes - homemade peppermint patties and, as always, fudge.

Tomorrow (or maybe Monday...) I'll share the peppermint patties recipe, but today, for the fudge. Now, the recipe is pretty standard, but it was my Grandma Smits' specialty, so even if the recipe is well-known, the fudge itself is special. This year, I made it with 60% cocoa, so it wasn't as super-sweet, and it really nice! I like the bit of dark chocolate. And Henry didn't seem to mind either.

The recipe will come in a sec, but first, I've gotten lots of comments about how perfectly porportioned it is when cut, so as an early Christmas gift, I'll show you step-by-detailed-step how I do it:

1. Prepping the Pan
Even before mixing up the fudge, line two 8x8 pans with plastic wrap. I use two pieces, one going each way, and then spray them lightly with canola spray (it has the lightest taste). Make sure you use pans that have squared corners, not rounded, to get the best corners on your candy.

2. Make the Fudge
See recipe below.

3. Prepare to Cut
Once the fudge has cooled to room temperature, put it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, to let it harden a little more. Then, using the overhang of the plastic wrap, lift the fudge out of the pan and on to a cutting board.

 4. The Tools
In addition to the cutting board, you'll need a ruler (clean, please!) that is 1" wide (most school rulers are), a pizza cutter, and hot water.

5. Marking it Off
Start with the ruler on one edge of the fudge.

Turn it on its edge without moving the ruler over. While its standing vertically, press down lightly, just enough to mark it, not to cut through.


Next, turn it onto the other side...

...and then stand it vertically again.

 Continue until you've reached the other edge of the fudge.

Turn the fudge and repeat going the other direction.


6. Cutting the Fudge
Run the pizza cutter under hot water, or dip it into a small bowl of hot water.
Then, run the pizza cutter along the ruler markings going one way first...
... and then the other direction, re-dipping/rinsing the pizza cutter as needed.
After cutting along all of the marks throw the fudge in the fridge for a few minutes to let it re-harden along the lines you just cut.

Note that my work has been carefully monitored every step of the way. This is to ensure the highest-quality results for you, of course. No personal interest on his part whatsoever.

7. Finishing Up

Once you're ready to plate or package up your candy, bend the plastic wrap from underneath to pop off a piece at a time.

Finished product!


Of course, mine is packaged up in the Rijksmuseum tin from Grandma - it wouldn't taste as good otherwise!

Grandma Smits' Fudge

3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) Butter
3 cups Sugar
2/3 cup Evaporated Milk
12 oz. dark chocolate chips*
7 oz Marshmallow Creme
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine butter, sugar, and milk in a large saucepan; bring to full rolling bail, stirring constantly. Continue boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 234 degrees (about 5 minutes).

2. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate until melted; stir in remaining ingredients until completely combined. Pour into prepared baking pans. Let cool and cut into 1-inch squares using above method.

Yield: 3 pounds, 98 pieces

* Use different flavor chips for different flavor fudge (example: peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, mint chocolate chips, you get the idea...)

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