Sunday, December 18, 2011
with thanks to Paula
16 ounces semisweet chocolate (chips or chopped up baking bars)
1 7-ounce container marshmallow creme
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
Grease a 9"x13" pan.
Pour the chocolate, marshmallow creme, vanilla and nuts (if using) into a large bowl. Set aside.
In a large, heavy pot, combine the butter, sugar and milk. Turn your stove top setting just between medium and medium high. I have 10 notches on mine and set it at 6 1/2. Let it slowly come to a hard, rolling boil, stirring frequently. As soon as it boils, set your timer for 8 minutes. Keep it at a rolling boil for the full 8 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent splatter, sticking, or boiling over.
When the 8 minutes is up, remove the pot from the heat and, quick as you can, dump in the bowl of chocolate, creme, vanilla and nuts (if using). Stir, stir, stir until the chocolate and creme are melted and it is well combined.
Immediately pour the fudge into the greased pan. Shake to evenly distribute. Let cool completely, then slice into squares.
Funny story from this morning while I was making this... as I was standing over the boiling pot of butter, sugar and milk, drawing the alphabet over and over with my wooden spoon to pass the time stirring, I was talking to the pot, saying things like "oh my" and "wow" and "oh, I see" (as it started to boil down and get denser). I continued to laugh and make silly sounds as I was madly stirring in the chocolate and creme and nuts.
Apparently, Steve was listening to me from the other room the whole time and later he said to me: "I realized that's why you still do it, why you cook and bake like you do. The fun and the wonder and the thrill of trying something new and succeeding." He's right. I kind of forgot that a bit lately because I've been so busy in other areas of my life, I've been cooking more for necessity than for joy. But he's right.
So, yeah, this fudge made me really happy. I was crazy proud of it, of the success I had. Just before I started on it, I found myself worrying that it wouldn't work, that I would do it wrong because I didn't have a thermometer, that it wouldn't set in the end. But, honestly, it couldn't have been easier. Thank you, Paula, for the clear directions and for the perfect recipe. It was a big hit at a family Christmas party today and there is no doubt I will use this as a go to for gatherings in the future.