To say I am not a chef is a vast understatement. Though I am well past learning how to boil water, I still have not advanced greatly in my ability to cook. Its not for lack of trying, as my family will attest. I have plated many a meal that they can palate, however, there are scores of folks with mad talent that I admire and want to be like someday. One of those people is our son-in-law, James. He is a Cordon Bleu trained chef, and a master in the kitchen. His imagination is endless as is his creativity with anything and everything in the refrigerator.
He and our daughter are headed our way for Thanksgiving, and its our first Thanksgiving cooking together. I wanted to prepare a few goodies for us all to snack on while he is chugging away at our stove in a few days, and one of things I thought I could prepare was See’s Fudge. I’ve been making this recipe for many years off and on, and most of the time it has turned out well. Many would say the recipe is FOOL PROOF, however, they have not met ME – the Ultimate Kitchen Fool! I don’t know what exactly happens to me in the kitchen but I suddenly become anxious and distracted and as is the norm, chaos ensues.
In the hope of letting you benefit from my recent disaster, I thought I would post the recipe I found on the internet (since I lost mine in a move), and then break it down into what you should know that is not in print. Hopefully some search engine will find this for you BEFORE you spend your money, time and effort into the waste bin.
My search engine brought this recipe up first from the Food Network. It looked familiar, and I read the “posts” from Mary See’s family members (debating the finer points of marshmallow fluff vs. marshmallows and such) and thought that this must be the legit recipe (wait for it and do not cut and paste yet!).
PROBLEM NUMBER ONE!!!
Here are the ingredients that are listed in the “original” recipe:
- 4 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 3(12 ounce) packages chocolate chips
- 1⁄2 lb margarine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
- 7 ounces marshmallow cream
- 2 cups nuts
DO NOT copy this! Instead copy what is to follow!!
These do not “look” like major changes but cooking is chemistry, and if you screw up the chemistry, you have to start over. Possible outcomes of bad chemistry: Granulated or greasy fudge, bad texture (stiff or airy), really ugly fudge (and a total failure to meet the objective which is to spoil your family and friends). My fails include using the sweetened condensed milk (grainy sugary mess “candy”), using margarine (HELLO!! YUCK), Boiling over (DISASTER -nearly lit the kitchen on fire), and stirring too long (super stiff nearly impossible to pour).Yes this is the time to copy!
- 4 1⁄2 cups C and H CANE sugar — if you ever look at cheaper sugar you will notice it can be derived from BEETS. Big difference.
- 3 (12 ounce) packages SEMI-SWEET chocolate chips (I used Guittard today but I’m switching back to Nestle. There is a definite difference in the texture. I thought better chocolate would make better fudge, but for the “purity of the turf”, you want Nestle.)
- 1⁄2 lb BUTTER
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 (12 ounce) can CARNATION evaporated milk
- 7 ounces marshmallow cream NOTE: I saw real marshmallow Fluff in Vermont Country Store Magazine and wondered why on earth they were selling it when Kraft was so handy. Here’s the reason: Marshmallow Cream is made of sugar, corn syrup and flavoring. Fuff is made from REAL Marshmallow extract and therefore has a different texture and flavor. I may dip into my saving account someday and buy a couple of jars to try just for fun. If you are a purist, this is what you want.
- 2 cups nuts – optional (Walnuts are best, chopped into crumbles, not chunks or slivers)
PROBLEM NUMBER TWO!!! Here is what they give for directions (do not copy):
- Mix 4 1/2 cups sugar with one (1) can evaporated milk.
- Boil 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often (rolling boil).
- Mix together in a large bowl; 3 packages chocolate chips, 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream, 1/2 lb. melted margarine.
- Cream margarine and marshmallow together and add chocolate chips.
- Pour hot mixture over chocolate mixture.
- After chocolate has melted, add 2 cups of nuts and 1 teaspoons of vanilla, blend well, pour into buttered pans and chill in refrigerator.
- Cut into squares before firm.
Here are the directions you need (COPY!):
I suggest reading and planning ahead. If you hurry, you may have a boil over (like I did).
A LARGE SOUP POT (I like non-stick)
LG Bowl (Ceramic is best, but anything big will do) – I do mean LARGE
2 WOODEN spoons
1 teaspoon measure
both a 1 cup Dry measuring cup and a 1/4 Dry measuring cup. (DRY measuring cups are exact measures, do not use a PYREX measuring cup that you measure liquids with)
5-6 small tin foil baby-loaf pans, or a 9×12 glass pan to pour your fudge into. You decide whats best for you – if you are giving this as a gift, I recommend the tin loaf pans. For company, use the glass pan. LIGHTLY BUTTER your pan (s) so they are ready to go. I tried PAM, its not the same!
- In LARGE BOWL add two cubes of real butter (your half pound) and put into micro and melt. Be sure you melt and stir and melt and stir again so you don’t COOK your butter. It works best if your butter begins at room temperature, not straight out of the fridge. LEAVE IT THERE – you will be zapping this in a few minutes in order to have warm butter at the same time that your liquid is hot. It helps at this point to imagine yourself with 4 arms, or to enlist a helper for the speedy ending.
- Put your 3 bags of chips (Open and ready to pour) and your Marshmallow Fluff on the counter right next to your micro. I can’t tell you how important timing is in this process, but if your stuff is in 5 places, you will be scrambling.
- This one is CRUCIAL: COMBINE 4 1/2 Cups of sugar and one well shaken can of EVAPORATED (not sweetened condensed) milk into a LARGE pot. Notice that in the previous instructions no one tells you that your liquid is going to QUADRUPLE in size once it begins to boil. I just spent 45 minutes cleaning up boiled over, burnt sugar mess. I ended up ruining a gas burner cover, burning my fingers and smashing my elbow on the counter AND putting out a sugar fire! MIX WELL ON MEDIUM HEAT WHILE STIRRING GENTLY UNTIL THE LIQUID REACHES a “ROLLING BOIL”. WARNING!!! The very second it starts to reach “rolling boil” stage, its going to rapidly rise and expand. Be ready to “blow” your liquid down and/or reduce your burner temp a bit so it doesn’t boil over. DO NOT get distracted, this is where the rubber meets the road!!
- BOIL AND STIR FOR exactly 7 minutes. I stir constantly during this process to make sure the butter and sugar melt evenly. When you reach 2 minutes remaining on your timer, give the sugar and milk boiling liquid a really good stir THEN:
- Zap your butter in the micro for 15 seconds (keep your bowl and wooden spoon handy once you do this).
- STIR THE LIQUID on the stove AGAIN. THEN – reach over and add your chips and marshmallow into the bowl with the butter and stir vigorously! (If you are lucky your helper will do this for you while you keep stirring the boiling liquid).
- Get back to your liquid on the stove. Keep stirring until your timer ends then: POUR your HOT liquid over your Butter, Chips, Marshmallow mix in your BIG BOWL. ADD your 1 teaspoon Vanilla and/or your walnuts!
- STIR QUICKLY and Vigorously until all ingredients are one even color (no white streaks) and then GRAB your spatula and get all of the fudge mixture poured into your baby-loaf pans or your glass pan. THE bowl will be really heavy. If you cannot lift 5 pounds with one hand, and ‘spatula’ with the other, now is the time to get your helper into the kitchen so they can hold the bowl while you “pour”.
- USE a spatula to smooth the top of your fudge. If you used loaf pans, you can . IF you used nuts, put one whole walnut on the top of each baby loaf to indicate “fudge with nuts”.
- Put fudge in fridge 30 minutes, then REMOVE from fridge and cut into squares if in glass pan. If you used loaf pans for gift giving, suggest to your friend that they refrigerate well, then remove pan entirely from around the fudge before cutting. YIELD = 5 pounds.
I hope this makes your Holiday baking easier, and if you are FOOL in the Kitchen like I am, plan ahead, put on some relaxing music, IGNORE your phone and enjoy making this delicious recipe without the mad dash, swearing, and kitchen fire!