Grandaddy’s Fudge was one of those favorite childhood memories that always surfaces as the weather starts to turn cooler. Or, for the past few years, as I see on the news that the weather is turning colder in the rest of the country.
This Fall we are up in DC and it is a brisk 45 degrees out this morning, the perfect weather to inspire all the fall favorites to be pulled out of the recipe box!
The recipe is loosely based on one that is found on Kraft marshmallow cream jars, circa the late 80’s, then as Grandaddy’s do, he tweaked it. Here is what you will need to make your very own batch of melt-in-your-mouth fudge:
3/4 cup butter
3 cups sugar
5 oz evaporated milk, NOT sweetened condensed
2 tsp vanilla
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips, 12 oz. Or half a bag of semi-sweet and half a bag of dark chocolate.
1 jar Marshmallow cream, 7 oz
Check out this old marshmallow cream label that my mom keeps in her recipe box! Note that the expiration date is in 1988, ha! Love it!!
Line a 9×13 baking pan with foil. Fold the corners so that the foil is pressed as close to the pan as possible. The foile will make the removal and cutting of the fudge easier later. If you want nice, square pieces of fudge, use a pan that has square corners, not rounded like mine. If wont effect the flavor but if you are giving fudge as a gift, like I frequently do for the holidays, it is easier to have nice square pieces.
Start off melting the butter in a large heavy bottom pot. In our house we frequently make a double batch, so I usually use a 6 qt dutch oven or similar size pot. Add the sugar and evaporated milk. Over medium-low heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. As soon as it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low.
The trick here is to turn the heat as low as possibly while keeping the candy mixture boiling. On the electric stove that I was using at our apartment in DC, I had to alternate turning the stove off and then back to low every 30 seconds.
You need to boil the candy for approximately 10 minutes, but each batch is different so pay attention to this next part; you need to boil the candy until it reaches the “hard ball” stage. The “hard ball” stage is a point when the candy can be formed into a ball shape and will hold that form.
To check this stage of the candy, place a glass of cold water next to your pot, and when you think it might be ready drizzle a tablespoon of the candy into the cold water. Let it cool off for at least 15-20 seconds and **be very careful** when you first touch the candy, it might still be pretty hot. Using your fingers, remove the candy from the water and try to shape it into a small ball. If it will hold its ball shape for about 3-5 seconds before starting to melt, it is at the hard ball stage.
When I make fudge I usually end up checking it 3-4 times before is reaches that stage. The cooking process usually takes at least 10 minutes, but is frequently closer to 15 minutes.
Note: If you do not cook the candy long enough it will have a gritty texture when it is finished. Fudge that is properly made will melt in your mouth and have a very smooth texture.
Once it is at the hard ball stage, remove it from the heat and stir about 1/3 of the page of chocolate chips into the candy as they melt, continue adding 1/3 at a time until they are incorporated.
Note: As you mix in the chocolate pieces it will sometimes appear to be separating from the butter, just keep stirring. It will smooth out when you add the marshmallow cream in the next step.
Stir in the vanilla and then the jar of marshmallow cream. Continue to stir until all the marshmallow cream is incorporated and there are no more white streaks of the cream in the fudge.
Pour/spoon the fudge into the lined 9×13 baking pan and set aside to cool.
After the fudge has cooled completely, usually at least an hour or two, lift the foil and fudge out of the pan and place it on a counter or transfer the fudge to a cutting board.
Using a large knife, cut the fudge into even squares.
If you leave it on the foil like I did, take care that the foil doesn’t stick to the bottom of the fudge.
If you are trying to take pictures of your fudge, lock your doors to keep inpatient fingers at bay until you are done. 😉