Sunday, September 18, 2011

For the Love of Fudge!

I'm not really a Suzy Q Homemaker type of gal most of the time. I'm proud of my garden when I have it, and I bake the occasional loaf of bread, and sure I love to cook dinners. I'm just not a "pearls and apron" kind of lady, though! Every once in a while, I get the urge to Make Something. Often it's bread, because even my mistakes get grand praise and are gobbled up by family. Bread is a whole day affair, which I have to start early in the morning and don't finish until bedtime, and so that wasn't what I felt called to make today.

No, today the calling was for fudge. Oh yeah, fudge, that gooey, rich goodness that rots your teeth and calls the Plaque Monster in to play. That pan of delicious chocolate insanity mixed with more sugar and butter, with no excuses for diets or points or blood sugar levels. Yes, I felt a definite call to make fudge today.

Well, fudge that isn't from a kit isn't very difficult, but even when microwaved (as I did it today, as our double boiler is "in a box somewhere" like everything else we own) it's a bit time consuming. It's not bread, though, and a half hour turns out a lovely batch. So I went over to Mr. G's, our local bump and dent store, to see what they had available. See, they often have huge bags of chocolate chips for 99 cents or thereabouts, and I count that out as a whole pan of fudge for $3 after tax... seems about good to me! As it turns out, though, they had no chocolate chips. I was devastated... until the lady told me that they had peanut butter chocolate chips. This was supposed to make me sad? Oh no... I bought four bags of the things, and ran home giggling maniacally. I was clutching my bag, too. Just for the effect, you know.

Think about it - they know I was recently ordained (they = everyone in the neighborhood). They know I'm living at the parsonage right now. They know I'm ... different. And now I'm clutching a baggie from the store and giggling quietly to myself. What would YOU think?

Okay, fudge is ridiculously easy to make, especially in a microwave. Take three cups of chips (chocolate, white chocolate, Hershey's kisses even, caramel chips... doesn't matter) and put them in a large, microwave safe container. I used the big measuring cup we have here (it holds 8 cups). Drop a quarter of a cup of butter on top. It can be hard or soft, doesn't matter. On top of that, pour one 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk. Stick the whole thing in the microwave for 3 minutes at 50% power (do NOT cook it on full power - you will boil your chocolate and make it grainy and ruined). Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, and return to the microwave for 2 minutes at 50% power. Continue the two minute cycle with a stir in between until the butter is completely melted and it is nice and smooth when you mix it. What you see in my picture here is NOT ready - this is after the first 3 minutes.

When it's nice and smooth, you can choose to mix in nuts, marshmallows, crushed candies, or whatever your li'l old heart desires. Mix well, then pour into well greased baking pans. I picked up 8" x 8" tin foil pans about an inch deep, and they did quite well. One recipe as listed here filled one pan nicely. If you want to have a dusky top or embed some kind of candy in the top, do it after it's been in the fridge five minutes. Take your pan, pop it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Then eat.

Now... While you're waiting that long, lonely two hours, why don't you lick your spoon or spatula? Then the measuring cup. Then anything else that touched the chocolate. Don't let it go to waste!

I'm making nice roast chicken breast for dinner, with fresh beets, fresh pan fried potatoes, sauteed cabbage, and coined fresh carrots. After all that goodness and healthiness, we'll need some old fashioned pan fudge.
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