What makes Christmas special for me: Fudge

There are just a few things that say "Christmas" to me. I think this is the case with most people. Those things can be varied and obscure, but are often rooted in tradition, nostalgia, and fond memories. Over the next few days, I'm going to attempt to write about a few of the things that make Christmas truly Christmas-y for me simply because of the nostalgia with which they are imbued in my mind.

Ever since I can remember, there were two things that my mom made especially for Christmas--homemade fudge and English toffee. The whole process of making candy absolutely fascinated me through my childhood. When I was old enough, maybe 8 years old, Mom let me help out instead of just watch. I was usually responsible for stirring because keeping the sugar and butter mixture stirring constantly was critical as it heated to the temperature desired for either soft ball (fudge) or hard crack (toffee).

Mom's fudge recipe is no secret. It's the recipe that Kraft has been printing on its jars of Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme (an essential ingredient in fudge) for eons . The recipe is "officially" called "Fantasy Fudge". I didn't know that until I was an adult. All I knew was that Mom's fudge was the best! There wasn't any other kind of fudge from any fancy candy shop that could rival it and still have yet to find one. And the funny thing is that it's a Kraft recipe!

Now, even though I am very health-conscious and a big proponent of nutritious and healthy eating I must say that there are some foods that fall into a "special" category reserved for nostalgic "comfort foods" that are made as part of a family tradition. Those foods should be celebrated. I can account for the calories somehow, but darned if I'm going to feel guilty for carrying on a family tradition that makes Christmas feel right to me.

So without further adieu, here is the recipe straight off the Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme jar sitting here on my desk:

Fantasy Fudge
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine--go with the butter)
1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup)
1 1/2 pkg. (12 squares) Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, chopped
1 jar (7 oz.) Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
1 cup chopped walnuts (or leave them out if you have an allergy like Hubby does)
1 tsp. vanilla

Line 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan; set aside. Place sugar, butter and evaporated milke in large heavy saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 4 min. or until candy thermometer reaches 234ºF (soft ball), stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

Add chocolate and marshmallow creme, stir until completely melted. Add walnuts (if desired) and vanilla; mix well.

Pour immediately into prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Let stand at room temperature 4 hours or until completely cooled; cut into 1-inch squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. Makes 3 lb. or 40 servings, about two squares each.

Variation - Classic Fantasy Fudge (the way Mom always made it)
Prepare recipe as directed, using 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) margarine and substituting 1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips for the chopped BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate and a 13x9-inch baking pan for the 9-inch square pan.

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories 170
Total fat 8 g
Saturated fat 4 g
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 45 mg
Carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary fiber 1 g
Sugars 23 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 2 %DV
Vitamin C 0 %DV
Calcium 0 %DV
Iron 2 %DV

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10 comments:

Anna said...

Cindy, thank you and thank you, out of many things Christmas is special because of fudge, lol. Happy Holidays, Anna :)

Michelle said...

Cindy, I like the sound of this recipe. Thanks for sharing. I'm so glad Skate is doing better~what a cutie!

Michelle

Lynda Lehmann said...

I'm with you on all things fudge and chocolate, Cindy! Being as health conscious as you are, I will always allow a nibble of fudge on the holidays, and organic dark chocolate the year through.

Small portions work well. No guilt here!

I hope you enjoy every morsel of it!

Bren said...

Love your FUDGE!!!

I am having a GIVEAWAY at Bren's Little Cottage, please sign up..

:) Bren

http://benzy55.typepad.com/my_weblog/

MISS PEACH >(^.^) said...

Oh Cindy I have a fudge recipe to die for...I will make some batches this weekend or maybe tomorrow...I can not wait. I call it Tipsey Raisin Fudge:)
I am delighted to see little Skate doing so well. She looks so sweet in your arms...a little M cat! Miss Peach burps too! Not very Victorian ladylike however.
Soft hugs to you and sandpaper kisses for Miss Skate>(^,^)<

Barbara Jacksier said...

You've brought back fond memories (and calories). This is the fudge of my childhood. I haven't had it in years. Just looking at the photos I can almost take it! The Desperate Diva just sent me a gift of her spoon fudge. It's to die for, too! ANd, now one of your commenters suggust tipsy fudge. So many fudges, so little time to sample them all!

Cre8Tiva said...

oh i do love fudge...i add peanut butter to it also...and i am going to try those peanut butter chips instead of the chocolate this year also...yum...blessings, rebecca

kml said...

Me too, Cindy! And I have been using that Fantasy Fudge recipe for over 30 years! My aunt gave it to me when I was 13, and I can't count the number of batches I make each year. Enjoy! Kathy

Hubby said...

Uh, Honey!...we're running out of fudge! Can you suspend drafting your next post and make some more?

- Hubby

jodi said...

These are great posts...I'm NOT making fudge this year because my son won't be home for long, my husband doesn't eat it, and I don't need it...but that's not to say I won't pick some up at the farmer's market in the morning...
and I giggled at hubby's post...hope you obliged him. Happy hubbys do good things in the garden!

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