Wednesday, December 23, 2009

a holiday tradition and a giveaway

Every family has its holiday traditions, whether it's latkes at Hannukah, or clam chowder on Christmas Eve, or black eyed peas on New Year's Day. In Dave's family, one sure herald of Christmas was the arrival of his mother's fudge. And lest you say, "Oh, my mom/grandma/aunt makes fudge!", I assure you this is not your garden variety fudge. This is fudge so creamy and smooth and light, you'll find you've eaten an entire pan of it before you snap out of the bewitching spell it casts.
I've heard people say that fudge is easy to make, and I agree that on the face of it, it appears to be the case, but in reality, it is not easy to do well. It requires a degree of expertise, and I might add, very strong forearms and wrists to pull off correctly. In this case, Fern (my mother in law) had the expertise, and Ray (my father in law) had the muscle. They made a great team.
Shortly after they passed away, my sister in law entrusted me with Fern's fudge recipe, and I had no idea what path that formula would set me on... now, almost twenty years later, I've made hundreds of pounds of the stuff, with no hopes of slacking off any time soon.

It all starts with a few very basic ingredients: butter, sugar, and milk.

These are brought to a very specific temperature

and more stuff* is added, after which you stir, stir, stir, stir, until you think your arm will probably fall off...and then you stir some more, until it's creamy and glossy and smooth...
(and by the way, that heart really did appear randomly- I'm not that good with Photoshop)

and then you taste it to be sure it's perfect...

and pour it into Fern's original perfect fudge pans.

After it's cooled, you cut it into squares and package it up in nice little square boxes with labels...
(Fern skipped this part and gave it out in pans and tins and whatever boxes she had saved during the year...she was very frugal that way)

and then you send it out to about a million family members and friends, and friends of friends, and kids of friends, and the mailman, and your hairdresser, and the garbage man, and your co-workers, and so on and so on, until you've made about 30 or 40 pounds of it, and you never want to smell chocolate again....and then you taste it to make sure it's perfect, and somehow feel compelled to make yet another batch.

In the spirit of the season, I'll be giving away a box of Fern's Famous Fudge. To be eligible for the random drawing, just leave me a comment, and my trusty assistants will eat draw your name from a hat food bowl.


*This is a top secret recipe. My lips are sealed.


mo.stoneskin said...

I would love to eat a whole pan of fudge. It is my ultimate ideal. Sadly after 10 pieces or so I feel a bit sick.

ikkinlala said...

That looks delicious!

suburban prep said...

Chocolate or fudge doesn't last very long in our family. My husband and father are both extreme chocoholics.
This looks fabulous. I would save it all for me (No I would probably end up sharing).

aimee said...

fudge? oh heck yeah! please toss my name in the hat!

happy holidays to you my dear! :)

BOSSY said...

Did somebody say FUDGE???????

Magpie said...

Fudge? Mmm.

Over the summer, we spent a couple of days on a boat in Maine. The cook was involved in making A LOT of fudge to sell to raise money for a bike trip. He did beat the hell out of it, something I didn't know was necessary.