Simple Fudge

Cranberry Fudge Greetings!  Its almost Christmas!!  AH!

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I recently finished testing a lot of fudge recipes.  If you follow me on the street you would probably be able to tell by the size of my hips that I have recently finished testing a lot of fudge recipes…

I have quite a few versions of essentially the same thing: melted chocolate mixed with a variety of ingredients to keep it soft and luscious.  I am not talking about peanut butter fudge, or rocky road fudge, cappuccino fudge, or the plethora of other confection concoctions.  Those are different.  I just wanted to eliminate all the choices and narrow it down to just one, basic, simple, classic, master fudge recipe that I could then add things too when I wanted to change it up.  A good base that would be able to handle nuts, dried fruit, or a shot of peppermint flavoring.  The whole reason I started this process is because I recently went to my data base of collected fudge recipes (to make fudge, duh) and I had way too many collected.  I have recipes for Microwave Fudge, Chocolate Fudge, Easy Fudge, Quick Fudge, The Best Fudge Ever, Double Chocolate Fudge, and so on.  They all were about the same.  So I took all the plain fudge recipes, narrowed them down to a half dozen or so that I figured would give me different textures, if not a big variation in flavor, and went to town.

I am proud to say that I now have a master fudge recipe! Woo hoo!  The others are deleted, freeing up all kinds of computer memory for more recipes!  Just what I need, right?

So why did we choose this particular recipe, you ask?  And I say ‘we’ because my husband and kids and neighbors did a heck of a lot of taste testing.  Well, I’ll tell ya.  It is smooth and creamy and not too sweet.  It is rich and decadent without tasting like factory chocolate that has a lot of preservatives and oil in it.  Also, I must add, it is easy and requires NO CANDY THERMOMETER!  This was a prerequisite for me.  Lots if foods require specific temps; things like caramel and marshmallows.  I am OK with that.  Fudge should be easier.  Don’t you think?  Who’s with me?!  Fudge for everyone!
Cranberry Fudge Cranberry Fudge One Year Ago: Fruit & Nut Rum Balls

Simple Fudge
Adapted from Carnation

This recipe is for your basic fabulous fudge.  The above pictures show my favorite way to make it: with dried cranberries or cherries stirred in.  It looks beautiful, festive, and gives a hint of tartness to break up the richness of the chocolate.

1 1/2 c sugar
2/3 c (5 oz can) evaporated milk
2 T butter
2 c mini marshmallows
9 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c nuts, or dried
1 tsp vanilla

Lightly butter a 9X9 square baking pan.  In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter.  Melt over medium heat and bring to a rolling boil.  Let boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate, marshmallows, and vanilla.  Off the heat, continue stirring until  everything is melted and incorporated and smooth.  Stir in nuts or fruit if desired.  Pour into prepared pan and let cool till firm.  Cut into small squares and store in an airtight container.
Note: Feel free to stir in any combination of extras!  Chopped walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, dried cranberries, dried cherries, chopped dried apricots, coconut, chopped andes mints, more mini marshmallows (at the end so they don’t melt), 1 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract instead of vanilla, or even top the fudge with mini pretzels.