Friday, December 14, 2012

Oh, Fudge...

"Only I didn't say "Fudge." I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the "F-dash-dash-dash" word!" Adult Ralphie, A Christmas Story

Thankfully, no curse words were uttered during the making of my Mint Chocolate Fudge! 2012 marks the first year I participated in the trendy and some-people-dread-it bake swap. The plan was to make 4 dozen gluten free and nut free goodies, 1/2 dozen per attending mama. At first, I had no idea what to make. I asked around and got some good ideas from some friends. And just like that, the recipe came to me in the first Christmas card I received in the mail, from the Realtor that sold our townhouse in June. The recipe was for foolproof chocolate fudge. I knew as soon as I read the recipe that I had to try it, because this recipe doesn't require the use of a candy thermometer and careful watching. And what better audience than a bunch of my mom friends (with my husband as "Quality Inspector")? I am happy to say that the fudge turned out divine! My mom friends were wowed by them, and my husband loved the fudge so much he took the last 1/2 dozen to work to share it with his coworkers. And not only did the fudge disappear, but there were rave reviews about how great it was too! So here is the recipe I made, with a few tweaks I made from the original recipe. Enjoy!

Foolproof Mint Chocolate Fudge
Makes: 2 dozen squares in a 9 x 13" glass pan

Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup 35% cream
3 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed candy canes

1. Line a 9 x 13" baking pan with 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper-one lengthwise, and one horizontally so that the ends hang over all sides of the pan. Coat evenly with cooking spray.
2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat cook sugar, salt, butter, cream and marshmallows, stirring often, until marshmallows are almost melted, about 5-6 minutes.
3. Bring mixture to a boil; cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips, vanilla and peppermint extracts and stir until chips are melted. Pour mix into lined pan. Let sit for 2-3 hours.
4. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of the fudge to firm up overnight. This is what mine looked like before it's sleep in the fridge:

5. Remove from fridge and let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, to soften up the fudge for cutting into squares.
6. Trim off the edges and cut into 24 squares. Feed the trimmed edges to your "Quality Inspector" (ha ha). My squares looked like this:
7. Package up for swapping or serve and enjoy!
A few helpful hints that I found made all the difference with these batches of fudge:

-Use good quality chocolate, or the best chocolate you have on hand. I used Hershey's semi-sweet chips, but in the future I might try Ghirardelli or Bernard Callebaut to add richness.
-I found that making the fudge the night before and letting it rest overnight in the fridge was an important step. The original recipe stated that the fudge would be set at room temperature after 3 hours; it was not even close to being set at that time. Lots of things are better when they have time to "chill out", this fudge is no exception!
-In case your fudge isn't set when you go to cut it, make sure that you have a cup or mug of warm water on hand to rinse off your knife for smoother, easy cuts. 

If you love the pairing of chocolate and mint and want to indulge in a treat this holiday season, I highly recommend this easy, hassle-free recipe. You will be amazed at the results! If I don't get the chance to blog before Christmas, I hope you and yours have a fabulous holiday season surrounded by family and friends, good food and good times. To you and yours, from me and mine!