I’m talking about candy fudge. Not “the f-dash-dash-dash word.”
Most people, at least here in the US, make fudge for Christmas. Usually chocolate, sometimes peanut butter, because you know how much Americans love peanut butter, and occasionally some other random flavor. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told, “My family uses the original See’s fudge recipe.” Even my husband’s grandmother said that to me once. Which is funny because my family fudge recipe is titled “See’s Fudge.” But you know what? They are different recipes. I could do a blind taste test and tell you whose fudge recipe is whose.
This was over 10 years ago now, and at the time it amused me enough that I decided to do some digging. I ought to preface this by telling you straight off the bat that what I learned is that this popular American fudge recipe is not true fudge to begin with. It’s not the same cooking process/ingredient list.
What is the difference between real fudge and “See’s Fudge? And why is it called See’s fudge? Old fashioned fudge consists primarily of dairy, butter, sugar, and cocoa powder with a couple little extras depending on personal preference. The ingredients are the biggest difference and require a tad more skills in the kitchen. We will have to visit this fun recipe another time. Let’s play with the easier version for now.
See’s fudge is called that because of a well known candy chain who made this simplified fudge recipe famous decades ago. Approximately the same time, it was called Wonder Fudge. A well known marshmallow manufacturer then took it a step further and called it Fantasy Fudge. Brilliant on their part, to alter the name and recipe so that they could put it on the back of their products, no? For purposes of clarification, let’s call it Simplified Fudge to differentiate it from Old Fashioned Fudge.
Simplified fudge is awesome, almost as much as Traditional Fudge. The difference– the KEY is that is uses marshmallows! (I know, I gave that spoiler above.) Long story made very short, the reason this is helpful is because marshmallows have cut down the cooking time, simplified the cooking process, and best yet, significantly decreased the risk of accidentally crystallizing the entire batch of candy. (Although it’s still a possibility if you’re careless. But don’t let that deter you!) This is seriously worthwhile for any intermediate baker to attempt as long as you know how to follow instructions. Once you master this, there’s no telling what you can accomplish in your kitchen!
3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup butter (cut into cubes)
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
10 oz. mini marshmallows
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Liberally butter a 9×9 baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, layer the ingredients in order: chopped nuts, chocolate chips, marshmallows, butter, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and evaporated milk to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. (Don’t scrape the sides– this would cause it to crystallize and you don’t want that!) Continue boiling for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. (Don’t scrape the sides.) Pour the milk mixture over the remaining ingredients. (Don’t scrape the sides!) Stir vigorously until fully incorporated. Pour into the greased baking dish and let cool. When ready to serve, cut into 1-inch squares.