Recipe: Old-Fashioned Fudge

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is making treats for neighbors and friends. I love making treats, and I also love not being the one who eats all of said treats. I feel much less guilty making sweets in December because, without a doubt, I won't be the one eating them all, between work parties and neighbors stopping by and all of the ample opportunities to share. So this month I'll be sharing a favorite Christmas treat recipe each Tuesday. I know that's a lot of treats, but I promise the whole 21-days-sugar-free experience is not lost on me. I've been told that my love language is making food for other people. I don't think this is completely true but it's definitely not untrue either. I love making food for people I love. So I hope you can indulge me as I share some pretty decadent recipes this month.

When I call this recipe is called old-fashioned, I'm being completely serious. I always mean it when I say old-fashioned. This recipe is totally old school. I'm not sure if even my grandmothers used recipes quite this simple. The picture above of this fudge was a "creative" batch, where Shaun used peppermint extract instead of vanilla, and topped the fudge with crushed candy cane. As you can see, after a few days the candy cane was almost liquid-looking, but it was tasty! I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to chocolate. I prefer fudge either plain or simply with some salt sprinkles or chopped nuts on top. But this recipe can be customized easily to your own preferences, dressed up or down.  I feel like a broken record but I can't emphasize enough how much I love the simplicity of this recipe. Fudge can't be called healthy, but I love the basic ingredients used here. No marshmallows, canned milks, chocolate chips or creams here, just staple pantry items. The resulting fudge tastes real (I've become a bit reluctant about eating things that taste too unidentifiable) and rich. It's a delicious and simple indulgence that we love making for our neighbors!


Old-Fashioned Fudge 

  • 2 cups white sugar (I always use organic sugar, it's more "blond" than granulated sugar and tastes much better to me) 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 4 tablespoons butter (it must be real!) 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or other extract if desired)
  • (Optional: Whatever you'd like to top your fudge (walnuts, coarse sea salt, chopped white chocolate, crushed candy cane, toasted coconut, really the options are endless))
  • Note: You'll need a candy thermometer to make this, unless you can identify soft-ball stage really confidently without one. 

  1. Generously butter a parchment paper-lined 8x8 baking pan. 
  2. Butter the sides of a medium sized sauce pan. 
  3. In the saucepan combine sugar, cocoa and milk. Stir to blend, then bring to a boil, stirring constantly. 
  4.  Reduce heat and simmer. Do not stir again. Place candy thermometer in pan and cook until temperature reaches 238 degrees F (114 degrees C) (softball stage). 
  5. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon or standing mixer until the fudge loses its shine. (We use our standing mixer and this takes at least 5 minutes, sometimes longer, so if you're beating by hand be prepared for an arm workout!) 
  6. Pour into prepared pan. Top with whatever you'd like, if desired, and let cool completely. Cut into small squares. Store in a cool place in an airtight container. 

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