Chef's Hat: The ever delectable fudge is a traditional holiday staple
Fudge is that soft, sweet, rich combination of sugar, butter and milk that is available in dozens of flavors and can include bits of fruit, nuts and candy. It's not at all healthy, but just enjoy it in moderation and you'll be fine.
Even though fudge is extremely easy to make and is sold year-round in a variety of shops, many of us don’t mix up a batch or enjoy this sweet concoction until the holiday season.
Fudge is that soft, sweet, rich combination of sugar, butter and milk that is available in dozens of flavors and can include bits of fruit, nuts and candy.
Some believe fudge was created by mistake. One story tells of someone attempting to mix up a batch of caramel that didn’t quite work. When they “fudged” the recipe by not cooking it hot enough, it turned into a batch of fudge. And the name "fudge" stuck to this sweet treat.
Because this candy contains a lot of sugar and fat, it is not a healthy snack. One website even referred to it as one of the six unhealthiest snacks. Still, there is no reason not to enjoy it in moderation. And if you want to feel better about eating a hefty dose of Christmas fudge, it does contain small amounts of manganese and a bit of B vitamins.
People have gone to extremes when experimenting with fudge. People have added all types of fruits, liquor, peanut butter, nuts, bits of candy bars, smashed up cookies and even bacon to batches of fudge. While you might not want to go overboard in experimenting with jalapenos or bacon in your next batch of fudge, there are plenty of easy recipes to go beyond the typical batch of ordinary chocolate fudge.
Baileys White Chocolate Fudge uses white chocolate chips and has just a hint of that Baileys flavor. Or if you are a fan of rocky road ice cream, make up a batch of Rocky Road Fudge. This luscious fudge will remind you of eating an ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day.
Fudge can be prepared on the stove or in the microwave, but I have always had the best results using the stovetop method and paying careful attention to it while it's cooking. Fudge can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of weeks, or can be refrigerated for three weeks. If you have made an extra big batch, fudge can be placed into airtight containers and frozen for up to three months.
Expand your horizons by adding a new flavor of fudge to your holiday traditions. Happy Eating!
Baileys White Chocolate Fudge
- 3 cups of granulated (white) sugar
- 3/4 cup salted butter
- 1 small can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1 bag (11 ounces) white chocolate chips
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- 1/3 cup Baileys Irish Cream
Line a 9x13-inch cake pan with parchment paper, foil or waxed paper. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set the pan aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the butter and milk. Place on the stovetop and bring to medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let the mixture boil softly for five minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove the pan from the stove and add in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Stir the chocolate until all of the chips and marshmallows are melted. Stir in the Irish cream and continue stirring until the cream is completely mixed into the fudge.
Pour the fudge mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Allow the mixture to cool until it is set.
Cut into one-inch squares. Place into airtight containers and refrigerate or freeze.
Rocky Road Fudge
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows
- 1 cup salted peanuts (or use honey roasted peanuts)
Line a 9x12-inch inch pan with parchment paper, wax paper or aluminum foil. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Combine the milk, chocolate and the butter in a medium sized pan. Place a slightly larger pan half filled with water on the stove and bring heat to medium. Place the pan containing the chocolate on top of the pan filled with water.
Stir frequently while the chocolate and butter melt so the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Alternatively, you can place the milk, chocolate and butter in a medium sized bowl and melt in the microwave. Place in microwave and heat for 90 seconds. Remove and stir. If not fully melted, place back in the microwave and heat for 15-second bursts until the chocolate is melted.
Remove the mixture from heat and add the vanilla. Stir until well blended. Stir in the peanuts and marshmallows. Pour into the prepared pan. Spread with a spatula so mixture is even throughout the pan. Place in the refrigerator and chill until mixture is hardened. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.