I am participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, during which I’ll write a blog post every day in April except Sundays. The topic for the first day begins with the letter A and I’ll work my way down to writing about something beginning with Z on my last day.
This year I’m going to choose a random word for the blog post topic, but I’m going to tie it into a memoir I’m working on about Nanny, my maternal grandmother. I hope this will allow me to think about her in a more creative way and unlock new memories to mine.
Here we go!
F is for Fudge
I couldn’t really decide on the topic for today’s post so when I picked my daughter up from school I asked her, “What is the first word you can think of that starts with the letter F?”
Stupid. Oh, so stupid. Mom fail.
As soon as that moronic question left my lips I realized my mistake.
Quickly, I said, “Waitwaitwaitwait, the first F word that’s not that F word.”
*giggles from the back seat* “What word is that, Mom? What F word are you talking about?” She was mocking me. I’ve raised her well.
I couldn’t turn around to look at her or I’d probably have wrecked the car. When she was finally able to mutter words instead of laughs she choked out, “Forest. And Fudge.”
Whew, I could work with both of those. I figure I should probably write about fudge since I spend a good chunk of time writing about forests already.
My Aunt Sharon makes the best peanut butter fudge ever. Like, ever. She uses a recipe from her 11th grade Home Economics class and it’s the real deal. It calls for real butter and peanut butter mixed with milk and sugar and vanilla. No marshmallow crème in those babies. It’s so delicious. Back in the day I could eat several pieces at a time it was so yummy.
She also makes a mean chocolate fudge, Fantasy Fudge to be exact. Most people think this is the culmination of Sharon’s fudge-making repertoire, and though it is also nomalicious, the peanut butter fudge is what I dream about at night. When I dream about fudge.
Since we couldn’t celebrate Christmas together as a family this year, I had to make my own damn fudge. Luckily, Sharon had given all four of us cousins a family recipe book as a gift years ago, so I had the recipe ready. Made my grocery list and came home armed with lots of sugar, butter, and chocolate chips.
My Aunt Sharon I am not. Here is how the recipe is written in Sharon’s pretty, cursive handwriting:
2 pkgs (24oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
So I bought two 24-ounce packages of chocolate chips. Right? That’s what anyone would buy, I know!
Turns out the recipe called for 24 oz TOTAL chocolate chips. Whatever mélange I concocted that day smelled like chocolate fudge and kind of resembled chocolate fudge when you looked at it up close, but Fantasy Fudge it was not.
Oh, it tasted chocolatey enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, but it was hard as a rock. We had to chip away flakes of it like we were archeologists digging out dinosaur bones.
We tried to remedy the situation by mixing in all the other ingredients in equal proportions to make a double batch. The effort was worthy, but the result disappointing. We were going to have to make do with wafer-thin, chocolate-flavored slivers of fudge-like substance.
The recipe has been edited so I don’t make that mistake again.
Now as I’ve said before, Nanny wasn’t much of a baker, so we don’t recall her ever making fudge of any kind. My Granddaddy, though, he made some killer chocolate fudge. I never got to taste it, and since he didn’t follow a recipe, nothing was ever written down. It was all in his head. Sharon says it was the best chocolate fudge she’s ever tasted.
She recalls he used Hershey’s cocoa powder, sugar, maybe some cream, and then a little scoop of peanut butter at the end (genius)! He whipped it for a long time (or what was a long time for a kid) and she and Mom couldn’t get enough of it. If anyone’s ever heard of a recipe like that, please let me know. I’d love to find something similar.
I don’t think it’s possible to have too many good fudge recipes, especially when they’re family heirlooms.