I inherited many recipes from my Mom. A lot of them I have re-written into my own cookbook and quite a few are in Mom’s handwriting. I will cherish them all forever, because with the flavors come memories.
One of Mom’s recipes that comes with the most memories is her fudge. She has made it countless times over the years. If I close my eyes, I can see her sitting in a chair with a towel in her lap and a wooden spoon in her hand, beating the cooling, thickening fudge — whap, whap, whap! — until its glossiness turns dull and she rushes to get it into the pan.
The pan. It must be the small, yellow enamel dish she always used for fudge. Someday, I will have that pan in my own kitchen and when I see it I will always think of Mom and her fudge.
I made Mom’s fudge myself for the first time a few days ago. I would have preferred to have a copper-bottomed pot (and the yellow enamel pan), but everything turned out just as it should. My Secret Pal at church was lucky enough to get the majority of the fudge, but Violet and I did check to make sure it was edible first.
Quality control is essential.
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Grease a shallow 8×8-inch baking dish (or whatever small dish you want to use) with butter and set aside.
Combine the sugar, milk, cocoa, corn syrup and salt in a pot over a burner on medium-high heat. Using a candy thermometer, cook the mixture until it reaches a temperature of 234 degrees. Make sure you stir it constantly (wooden spoons are best) or else it will burn!
As soon as it reaches 234 degrees, remove it from the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Let it cool a little bit, then start stirring it with a wooden spoon. Slowly, as the fudge cools, it will get thicker and harder to stir. Keep beating it! The fudge will start out looking shiny and wet, but eventually it will lose that glossiness and become dull. As soon as this happens, get that fudge in the pan, quick! If you wait too long, you will have hardened fudge in your pot.
Once you have the fudge in the pan, all you have to do is wait until it’s cool. Then you can cut it into pieces and eat it. That is, if you can wait that long. Seriously, there is nothing as good as warm fudge.