I have a very vivid memory from my childhood about cooking
this fudge. I don't know how young I was at the time, although
I was short enough that I had to stand on a kitchen chair in order
to use the stove, so clearly I was still a Little
Guy. Anyway, I'm standing there on a chair in the kitchen,
stirring a saucepan of fudge, while watching the wonderful world
of Disney on the kitchen TV, which was on a high shelf in the
corner. The lights are off, and the room is lit only by the TV,
and the blue flame of the stove under the fudge. The show is a
cartoon about life on other planets.
Whenever I cook this fudge, the smell of it always takes me
back to that moment.
I have many other fond memories associated with this fudge.
It's the family favorite fudge. My brother Rash cooked it before
me and we both got the recipe from our mom. There have been phases
in my life in which I'd cook a batch of this fudge every week
or so, and eat it all over the course of a day or two. Ah, for
the metabolism of youth!
This is the recipe used by the Imperial Chocolate company to
make their famous "Units" chocolate fudge candy bars.
Stuff you need:
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 squares unsweetened chocolate
- 1 scant cup milk (1 cup less 1 tablespoon)
- butter the size of an egg
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine sugar, chocolate, milk, salt and butter and bring to
a boil. Boil hard for 4 minutes after it comes to a boil. Start
counting as soon as the whole surface of the fudge is boiling
furiously. Beat all the time. Remove from fire, add vanilla and
continue beating until smooth and heavy. Pour into buttered pan
on Making Fudge
Wow, the actual recipe (which I copied out of my mom's recipe
box decades ago) is really short! Here are some extra bits of
advice, drawn from my 25+ years in the amateur fudge-making business:
- Be sure to use a metal saucepan. I always have, and so I've
never had a problem, but I've heard of others having trouble
with this recipe, who traced the problem to a glass saucepan.
- Keep a close eye on the heat. You want it on medium-high.
If you've got the heat too low, the final product will be too
soft, and if the heat is too high, it may boil over.
- This fudge is officially known as Four-Minute Fudge, because
of the 4 minute cooking interval. However, I've found this to
be a little short... I usually let it go for 5 or even 6 minutes,
until the surface bubbles start getting really big, like the
boiling surface of lava in a volcano. (The official test of whether
it's cooked enough is the dreaded "soft-ball" test,
in which you drop a little fudge into a glass of water, to see
if it forms into a sphere at the bottom... but I stopped messing
about with all that when I was still a kid. If in doubt, just
cook it a little longer.)
- Stir, stir, stir! The most important step is the stirring,
which introduces air bubbles into the fudge as it cools. You've
got to stir, and stir constantly, until just before the fudge
hardens up in the pan. Be sure to get the pan(s) you're going
to pour the fudge into greased up in advance, then just keep
stirring until it's on the verge of solidifying. My mom always
said you've got to stir it until it "loses its shine,"
but I never really understood that test, and developed my own
instead. It's called "Making Trees". For this test,
you need to be stirring with a slotted spoon. Raise up a spoonful
of fudge, and as it drips down through the slots of the spoon,
watch as it hits the surface of the fudge below. If the fudge
piles up like little evergreen trees, it's time to pour. If not,
- The Nanofic I wrote about
making this fudge, entitled Fudge Warfare.