When I and my siblings grew up and had families of our own one thing we looked forward to during the Solstice Season was the gift of a heavy small box from our dad. Inside was the velvety chocolate, walnut studded, once a year indulgence of his homemade fudge.
And every year, after having a few pieces, I would then prudently put it away in the freezer- out of sight out of mind…
Wrong. I just could not ignore the knowing that it sat there just steps away, waiting. I caved in every time. Had to keep at it until it was gone. Not in one sitting you understand, but once, twice, thrice times a day I would gravitate towards the unassuming little white box in the fridge and dip in. It held me hostage until I was released only when it was entirely consumed, only then it was “out of sight out of mind.”
Hey, I had help (thankfully) from sweet tooth Bob.
When my dad passed away my sister then assumed the mantle and kept us all in fudge each year. This year I decided it was time I begin the tradition for my family and you know what? I never knew my dads recipe, had never inquired, because he was making it, and knowing the recipe didn’t matter to me. It was dads fudge and that was enough.
I knew there was whipped marshmallow involved but that was all I knew, and now that I know the rest of the ingredients I find the original recipe is in fact known as Fantasy Fudge.
As I began getting the ingredients together I pulled out a candy thermometer that my mom had given me when she was downsizing to move into an Assisted Living facility, and it dawned on me that this was my dads candy thermometer he used for making our Christmas fudge, and as I proceeded in the making of it I felt a contented connection with him. I know he took real pleasure in making this confection for us each year, in fact he enjoyed baking and even made bread often after he retired.
Making this fudge carries with it some bittersweetness too. It reminds me that there were many other things I neglected to ask him, even to learn about him. Many things were revealed by my mom after his passing at age 77. Such as losing his sister, my aunt, when she was 32 and the two small children that she had being subsequently adopted out. I have two cousins out there I know nothing of.
Of his years working as a painter at Disneyland and the day Walt sat with him as dad took his lunch break, just visiting with him. About his giving up art to raise five kids. And his amazing leather tool work. How it was for him packing up four small kids and exiting Lethbridge Alberta and moving to California. To hear his side of that big adventure. Many other things too, that since his passing have come to mind.
I just thought there would be time to ask. To talk about everything.
Technically it is Fantasy Fudge, but here it is Dad’s Fudge, with me having my small moment with a father that had been humble, kind and quiet spoken; known to have a bit of a gentle dry wit, and who helped make me who I am today.
3 cups White Sugar
2/3 cup Evaporated Milk
3/4 cup Butter
Put this in a heavy bottom sauce pot.
Prepare the following ingredients to have ready and set next to the stove, good idea to spoon out the marshmallow into a small bowl.
Have a 9×13 baking dish lined with buttered foil or lined with parchment paper.
1 Lb Chocolate Chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
7 oz whipped marshmallow
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Stirring continuously bring the ingredients in the sauce pot up to a boil. As soon as it has put a candy thermometer in and keep stirring till it reads 230′.
Take the pot off the heat and quickly add the marshmallow and chocolate using a wire whisk blend it in. Add in the vanilla and walnuts then pour into waiting baking dish and spread out. Give it a shake to help it distribute evenly.
Find a cool place to leave it to set up for several hours.
Note: I have read that if you don’t have a thermometer then to set a timer for 4 minutes and keep stirring till the timer goes and that should indicate 230′ is reached. I did time it along with my thermometer on each occasion but found it came to temperature at around 2.5 minutes. I went with my thermometer and the fudge came out beautifully on all batches.
Enjoy and maybe it will become your tradition too ~ 🙂