As we carry on through December, I imagine many people are working on finding holiday gifts. Food is a great gift, especially for people you don’t know very well or just want to give a small token of appreciation (teachers, coworkers, etc). My mom and I often prepared small bags of almond roca or other goodies for my teachers all through middle school, and she still prepares platters of almond roca, spritz, clothespin cookies, or other treats for family friends and business associates.
My grandma always made this fudge every Christmas, although she also always put walnuts in it. Delicious chocolatey fudge surrounding silly crunchy walnuts. Clearly I don’t care for nuts in fudge (or really much of anything besides almond roca) and so I have omitted them from this recipe. Feel free to add them back in if that’s your style.
Fudge seems to go over well with most people and so is routinely included in our line-up. This recipe is based off my grandmother’s recipe, as is probably obvious by the name. It has taken a little bit of research to get it right as the her recipe specified two packages of this and a package of that, and the size of “packages” have changed quite drastically over the last few decades. Nonetheless, we prevailed and have come up with the one below.
Last year we hand-stirred the recipe, as is tradition, and not only was it an immense amount of work but we had to enlist my dad to finish the job. We have changed the proportions a bit so it might be manageable for one of less than Herculean arm strength, but in spite of that I still opted to use my stand mixer. It worked beautifully and is much, much less effort to get that velvety chocolate experience you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a workout while you make piles of decadent treats this season, feel free to stir by hand.
Grandma also used margarine instead of butter, I imagine largely because it was cheaper. I’ve made it both ways and honestly I can’t much tell the difference with regards to flavor, but the batch made with margarine turned out a decent amount softer. I imagine this is mostly because margarine has a lower melting temperature, but beating in an extra couple minutes could help too. I personally don’t like a sticky fudge so I put that batch in the freezer, which makes it perfect in my mind. Choose your own adventure here, or just use whatever you have on hand – it’ll be delicious regardless.
Grandma’s Chocolate Fudge
Adapted from my grandmother’s recipe
Makes a lot
2 cups chocolate chips
2 sticks (1 cup total) salted butter, each cut into fourths
20 large marshmallows
2 T vanilla
4 cups sugar
12 oz can evaporated milk
- Line a baking dish or lipped cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.2
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add chocolate chips, margarine or butter, marshmallows, and vanilla1. Set aside. You must do this before boiling the milk otherwise it’ll cool down too much and won’t mix completely.
- In a medium-large saucepan, whisk together sugar and evaporated milk (make sure you have a fair amount of extra space, it’ll grow).
- Over medium-high heat, bring milk mixture to full rolling boil, stirring often.
- Continue to boil for 6 minutes (I recommend setting a timer), stirring constantly.
- Add hot milk mixture to remaining ingredients (don’t scrape the pot too vigorously or you will end up with sugar crystals in your fudge), and beat on low with the normal beater attachment (or by hand) for at least 5 minutes (again, set a timer), until marshmallows are completely dissolved. Scrape sides every minute or two during this time to ensure an even mix.
- Pour into foil-lined pan, smooth out the top, and let cool completely. An unheated garage or porch if you don’t have fridge space is great for speeding up this process.
- Remove from foil and cut into cubes. I suggest moving it to a cutting board or you will have many small squares of foil to peel off later.
- Package as desired and give as much of it away as possible so you don’t eat it all.
1 If you like, you can add up to two cups chopped nuts or hard candy. Personally I do not like uneven texture in fudge or baked goods, but it’s certainly an option if you’re into it.
2 I like to use a cookie sheet so the fudge is a little thinner, but either will work. It may not fill a whole sheet so line it with foil and make a new edge about halfway, making sure you have extra foil sticking up. After you pour it in and start to spread it, you can adjust the edge to hold more or less fudge as necessary to keep it the right thickness.