2013-11-15 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Putting a new twist on a holiday treat
By Connie Wendell
Special contributor

Fudge is a wonderful gift, especially during the holidays. I have discovered there are as many recipes for fudge as there are for meatloaf.

My grandmother had no less than 50 in her collection. I have included a few favorites for you to try. They are all yummy.

Pumpkin pecan fudge

1 cup sugar; 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar; 1/2 cup butter; 1/2 cup half and half; 1/2 cup canned pumpkin; 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice; 2 cups miniature marshmallows; 1 (12 ounce) package white baking chips; 1 teaspoon vanilla; and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Line an 8- or 9-inch pan with aluminum foil, extending over the edge. Lightly butter the foil and set aside.

Combine sugar, brown sugar, half and half, pumpkin pie spice in heavy 3-quart saucepan. Cook five to seven minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low. Cook seven to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 234° degrees (soft ball stage) on candy thermometer. Remove from heat.

Stir in marshmallows, baking chips and vanilla until mixture is smooth, stir in pecans. Pour into prepared pan. Cool completely.

Remove fudge from pan using foil, remove foil. Cut into 1-inch squares. Store in refrigerator in container with tight-fitting-lid up to three weeks.

Key lime fudge

3 cups white baking pieces; 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk; 2 teaspoons finely shredded lime peel; 2 tablespoons bottled Key lime juice; and 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts, toasted, if desired.

Line an 8- or 9-inch pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil and set aside.

In a heavy large saucepan stir baking pieces and sweetened condensed milk over low heat just until pieces are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in lime peel and lime juice. Stir in macadamia nuts.

Spread mixture evenly into the prepared pan. If desired, sprinkle a few additional coarsely chopped macadamia nuts over the top. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until firm. Lift fudge from pan using edges of foil. Peel off foil. Use a knife to cut into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or freeze for up to two months.

Cherry almond fudge

3/4 cup sliced almonds; 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar; 2/3 cup milk; 1/4 cup butter; 12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, coarsely chopped; 3/4 cup snipped dried tart cherries or dried cranberries; and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds in a shallow baking pan. Toast in preheated oven for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring two to three times. Remove from oven; let cool.

Line an 8-inch pan with foil, extending over edges of pan. Butter the foil and set pan aside.

Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In the saucepan, combine powdered sugar, milk and butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils and sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low. Boil gently, without stirring, for 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Add the white chocolate. Stir until white chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat, stir in dried fruit, almonds and almond extract. Immediately spread fudge in prepared pan. Cover and chill 6 hours or until firm.

When fudge is firm, use foil to lift out of pan. Cut fudge into 1-inch squares or triangles. Store in airtight container for up to a week.

You will delight your family and friends with any of these fudge recipes. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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