What’s Cookin’ in Callie’s Cabin: Homemade fudge in the Sierra
Special to the Tribune
It snowed this week — not long after I made my Snowball Cookies. So, I make no promises that fudge will bring another storm, but it will help make your fall days sweeter. There are so many flavors, including pumpkin fudge and peanut butter fudge — but I took the chocolate route. And I decided to lose the candy thermometer and avoid the stovetop to get and give you a fail-proof recipe that you can make in a heartbeat.
No-cook chocolate fudge is easy and quick to make. Sure, I’ve done the fantasy fudge with marshmallow cream recipes to boiling granulated white sugar with cocoa. Those methods spell time — sometimes flopped. This time around I wanted to try making my favorite candy with what is in my pantry and use more familiar ingredients without making a store run. I also loved the idea of using premium chocolate, organic half-and-half, and good-for-you nuts — stuff I can pronounce without hidden junk that makes me cringe.
Speaking of cringing, two years ago, I was en route to Reno for a book signing. I sat in a crowded store and greeted customers. It was my job as an introverted author to be bold and people-friendly while discussing, signing, and selling my Healing Powers series. While I love this store with its mural of classic authors (and I have sold a lot of books at past events), I admit I felt a bit down.
Ironically, man’s best friend upstaged me. Service canines were in the store greeting potential book buyers. I couldn’t compete. So, after signing some books, I decided to go with the adage, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” I recall bending down on my knees and befriending a handsome Great Dane. He provided comfort. He must have sensed I didn’t sell the piles of books sitting on a table in front of me.
On the way home to the South Shore, I made it a point to stop at the Chocolate Nugget Candy Factory — a place I go to get fun fudge. I purchased a variety of the candy — multiple flavors to heal my wounded author’s ego. You never know if there’s a ball game or cats for adoption (that happened at a Sacramento bookstore) that’ll upstage you. So rather than hiss, I got my both my fur and chocolate fixes.
White Chocolate Fudge
1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon European style butter
1/2 cup organic half and half
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
2 3/4 to 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Variations: If you prefer, substitute white chocolate chips with milk, dark, or butterscotch chips. (I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet using 2/3 cup pumpkin puree or peanut butter will work, too!
In a microwave-type bowl, melt butter (about 40 seconds). Add half and half, chocolate, sugar and nuke again (about one minute or till bubbly and melted). Pour into a stainless steel bowl and beat till smooth. Add vanilla and nuts. Set aside. Grease with the extra melted butter a square 8-inch by 8-inch glass dish. Pour fudge into it and spread evenly. Cover with foil and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours. Cut into squares. Makes 16 servings. (It freezes well.)
This fudge can be cut into smaller pieces easily and perfectly — like what you’d see in a candy shop. The texture is super smooth and super creamy complemented by a nice crunch from the walnuts. It’s rich so one nice-size square is simply ideal and will curb that sweet tooth. Teamed with a cup of hot tea makes a fine snack during colder nights.
Motto: You can do it the hard way but sometimes change and going with the flow is easier and pleasantly surprising.
— Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. The Healing Powers of Coffee is featured by the Good Cook Book Club, and the series is sold at Walmart stores nationwide. Currently, she’s writing the Olive Oil second edition. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.
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