Monday, December 14, 2009
Ahh, the gift of fudge. Better than a fruitcake, but not as nice as a membership to the jelly of the month club. Sorry...I'm watching Christmas Family Vacation...again. Actually, this fudge recipe ended my search for the perfect Christmas fudge. It's easy to make and delicious! In my opinion an excellent addition to an assorted box of goodies or a gift that can stand on it's own. I vividly remember Christmas fudge from my childhood. When I was in the first grade, my piano teacher, Mrs. Frankle gave me a half a pound of the most delicious homemade fudge along with a hand-painted mouse ornament, dressed as an angel and playing a horn. That ornament still hangs on my tree, I still vividly remember that velvety fudge, and Mrs. Frankle just celebrated her 90th birthday in June! It must have been good fudge if I can remember it 25+ years after the fact! Then, when I was in the second grade my family moved and I stopped taking piano lessons from Mrs. Frankle. That December, I found that a move and a new piano teacher didn't mean I'd miss out on the Christmas fudge. One frosty day, right before Christmas, our new neighbor, Lorraine showed up all rosy cheeked and smiling with a tin of fudge that was every bit as good as my piano teacher's. Each and every year, without fail, Lorraine's Christmas fudge would show up at our house in time for Christmas. I'd cut it out of the tin with a little plastic knife, sliver by sliver, and let it slowly melt on my tongue to make it last longer. I tell ya, both of those ladies knew how to make some fudge!
I have no idea what sparked the memory, but last year as I was planning my holiday baking, I remembered the tins of Christmas fudge consumed throughout my childhood and decided that I needed a version of my own. I searched until I found this recipe in Taste of Home. Since chocolate-covered cherries are another of my Christmas favorites, this recipe grabbed my attention. Now it's been tested on my family and we all agree, this fudge is awesome!
I began by lining my tins with aluminum foil. This way you can pull the foil straight out of the tin and easily cut the fudge before serving. If you prefer to give your fudge in the form of little squares or you're just making it for yourself, then line a 8 X 8 inch baking pan with foil. Grease the foil. Butter, shortening, or cooking spray will work.
Measure out 2 cups of chocolate chips and combine with a can of sweetened condensed milk. You can do this in a sauce pan or in a microwave safe dish. I used the microwave last year. This year I doubled the recipe and did it on the stove top.
Melt the chocolate and condensed milk over low heat on the stove or in the microwave according to the recipe directions.
Now chop 1/2 cup of maraschino cherries.
Stir the cherries and almond extract into the chocolate mixture. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of chopped almonds too. I happened to be out, so I didn't add them this year.
Pour the fudge into your prepared pan or tins. I double this recipe, so it filled 4 small tins and 1 medium-sized.
Before serving or gifting, I cover the tins and let the fudge set up in the fridge for a couple of hours. You should probably let the recipient know that it needs to be stored in the fridge as well. This is going into the teacher gift bags next to the Peppermint Stick Cocoa Mix, bags of caramel corn and gingerbread cookies. I hope that my daughter's teachers love this as much as I do!
Cherry Almond Fudge from Taste of Home
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup red candied cherries, chopped
1 teaspoon almond extract
Line an 8-in. square pan with foil and grease the foil; set aside. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and milk on high for about 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Stir in the almonds, cherries and extract. Spread into prepared pan. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until set. Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Discard foil; cut fudge into 1-in. squares. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: about 1 pound.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 55 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 9 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein.