Many years ago, (meaning back before internet) someone in my family brought a gathering of sugary goodies to our Christmas Eve dinner. The tray contained an assortment of divinity, chocolate peanut-butter balls -which go by the name of truffles these days. The tray also featured tiny cubes of chocolate cherry fudge.
Folk don’t make fudge like we used to. I don’t know why . . . we just don’t.
I am uncertain why the memory of this confection came to me last week, but the urge to find a recipe and recreate this candy became my obsession. I searched, googled, and fell back on the good-old-reliable archaic method of recipe mining, a cookbook!
Now there is a reason No Fail Fudge recipes exist, because if you don’t get fudge just right the mixture becomes a gooey mess which must be eaten with a spoon (not that there is anything wrong with that); or, it sets up like cement (definitely something wrong). No fail fudge usually contains marsh-mellow fluff, which is one of the reasons fudge doesn’t taste as delicious as we remember. The recipe I am sharing today doesn’t contain fluff; instead it uses the secret ingredient your grandmother kept stocked as a staple: evaporated milk.
Yesterday my friend Helen and I began a new tradition, we set about making all sorts of yummy cookies and confections to give away. When I expressed my worry about the fudge Helen, whom I have renamed the Cookie Queen, said in her Queenly voice, “there’ll be no failure today.”
She was correct.
With that let me share the steps to what is the easiest, most delicious fudge you will ever make. I’m serious, bring this to family events and you might be crowned the Candy Queen.
Chocolate Cherry Fudge
1/3 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries (well drained. Note: keep them on a paper towel and -gently- squeeze out extra juice)
1 stick of butter
3 and 2/3 cups of powdered sugar
½ Cup Cocoa
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
¼ cup EVAPORATED milk (purchase the tiny can unless you are making a bunch of fudge). Not Sweetened Condensed
1 teaspoon vanilla
Maraschino Cherry halves (well drained, for topping)
Before we begin:
Do not double this recipe. The total prep and baking time is about 15 to 20 minutes, which includes chopping and draining the cherries. Something bad happens when one tries to double a fudge recipe. Please don’t do it.
Lightly butter a glass 8 x 8 pan and set aside.
In a metal pot melt butter on medium-high heat. Once butter has melted add powdered sugar and cocoa. Place whisk in the middle and stir creating a “bowl.” Powdered sugar will be on the side of your pan, but that is fine, create a hole and pour in the milk. (see image).
Stir until powdered sugar lumps are gone and mixture is thick and creamy. (three minutes to five minutes at the most)
Add nuts and stir well.
Remove from heat and fold in cherries.
Transfer mixture to glass pan.
Top with cherries if you desire and place fudge in refrigerator to cool for approximately 30-45 minutes. Slice after fudge cools
Scrape any remaining fudge from pan and eat. (you know you will so I might as well include that as part of the recipe).
Take away comments:
The best part about this fudge is that it is moist. Using maraschino cherries prevents the fudge from drying out. We have all seen fudge that hardens to the consistency of cement. This will not happen with this candy. It is moist and oh-so-delicious.
Do give it a try and let me know how it works for you. Please consider buying my book for more delicious recipes.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches; Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. A Hardscrabble Christmas. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com. She welcomes new friends on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter Here.