Thursday, December 8, 2011

Grandpa Leavitt's Fudge

It is not Christmas without Grandpa Leavitt's Fudge!  Now, I've never eaten any of this fudge actually made by my Grandpa Leavitt...he died when I was four.  But that is what the recipe calls it and now, I suppose it has become "Grandpa Leavitt's fudge" to a new generation because my dad always makes it.

For as many years as I can remember, there has been trays of this fudge out in the garage...often with a butter knife kept at the ready for anyone who wanted to carve out a piece.  (I am certainly not that accommodating to my children!  The fudge in my fridge at this moment is covered in Saran Wrap with big writing on it : Do Not Touch!! ; )

And I must be honest:  my dad says that my grandfather would turn over in his grave if he knew how I was "adulterating" the fudge recipe.  Yep, that's a quote!  ; )

For years now, I have been making my own version:  MINT FUDGE!  I love it and it is often the #1 reason I MUST make it to the gym during the holiday season! ;)  At the present moment it is calling to me from the back of my refrigerator.  And this year, I am trying a new tactic.  I am thinking that if I only SHAVE off strips (usually just to make sure the line is straight), that there are only negligible calories being consumed...right??  ; )

This is one of those recipes that DEFINES what a certain thing is SUPPOSED to taste like.  Another example in my life: cheesecake.  I grew up with a true New York baked cheesecake I have no use for any of those fake ones that don't have eggs, sour cream, and just set up in the fridge.

This fudge is thick and oh so creamy!  Did I mention that it is VERY CREAMY??  This has become the defining factor for me of what fudge SHOULD BE!  I am not one bit interested in eating the fudge recipes (they seem to be everywhere!) that end up being gritty and sugary.  Yuck.  In my opinion, those aren't even worth their calories!!

Now, this fudge, I worth its calories!!!  And to be honest, I'm sure there's plenty of them....   here's the ingredients...

3 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt

3--12 oz. packages chocolate chips (I use 2 semi- and 1 mint) (my dad uses 1/2 milk, 1/2 semi-sweet)

3 tsp. vanilla
3-4 cups walnuts (if desired)

Bring first four ingredients to a full boil using medium heat.  It will take a little while...just keep on stirring!  Once it is boiling, set a timer for 5 minutes and stir, stir, stir!  Add 1 lb. marshmallows (I happened to have mini ones, but any size works.)  And stir until combined.  Remove from heat.

I completely forgot to take pictures of the beginning process.  I actually just grabbed by camera to take a picture of my little helpers.

Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted and starts to set.  My kids LOVE this part...when the mixture goes from a creamy marshmallow-y look to marbled and then do dark brown.

You should stir until the mixture is all uniform (no swirls left) and it is getting quite thick. (Like the picture above.)  Stir in the vanilla and nuts (if desired).

I don't do nuts with my mint variety and when I did add nuts, I don't think I ever used the full amount called for.

Grease a pan with butter.  You can use a cookie sheet for thin fudge or a 9X13 for really thick fudge.  This year I think it turned out the perfect thickness and I used a 9X13 and an 8X8.  Just decide how thick you want it!
I like to put swirls back and forth on top of my fudge...but do it quickly, because as it cools, it will become impossible to have the top be smooth as you go back and forth.

I made up a few to give to neighbors.  Since I didn't have any Christmas plates, I just decorated our plain styrofoam bowls and aluminum foil!

 Try it!!  I know you'll like it! ; )

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