Fudge is the candy that reminds me of childhood. It was always a treat. We would buy little bags containing 3 or 4 pieces for ten or fifteen cents at church bake sales or socials and nibble away at the delicious candy, sometimes for days, until it was gone. Dad would occasionally make a batch of fudge when we were little girls. I don't ever remember him making chocolate fudge, though. What sticks out in my memory is a vanilla coconut fudge that Mom really liked and a strawberry fudge where he added strawberry jam to give it the pink colour and little chunks of candied strawberries. They were both delicious but sadly, to my regret, lost when my father died. I've never tried to replicate what he made but have made a few batches of chocolate fudge in my time.
Fudge can be quite tricky to make without a candy thermometer, especially if one makes it only occasionally. The sugar, milk and butter have to be boiled to the soft ball stage which is 235 degrees F. If you don't have that thermometer it's anyone's guess what a soft ball of fudge actually looks and feels like. Boiled a little too long the fudge becomes hard and sugary. Not boiled long enough the fudge will never set up (although it make a good chocolate syrup over ice cream). And then if you do happen to get it right you have to let it cool a little and then beat the daylights out of the mixture until it become creamy and smooth and then you have to quickly get it in the pan before it solidifies. Only then will you get your fudge. Ha, ha. That seems quite the process but it actually isn't that bad after you've mastered the art of fudge making. Your family and friends won't mind eating your failures and they'll definitly love the successes.
Of course, you can always cheat a little when it comes to fudge and make this lovely, creamy condensed milk fudge. Technically, for a purist, it isn't real fudge but your taste buds probably won't mind. It's somewhat softer than real fudge but still holds its shape without refrigeration (unless you live with a heat demon). It does get firmer the longer it sets. And it's so quick and easy to make with only two main ingredients and two or three more for interest and flavour. You may even have all the ingredients in your pantry right now.
Sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips form the base for this fudge. You can even use any flavour of chips for variety. I used chocolate and peanut butter chips but butterscotch, mint chocolate, milk chocolate, white or any of the special flavours that may be found around the holidays can be used. The longest part to this recipe is waiting for the chips and condensed milk to melt together and then it's stir, mix in additions and put in pan. Of course, you have to wait for the fudge to set but it's ready to cut and eat in a couple of hours (unless you put it out on your back deck on a freezing cold day).
The original recipe for Magic French Fudge is from the little recipe booklet "They'll Love It! Easy Taste Treats with Sweetened Condensed Milk". It's ages old, probably from the 1970s, but many of the recipes are still on the Eagle Brand Borden website. This actual recipe is there in a somewhat updated version but the ingredients are exactly the same.
The recipe is the middle one on the left hand page.
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (any flavour may be used, as well)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14oz or 300ml or 1¼ cups)
1½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chopped nuts, optional (I used walnuts)
Grease an 8x8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper or aluminium foil. Let the ends of the paper hang over the edge. Grease the paper or foil.
Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and salt together over low heat. Stir occasionally.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla and nuts if using. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Let set in a cool place for 2 or 3 hours. For easy cutting, remove fudge from pan by lifting out using the overhaning paper or foil. Cut into squares and serve. Store remaining fudge in tightly covered container.
Makes 25-36 pieces.
Prepare an 8x8-inch square pan by greasing and lining with parchment paper or foil. Grease the paper or foil and let the ends hang over the edge of the pan.
Melt the chips with the sweetened condensed milk using a double boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, use a heat proof bowl over a pot of water. Stir the chips occasionally until melted. On the left: semi-sweet chocolate chips. On the right: peanut butter chips.
The mixture should be creamy and smooth once the chips have melted. Add the vanilla extract once the mixture has melted together.
Stir in the nuts if using.
I made half a recipe of peanut butter fudge using the peanut butter chips. I spread the fudge in a loaf pan and decided to swirl a little of the chocolate fudge over half the mixture.
After the fudge has set for several hours in a cool place cut and serve or store in an air-tight container.
To cut the fudge neatly, lift the whole piece from the pan using the paper or foil as lifting handles. You may cut the fudge in 25 or 36 pieces.
Homemade fudge is a welcome addition to any party dessert table.
Creamy Magic French Fudge is a special treat for a special occasion!