Thursday, December 19, 2013

Year-End Accounting

When the end of the year rolls around, many folks look to balancing their accounts, making sure pennies and receipts are all accounted for.  We do something similar, but with our marshmallows and chocolate.  If we didn't use them up eating S'mores in the summer, we make a big batch of Christmas fudge with the leftovers.  (Ok, sometimes we get marshmallows and chocolate just for making fudge, but we use up the leftover ones first.)

It took a little digging to find a recipe that didn't call for marshmallow fluff or corn syrup, but we found what we were looking for in Lori's Best Ever Fudge.  (Thank you, Lori, whoever you are!)  We've made several variations over the years, with many different kinds and combinations of chocolate and sugars.  It's a pretty robust recipe, as long as we respect two factors: first, don't cut down on the sugar or it won't set up right, and second, the flavor is much better if a variety of chocolate types are used (i.e., don't use just milk chocolate).  We've made a couple variations to the process, too, so we decided to document our first batch this year.

All it needs is six simple ingredients.  Butter, sugar, marshmallows, milk, vanilla, and chocolate.  Hard to go wrong with that combination!
Add the butter, milk, and sugar to a big pot and start it heating.  The sugar can be brown, white, or anything in between.  (We wait to add the vanilla until later.)  In the meantime, grease a cookie sheet (11" x 16" or thereabouts) and count out 25 marshmallows.
If you greased the cookie sheet first, tearing the marshmallows into quarters will be less sticky.  If not, you can challenge Katie to a thumb war afterwards.
When the milk, sugar, and butter have heated up and been boiling for 2 minutes, add the quartered marshmallows.  We don't remove the pot from the heat at this point since it cools down too quickly and we want all the marshmallows to melt.
Almost there!
When the marshmallows are all melted away into the mixture, turn off the stove and add a heaping 4 cups of whatever chocolate you've got on hand--chocolate chips, old M&Ms, discount chocolate chunks from the Amish grocery store--just make sure you've got about half that is semisweet or unsweetened.
Stir until the chocolate meets the same fate as the marshmallows.  There might be a few bubbles, but that's ok.  Add the vanilla extract now.
Pour the whole shebang into the greased cookie sheet.  Make sure to scrape the pot out with a spatula.
Put it in the fridge overnight or until it sets up nice and hard.  The background isn't overexposed in this photo; that's just what heaven looks like.

The recipe:
1 stick butter
1 cup milk
2 cups sugar
25 marshmallows, quartered
4 cups chocolate, about half semisweet or dark, and half milk chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heat butter, sugar, and milk together until boiling, boil for 2 minutes or so, then add marshmallows.  Stir until marshmallows are melted, then turn off stove and add chocolate.  Stir until chocolate is melted, then add vanilla extract, mix well, and pour into greased 11" x 16" cookie sheet.  Chill several hours, or until fudge is firm.  Cut into 1" squares if other people are around, into 3" squares if not.

What is your favorite fudge recipe?  What ratio of chocolate types do you like?  Let us know in the comments section below!

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