Saturday, February 8, 2014

Joining the February Kitchen Challenge

I’ve never been one to participate in a lot of challenges that are offered by various blogs throughout the internet. However, I came across the February Kitchen Challenge sponsored by the culinary adventures of Lindsay and Taylor at LOVE & OLIVE OIL last month and couldn’t resist the urge to give it a try.

kitchenchallengeThe February challenge pertains to Old-Fashioned Fudge, so what’s not to love? According to the post, the challenge is to make old-fashioned fudge - the kind you would find in quaint little country stores. For the challenge you can’t use marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar or sweetened condensed milk in your recipe. For the complete instructions, visit the February Kitchen Challenge post.

The post listed a number of resources and recipes. One of the links was for the Hershey’s cocoa fudge recipe. Looking over it, I realized it was very similar to the recipe my Mother-in-law has. The ingredients are the same, she had just changed the amount of each ingredient and prepares it differently.

The challenge is to make a batch of old-fashioned fudge by Friday, Feb. 28, and then send a photo of the results to LOVE & OLIVE OIL. The results will be featured in a roundup the following week after the challenge ends.

Since everyone in the family loves fudge, I thought this would be a fun challenge to participate in. If I had to make several batches to get one that looks right, well I guess that’s the price you have to pay. Smile  I was lucky/unlucky, my first batch turned out like I wanted it to.

Here’s the recipe I used:

4 tablespoons cocoa (we use heaping tablespoons)
2 cups sugar
½ cup milk
1 stick butter (room temperature)
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

Now my Mother-in-law has never been one to write down a recipe completely. She may put down the ingredients, but not the amount. She may include the ingredients and amounts, but not the instructions on how to prepare the ingredients. This was the case with the card that I found for her fudge recipe. Fortunately I had made fudge with her maPiece of Old-Fashioned Fudgeny times before the Alzheimer’s took away her memory and have made it on my own many times since. Here’s the way I prepare the fudge.

Start by lightly buttering a platter. Combine the sugar, cocoa and salt and then add the milk. Mix well, add the butter and place on medium high heat. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and the mixture comes to a rolling boil. Turn heat down slightly, continue to stir occasionally and let the mixture boil for about 5 minutes. After the mixture has boiled for about 4 ½ minutes, check to see if the mixture forms a hard ball in a glass of cold water. If it does, remove the pan from heat and add the vanilla flavoring. If it doesn’t form a hard ball, continuing cooking and checking until it does. 

If you’ve never tested by using the hard ball method, what it means is you put about two inches of cold water in a glass and let a drop of the fudge mixture drip into the water. If it’s the right consistency, it will form a ball. If it’s not ready, it will splatter out or be stringy. Pour the water out, get more and try again.
Once you’ve added the vanilla, you begin stirring or beating the mixture until it loses its glossy shine. When it does, pour the mixture out onto the patter and cut into square once it sets. 

Old-Fashioned Fudge This is where the fun/hard part comes in. There’s no way to say actually how long you have to beat the mixture before it’s ready to turn out. It’s just a trial and error process and also has a lot to do with the weather. The more you make it, the better you can determine when it’s time to pour the fudge out. If you pour it out too soon, it’s just runny and sticky. If you wait too long, it will turn so hard you’ll have to chip it out of the pan.

This is my attempt at the challenge. How about you? Are you up to the challenge? Do you have a favorite family recipe for fudge? Remember, no marshmallow fluff, powdered sugar or sweetened condensed milk. What about family secrets on how to make it turn out just right? I’ve read that you shouldn’t use a wooden spoon, have you heard that before?

If you decide to join the challenge and post about it, be sure to stop back by and leave the link to your post so we all can see your results.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Hope this crazy winter weather is treating you well. A big platter of creamy, homemade old-fashioned fudge and a glass of milk (or a cup of steaming coffee) sounds like a yummy treat to have handy as you curl up with a good book on these cold winter days.

Platter of Old-Fashioned Fudge


  1. Mason - Oh, that looks absolutely delicious! I'm quite impressed! And I know what you mean by needing to follow a recipe a few times to get it right; I've done that too. But still...yum!

  2. family loves my marshmallow fluff fudge.

    Yours does look great, though.

  3. Mason! This is so cool! My sister and I were talking just the other day about our mother's long lost fudge recipe, wishing we could find it. This is it! This is the recipe! I remember Mom making it a few times when I was a little kid, and I thought it was the best stuff in the world. No fudge since has ever measured up. I probably haven't had it for fifty years. I can't wait to make it. Hooray!

    1. Molly, I hope you enjoy the recipe. Let me know how yours turns out.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.