Note: I started this blog on a whim, not really having any idea how to do it, where it would go, or what I would write about (or if anyone would read it). I didn’t expect to enjoy it quite so much. I thought of it as an exercise that might be good for me or allow a larger conversation to begin about what might be next on my life agenda after having these babes… As the year comes to a close, I am enjoying thinking about how this blog is evolving. The blog has allowed me to ponder thoughts and memories out loud. Hopefully these meanderings have an element of universality so that on occasion they hit a chord with you and allow you a moment of introspection as well. Anyway, that is my hope…
My grandmother made Christmas lovely. As I have mentioned in a previous post, the women of my family have an attention to detail and a love of beautiful things. Being of German descent, Christmas Eve was the big deal on her side of the family and my sister and I always looked forward to the Christmas Eve celebration at her home. Her table was set just so, in the same familiar way each year, with china and silver and little wooden snowmen. As is custom in the German tradition, presents are opened on Christmas Eve, so that, too, was exciting to us. We could barely contain ourselves as we sat through a traditionally long dinner; instead salivating over the presents we knew were waiting for us. Part of what my grandmother clearly understood was the ability to truly think of the individual when giving a gift. We knew that we would love whatever she had picked out and felt her love, through her recognition of our individuality. The gifts of the past are a happy blur, but the love I felt when looking at a package she had carefully wrapped stays with me.
One of the gifts I remember that she gave year after year was a gift to my father, a notoriously difficult one to purchase for. Instead of trying to find one more “thing” he wanted or needed she made him fudge. Each year he would open the tin and find individually wrapped pieces of her Christmas Fudge and immediately dive in. I believe he loved it – both the gesture and the fudge recipe itself. I few months back I referenced my grandmother’s book of recipes that have been in my possession since she passed. Her Christmas Fudge is one of the recipes that was inside. I tried it for the first time this year and my father will be receiving it for Christmas. I hope I do the memory justice.
(taken from my grandmother’s handwritten recipe)
3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups Parkay margerine (I used butter)
2/3 cups (5 1/3 oz can) Carnation evaporated milk
1 – 12 oz package semi sweet chocolate bits
1 – 7 oz jar Kraft marshmallow creme
More than 1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (1/2 of a 6 oz jar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine sugar, margerine & milk; bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.
Keep lid on as much as possible to prevent graininess. Boil 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly (mixture burns easily).
Remove from heat; stir in chocolate bits until melted. Add marshmallow creme, peanut butter, nuts, and vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour into a greased 13″x9″ pan. Cool. Cut in squares. To store, wrap pieces separately in Saran & put in a cookie tin.
This was my first go around with any kind of fudge and found it to be quite easy! I’m sure there are a million and one variations that one can do depending on your tastes. This particular recipe has a nice chocolate flavor with a twist of peanut butter and a certain mellowness that I believe comes from the marshmallow creme. I literally laughed out loud when I looked over this recipe, as the family tradition of quoting the necessity of marshmallow creme for random recipes (that definitely do not call for it) has been a long standing joke in the family. This is the first recipe from the family that I have ever seen that actually does call for it!