American culinary folklore says that fudge was invented in the United States over 100 years ago. Most stories claim that the first batch resulted from a "fudged" batch of caramels made in 1886--hence the name "fudge." At this time, it sold for about 40 cents per pound.
Apparently, Americans still love there fudge. On Mackinac Island in northern Michigan, fudge is the primary industry and about 10,000 pounds of the confection are sold every day! Tourists are actually referred to as "fudgies" (no, I am not making this up) and they hold a Fudge Festival every August. Fudge is also know for its healing properties and its ability to cure sore throats. I mean, that's why I eat it--isn't that why you eat it??
This recipe was actually adapted from President Eisenhower's wife Mamie's recipe for her famous "Million Dollar Fudge", which was reproduced by housewives all over the nation after it was printed in several publications. I like to use this as my standard fudge recipe because, unlike most recipes, it does not require the use of a candy thermometer and it results in perfect fudge every time. Box a few pieces of this up or put it in a decorative holiday bag and you have a perfect homemade holiday gift! Here are some tips for this recipe:
- The fudge will keep for up to 10 days, covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- This recipe allows for some improvisation as far as flavoring and ingredients for the fudge. Instead of pecans, try substituting walnuts, almonds or macadamia nuts. Add some dried cranberries or sour cherries or some shredded coconut. When you add the chocolate, you can opt to add some peppermint extract and then sprinkle some crushed peppermint candies on top of the fudge as it sets.
- If you don't have the German's chocolate, try combining a mix of semisweet and dark chocolates or semisweet and milk chocolates. Using more than one type of chocolate results in a more complex flavor.
Rich Chocolate-Pecan Fudge
Makes one 9X13 pan
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large can evaporated milk
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
12 ounces German's sweet chocolate, chopped
1 pint marshmallow cream
2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)
Prepare a 9X13 inch pan by lining it with buttered foil or parchment paper; set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar, butter, salt, and evaporated milk over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil for 6 minutes. Combine the chocolates, marshmallow cream, and nuts together in a large heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling syrup over the ingredients. Beat until the chocolate is all melted, and then pour into the prepared pan. Let stand for at least 3 hours before cutting.