every christmas my grandma had a small glass covered dish of homemade fudge sitting on the bookshelf in her living room. each of us kids after dinner & all the hub of christmas was winding down - while watching a christmas story or some other christmas special - would sneak pieces of fudge until it was gone. the rest of us mad at the one who dared to take the last piece. that's how i remember it.
i had almost forgotten about that fudge until last week.
when my grandmother died nearly five years ago, my dad snatched up her cookbook before it went to the garage sale pile. it isn't fancy - a simple five section notebook, the majority of the recipes hand written, some named after people i don't know, others clipped from newspapers and magazines or printed from an email in the late 1990s - but one section was gold. i flipped to the "cookies" section and read through my christmas favorites covered in oil splatters and dried pieces of cookie dough. it wasn't until a couple nights later when i hit the "candy" section and realized i had forgotten about the fudge.
i haven't been able to bring myself to make one of her cookies. not yet. and it seems unfair to do it on my own, without the rest of the kids. but the fudge? fudge, i could tackle.
adapted from my grandmother's hand written recipe
10 minutes + cooling time, makes about 1 pound
this fudge comes out pretty thin - about a quarter of an inch. i suggest doubling it if you're feeding a small crowd or like a thicker piece. quadruple the recipe and pour into a 9" by 9" or 8" by 8" square pan to cool.
1 package cook & serve pudding, any flavor - i made batches of chocolate & butterscotch
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
- line a 4" by 8" pan with parchment paper. set aside.
- melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. add the milk and the pudding and whisk until smooth. turn up the heat slightly, continue whisking constantly, and bring the mixture to a very low boil. boil, whisking constantly for one minute. the mixture will be very thick and if you stop whisking it, will burn. make sure you cook it a full minute, otherwise your fudge will be a bit runny, like hot fudge, and you won't be able to cut it.
- take the pan off the heat and whisk in the sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. if you mixture looks lumpy from adding the sugar, beat it hard with a whisk or electric mixer to get the lumps out. it may take a couple minutes, but it works.
- pour into the prepared pan and chill for a few hours until set. cut into pieces and serve.