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Mama's Fudge

It has come to my attention that I am sharing a lot of Mama's recipes with you. I suppose that is because this is the Holiday Season and cooking and baking is Very Big at my house--as it was at home when I was growing up.

I have to tell you a story about Mama's fudge. (You have escaped my infamous stories --yes-- I know I tend to drag things out by taking the circuitous route to get to any given point. And up until now, I have kept myself from giving the Backstory of many of my posts. Warning: you may not be so fortunate from this point forward...)

So...Mama's Fudge...

For Halloween, Mama made Popcorn Balls. She told us stories of making pulled taffy when she was growing up, but said that was too complicated for her to try. For Thanksgiving, she always made wonderful Pumpkin Pie. And for Christmas, she always made frosted sugar cookies and Fudge. She had the written recipe that was pretty popular in the 1960s. In fact, I believe she copied it off the back of the Carnation Canned Milk. What struck me as odd, even as a 10-year old, was that sometimes her fudge was just amazing and wonderful and delicious, and other times we had to eat it with a spoon. Daddy would tease her to no end when it did not come out right and she shrugged it off as being part of the mystery of cooking. We didn't get sweets very often when I was a kid, and I never remember us caring that much that we had to use a spoon for the fudge. Mama would bemoan the fact that she had intended to give some away as Christmas Treats to the neighbors, but we were all ok with not sharing!

When I was about 42, I copied her recipe down and decided to make fudge for Christmas to pass out to our friends in Christmas Baskets. The very first batch I made, you had to eat with a spoon! Boy, was that upsetting! I went to her house and said, "Mom, did you ever figure out why sometimes your fudge was perfect and sometimes we had to eat it with a spoon?"

"Oh, yes!" she said, "I forgot to tell took me years to realize that the 1 can of canned milk the recipe calls for is the little can. Did you know they make the regular sized can and then also a little can? When you use the big can, the fudge is too soft!" The obvious question was, "Why didn't you just correct the recipe so that you got it right each time?""Oh, I figured I would remember. But from one year to the next, I invariably did not."

So here is the recipe for Mama's Fudge:

3/4 Cup Butter (1 & 1/2 cubes) 1 Jar Marshmallow Fluff

3/4 Cup Canned Milk (1/2 can) 2 Cups Chocolate Chips

3 Cups Sugar 2 Cups Chopped Walnuts (optional)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Befor you begin, gather all your ingredients. Chop the walnuts if you are going to want them. Open the marshmallow fluff. Measure the sugar and chocolate chips into measuring cups. Grease a glass dish.

Using a heavy 2-quart pot, melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the canned milk and sugar and stir well . Stirring often, bring to a rapid boil, turn the heat down and set a timer for 5 minutes. Stir continually. When the timer goes off,

remove the pan from the heat and IMMEDIATELY add the chocolate chips, stir a bit. Then, working quickly, add the vanilla and the marshmallow fluff. Using a strong (wooden) spoon, stir hard and fast to get all the ingredients well mixed.

If you are going to add the nuts, this is where you add them. Stir hard and fast. Do not stop stirring--you do not want this to set up until it is poured into the pan.

It will look nice and glossy. Pour into your greased pan and smooth over the top with a spatula. This should come out of the pot very easily and pour smoothly. This may be a two-man job when you start out, but eventually, you will be able to do this by yourself. I always make 2 batches at a time---one with and one without nuts.

Yumm, Yumm, Yumm!

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