We have fudge on our table every year at Christmas time, but we've never really had a go-to family recipe for fudge. I imagine there was one at some point, but once I assumed fudge-making responsibilities, I just couldn't find it. So instead, I'd dig through my mom's recipe box every year looking for a fudge recipe that seemed right, or I'd pull out the Betty Crocker cookbook and see what she had to say.
One year I'd use mini-marshmallows, and the next year, I'd switch to sweetened condensed milk. The fudge was always chocolate, but it ended up with different consistencies each year.
I've been in charge of making the fudge for Christmas since I was 11 or 12, and I think I've finally settled on a recipe I'm happy with.
Although this fudge primarily consists of semisweet chocolate, there are a few ounces of bittersweet chocolate mixed in, which gives the fudge a nice depth. Add walnuts or pecans as desired to give it a little crunch. Or top it with crushed candy canes (when you pull it out of the oven so they don't melt!) to give it that extra holiday feel.
Cut it into small pieces. Because you'll want to eat several. And you will eat several, whether they're large or small.
Rich Chocolate Fudge
2 cups semisweet chocolate
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, covering the sides and bottom for easy removal.
Combine the semisweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in the top half of a double boiler, set over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally until smooth.
Remove the mixture from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and nuts (if using). Spread the fudge evenly into the prepared baking pan. Refrigerate for four hours, or until firm.
When the fudge is cool and firm, cut it into bite-size pieces. Store the fudge in the refrigerator, removing it 30 minutes before serving to allow it to come to room temperature.