The election is over, thank goodness, and now we can go back to real life. The real life of cleaning, cooking, walking the dog, getting ready for Christmas.....
Oops! Did I mention it's time to get ready for Christmas? Yep. I'm not a last-minute kind of gal when it comes to Christmas. Can't be, with a family that is the size of ours! Plus, I really enjoy the Christmas season. Not the commercial stuff, but the real meaning of it (i.e. We are loved so much by God that He was born into this messy world of ours!) And I love the memories, the tree, the food, the family gatherings, going to church on Christmas Eve, having some time off that week to play, listening to the music (it's already playing on my MP3 player!), the food (oh, did I already say that?).
This year I'm intending to make fudge. I don't do it every year because I often run out of time. But this year it's on my list, and now that I have a proper kitchen to play in, I think it will get done. Plus it's one of the few sweet treats I make that Tim can eat without getting sick.
My mother made fudge EVERY year at Christmas. Tied up with a pretty ribbon, it made (and still makes) a good gift for neighbors and friends, for one thing. My brother and I absolutely loved it and would cram down as much as we could get our hands on! I have vivid memories of Mom reminding us (rather forcibly) to refrain from eating the entire contents of the crystal candy dish within minutes of her setting it out. Vain hope! I'm pretty sure we got in trouble quite a bit over that.
Mom's recipe called for cooking the mixture and using marshmallow fluff -- a really messy experience. My recipe uses melted chocolate, but doesn't require cooking and doesn't include marshmallow in any form -- and I prefer the taste and texture of this recipe. (Plus, you can add a drop or two of peppermint flavoring to the batch and get 'chocolate-mint' fudge in a jiffy!).
Here's my basic recipe:
1 14-oz. can of sweetened, condensed milk
1 12-oz. pkg. of semi-sweet chocolate bits (or milk chocolate bits, if you prefer)
1.5 (yes, that's "1 and 1/2") squares of bitter baking chocolate
Melt all the chocolate together. Add the condensed milk. Beat until smooth (this is the step where you'd add a drop or two of flavoring, if you wish). If you want to add 1/2 c. chopped nuts, stir them in after you've beaten the fudge.
Pour into a buttered 9" square pan. Cool completely and cut into small squares.