Today I am sooooo excited to have James from "I'm No Chef" grace the pages of my blog with this absolutely amazing fudge recipe. James and I met over on Instagram because of his brilliant photos. And his recipes are just as brilliant. Go find him on his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Your kitchen will be better for it!
Here I bid you adieu, this is probably my last post before Christmas…unless some fancy strikes me. Happy holidays to all of you. Celebrate with gusto!
Christmas is right around the corner and the air is frigid in these parts. Heeding the wind and weather, I wore a hoodie under a down-insulated parka the other day while rockin' my 49ers beanie. Not quite Eskimo, but pretty close. Unfortunately, I forgot my gloves, so my hands were freezing while I was trying to drive.
I absolutely love this time of year, though, even if my car’s heat is on the fritz. Snow covered Pines, white elephant parties, and piping hot chocolate make for good times. But there is one thing that provokes me during the wintry holiday season—more so than flu shot mandates and dry knuckles. It’s more aggravating than burnt gingerbread cookies and oversized lawn ornaments. It starts the moment after Thanksgiving—literally right after—and it lasts through the hanging of new calendars. You know it’s coming, but you can’t stop it. I’m referring to the invasion of the procrastinators, of course. No matter what time of day you go out, there are swarms of people, everywhere, like bees on a half-empty soda can. They’re feisty, and they all want that sweet, sweet commercialized nectar. After all, ‘tis the season to shop, you know.
[Pause for satirical effect]
Fudge is one of those things that I didn’t eat a whole lot of growing up, and I don’t have a particularly good reason for why that is. I don’t even remember what possessed me to make this, but I promise you after you taste this you will feel possessed. Possessed by your primal hankering for smooth, rich chocolate. Possessed by an innate impulse to downplay its decadence, so as to ward off competing chocoholics. You’ll be possessed like an elf in a workshop—because you’ll want to make it again and again.
When I set out to make fudge, I knew it had to hold up at room temperature. That’s how fudge should be, and that’s how traditional fudge is. How else are you going to take it with you to a party to share with all your friends? You were planning on sharing, weren’t you? You don’t want to have to store it in the fridge; it’ll be forgotten. And who’s to say there will even be a fridge where you’re going?
So, make this recipe, share it with those you love or those who accept bribes and be sure to come back and let me know what you think. But before I go, what’s one thing you love about this time of year?
From the cold mountains of East Tennessee,
Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge
1 cup pure maple syrup, grade B
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons unsalted grass-fed butter (or ghee for the casein/lactose free)
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 ounces homemade marshmallows
10 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces whole almonds, roasted and chopped (optional)
Cook’s Note: You can make the marshmallows a couple days ahead of time or reserve 3 ounces — about 1 cup OR about 1/4 of the entire marshmallow recipe — of the marshmallow cream before transferring the rest to a pan. Then start on the fudge. Also, don’t coat the reserved marshmallows with anything, such as starches or coconut flakes.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Arrange the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let them cool off for a few minutes and then coarsely chop the almonds.
3. Lightly grease an 8-inch x 8-inch pan (for smaller cubes) or a 7.5-inch x 4.5-inch loaf pan (for larger cubes like the ones pictured). Line with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang to lift out the fudge after it cools.
4. Attach a candy thermometer to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the maple syrup, coconut milk, butter (preferred) or ghee, and salt and bring the mixture to a full simmer over medium heat, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to combine the ingredients. Continue to cook the mixture, stirring every 5 - 10 minutes to prevent the sugar from burning, until its temperature reaches 240 degrees F (soft ball stage). The more the mixture reduces, the more frequently you’ll need to stir.
Cook’s Note: Make sure your thermometer is submerged enough into the liquid to get an accurate reading. Since there’s not a lot of liquid in the pan to begin with, you’ll want to start keeping a close eye on it after 20 minutes. If necessary, tilt the pan toward the thermometer side so that the tip is fully submerged and the surface of the liquid is closer to the immersion line on your thermometer. Read the temperature for about 20 to 30 seconds to get a good reading and to make sure you haven't gone too far. If it’s not even close to soft ball stage (240 degrees F) or if it starts to drop in temperature, rest the pan back on the burner and continue cooking. Keep checking the temperature every few minutes until you get a steady reading of 240 degrees F. It usually takes me about 30 to 35 minutes of total cooking time to reach 240 degrees F, but how long it takes for you may vary.
5. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Using a clean sturdy spatula or wooden spoon stir in the marshmallows until about half of it is melted. Then stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla until the chocolate is completely melted and the marshmallows are completely incorporated. If using, stir in the chopped almonds.
6. Transfer the mixture into your prepared dish lined with parchment paper and smooth the top with parchment paper or a rubber spatula.
7. Cool completely on a wire rack, at least 4 hours, but overnight would be best. If cooling it overnight, let it cool to room temperature first, then cover with foil.
8. If necessary, run a knife or thin rubber spatula along the edges and corners of the pan to loosen the fudge. Remove the fudge from the pan and set on a flat cutting surface. Using a clean, smooth-edged knife, cut the fudge in to square blocks or other desired shape.
Cook’s Note: For best results, wipe the blade of the knife clean after each cut and only cut the fudge straight down in one continuous motion. Store fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Thank you so much, Jenni, for letting me stop by and hang out for a bit. You’re such an inspiration to me and so many others. Your food, your pictures, your family, and your story will keep us warm this winter and throughout our lives.