Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chocolate and Walnut Fudge! Diet? What Diet? It's the Holidays, Yo!

It's the Holiday Season, ya'll!

Where each week is filled with a flurry of activity, parties and get togethers, running here and there, listening to scads of Christmas music, and endless shopping in search of the perfect gifts.  To say this time of year is busy would be an understatement.

When I'm not namaste-ing my ass off in the morning before work, sitting behind my desk, and vegging out on the couch, I'm wrapping gifts.  I love wrapping presents.  I can't even tell you enough how much I absolutely adore wrapping presents.

I was raised so that any gift under the tree should have a bow.   For Christmas, a wide variety of wrapping paper is always best so that each gift or almost every gift under the tree has a different look.

I love it.  I giving people presents and seeing the look on their faces when they unwrap the gift I specifically and especially chose for them.  There are few things in the world that make me happier.

And since it's the holidays, what gathering or what Christmas season would be complete without fudge?

I normally make Orange Icebox cookies during this season.  They're delicious and I have very fond memories of sitting at my kitchen table with my parents decorating cookies with colorful bright sprinkles.  It's my grandmother's recipe and they are more wonderful than I can even put into words.  Will you be getting the recipe? Not this time.  I've been really busy lately and didn't have the time to make and decorate those.

Instead, I chose to make my mother's tried-and-true fudge recipe for Chris, his coworkers and the awesome team of all-stars that I work with.

Fudge isn't complicated.  It's not difficult, and it isn't crazy time consuming.  It's quite simple, contains few ingredients, and is a magnificent holiday staple you can serve at a pot-luck or put in a pretty tin and give to people.

I'm going to share with you my mom's basic, decadent, and sinfully yummy chocolate walnut fudge.  I know there are a variety of ways to make and approach fudge and like a Southerner's gumbo, people can be very territorial over their fudge recipe.

Chocolate Walnut Fudge
Makes a 9"x13" pan serving 56 1" pieces

1 1/3 c. evaporated milk
1 1/3 c. sugar
3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 c. mini marshmallows
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 T. vanilla
1/3 c. melted white chocolate chips (optional - for garnish)
Coconut Oil Spray (optional - for the garnish)

1. Grease a 9"x13" casserole dish with butter (be generous - grease the bottom as well as the sides and corners)

2. In a large pot over medium-low heat, cook evaporated milk and sugar.  Allow sugar to melt and fully incorporate, simmering for 5 minutes.  Be sure to constantly stir.

3. Remove pot from heat and add chocolate chips, marshmallows, walnuts and vanilla.  Stir until the marshmallows have fully melted and incorporated.
4. Pour mixture into the pre-greased 9"x13" pan and spread evenly.  Allow to cool.

5. For the white chocolate chip garnish, melt chocolate chips in a microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30 seconds until chocolate chips are fully melted.  Spray in coconut oil, a little at a time to get to a pourable/drizzleable consistency.

6. Once your fudge has cooled and your melted white chocolate is to the desired consistency, using a fork or a spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over the chocolate fudge in a pattern you think looks lovely.
7. After fudge has fully cooled (it took mine about a day), slice and try not to eat the whole batch.   Wrapped in Saran Wrap or stored in an air-tight container, these bad boys can stay fresh for a week or two.

I should probably apologize for not having a photo of the individual fudge pieces but they were gone before I could think to snap a quick picture.  Oops. I guess that's what you get for making a really good dish.

I'll be taking a week off from writing while Chris the pup and I visit my family for Christmas.  We're hoping to leave later today to avoid some of the impending snow that the area will be getting. Plus then it's more time for ice fishing and snacking on whatever goodies my mom and dad cooked up for Christmas.   Probably my diet is going to be going to hell but running around on the ice with Roux, playing fetch with her should balance things out....right?