Friday, August 10, 2012

Grandma Charlotte's Fudge

Chocolate. Is there any word in the English Language (apart from beer, which incidentally goes fantastic with Chocolate) that cultivates such heartfelt love? I'm happily married to a wonderful guy I love, but I gotta tell you chocolate stirs a passionate feeling so deep it might just trump my nuptials. 

That being said, yesterday I was craving chocolate and was sorely lacking in supply. Of course my first contact was to Jen to help me out. She pulled through. Sort of... See her solution was to whip up some Grandma Charlotte (her's, not mine) Fudge. Now I'm not exactly a fudge making pro. Just to make it a big more interesting, she sends me the directions via a series of Text Messages! 

Here's what I got: 


Helpful right? 

So here's the translated ingredient list: 

1 1/4 cup sugar
2 3/4 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract (this was my addition because I LOVE it)
1/4 plus 1 tbsp milk 
1 cup peanut butter

The Cast
These ingredients probably need tweeked a little. The taste is amazing but it's a little crumbly to work with and Jeff likes gooey fudge. 
Here goes nothin'!

My favorite cook wear is All Clad. I love it. Can't explain it, just do. 

Sift the sugar and cocoa together into about a 6 inch pot. You can use smaller if you like but the more room it has to spread out (without being too thin) the better it will kind of carmelize. Add milk and stir well.  

Cold, Wet, and Sweet - There's got to be a joke there.
Add vanilla. 
I call this "Honeymoon Vanilla".
We bought it at a market somewhere in Mexico.
 Turn the heat on to a medium low. Let the mixture kind of warm up and start to get glossy. Keep on stirring. Think Nemo... 

Concoction Starting to Glaze
At this point, risk of burning is pretty low. So while it heats I recommend finding a dish and lining it with plastic wrap. I know, I know. Deviation from Grandma. But I hate dishes.  Grandma would still be proud. 

Wrap it Up.... 
 Here is about half way done. You can see some of the grainy-ness of the sugar on the spatula. Keep on stirring... 

At about 3/4 of the way through you'll be able to swipe the pan and the mix will hold consistency for a few seconds. 

 Tilt the pot. If it still looks grainy and lump, keep on stirring. I played with my heat a bit here. Up a little to get the sugar to melt more. Not too high though, it's easy to burn. Burning sugar tastes like dirt... Well, sort of. First it tastes like caramel, then like dirt really quickly. Someone should talk to sugar... 

Grainy like a 90's camera phone.  
When it really starts to come together (this is about 8 minutes in) you'll get a little separation of cocoa and milk fat from the carmely sugary sauce. Keep stirring. I stopped for a second to show this but ideally you keep it all combined. 

I see swirls. 
 You're shooting for around 200 - 225* F. Keeping it there on a medium heat melts the sugar crystals without burning anything. I found this awesome candy thermometer at an estate sale for $1. If you don't have one, no worries. 

Between 200 and 225 it gets this nice black glossy look. You can read your fortune, or maybe just keep stirring and make fudge. Your call. 

Shiny! Squirrel! 
I turned off the heat and removed the pot from the burner just to cool a touch. It was really just because I needed 2 hands to prep my KitchenAid Mixer and Mom didn't have quite enough radiation to produce that third arm. 

Glass bowl, whisk attachment. 
I would show here putting in the peanut butter but again, no third arm. So here are a series of shots of the mixer combining everything. Put in the peanut butter first, start the mixer, than pour in the sugar/cocoa mix. 

PB in the center, whipping out. 

Whip it, whip it good now. 

It fully incorporates and looks like Oreo Crumbs. At least mine did.

Me Want Cookie!

 Dump contents of mixer bowl into the lined dish. 

Fold over plastic wrap. 

I used a smaller bread pan to smash everything down tight and into the lined pan. You could use fingers if you want. This was quick and easy. 

Flipped the now-fudge out onto the marble counters, keep the plastic wrap on. 

Practice Safe Rolling. Prevent dirty counters. 
 Using a rolling pin, I smashed it out a little thinner. 

Purely Illustration. 

About as thick as a pen. 
 Get ready for my favorite part! I brewed up a cup of Brooklyn coffee and enjoy! 

Three of my favorite things! 

So here's to you Grandma Charlotte. And a big thank you to Jen for making my morning a little better! 


  1. I like your take on my cryptic recipe :) I forgot that my mom always added a dash of vanilla too. The peanut butter does make it a bit crumbly, but it is supposed to be that way. If Jeff wants gooey fudge, he can go get some marshmallow fudge (which I HATE with a passion, by the way)... I very much prefer my peanut butter fudge... I will have to post the actual recipe with steps (and maybe have Aaron video tape it, since most of it relies on it "looking right") We'll have dueling recipes!

  2. With the way it tastes, it could look like something found in my back yard after the dogs have spent awhile out there and I'd probably still eat it. OMG it's so good it's evil!