This is an old family recipe that is a spin off of the old Hershey’s fudge recipe that was on the Hershey’s cocoa container years ago. It does differ to the point where I could say the recipe is almost original but the basis was that of the Hershey’s fudge so therefore I am giving credit where credit is due.
Fudge is not simple to make as it is a candy and is tempermental to all climatic conditions. For instance, if you follow this recipe now, in the middle of winter, and it comes out perfect then in July you try it again and it does not come out exactly the same, it is because of the sensitivity to all surrounding conditions, cooking and atmospheric. I thought my mom was just making excuses about humidity, and other climatic variables, when her fudge did not come out but she was perfectly correct. It is the nature of candy and of many baking recipes so please take this into consideration when making this recipe, but I assure you it is well worth the trouble.
It is very important to have your mis en place completely in order before you start this recipe. Though the fudge does have to cook a while, once you are ready the last ingredients go in quickly so you will not have time to run around and collect them. I would also suggest reading this entire recipe thouroughly before starting, so there are no surprises. This will make your experience a lot more fun and less stressful as well.
List of ingredients:
4 cups of sugar
1 ½ cups of 1% milk
½ cup of heavy cream
2/3 cup of cocoa (I generally use the Hershey’s natural unsweetened but in a pinch I have used Nestle’s and the Ghiradelli cocoa and it has come out good)
1 cup of peanut butter (you can use either creamy or crunchy)
1 tbsp butter (salted- a lot of baking and candy recipes call for unsalted butter but I always use the salted variety and as it is a very tempermental recipe I would stay with the salted)
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp of vanilla
1 – 9 x 13 buttered glass baking dish or if you have something comparable as this is just used to set the fudge after it has been cooked.
5 qt stainless steel pot
2 or 3 glasses of ice water
Using a med-high heat add your sugar to pot. Using your wooden spoon smooth out any bumps. Once all lumps and bumps are smooth add your milk and heavy cream. Stir together. Add cocoa, replacing the wooden spoon with whisk. Now you must whisk, whisk, whisk, all of the cocoa until it is completely one with the sugar/cream/milk mix, add pinch of salt and place your thermometer into your pot. Stir occasionally with wooden spoon.
Now this is where it can get tricky…this recipe need to reach 234 degrees…I have had this happen within minutes of my putting the thermometer in…but the fudge is not ready. While you are stirring, lift out your spoon…if the mixture is not completely smooth on the spoon it is not ready (picture in corresponding slideshow). This is where those glasses of ice water come in handy. If the mixture dissapates when dropped into the water, it is not ready. If the thermometer is going off I would pull the mixture off, lower your stove temperature and place it back on. Then keep an eye on the temperature and slowly raise it until you see the temperature on the thermometer gradually rising. Now, if the mixture forms a soft ball in the ice water, that when removed flattens but does not fall apart, you are ready to add the last of the ingredients.
When your thermometer has reached 234 degrees, let the misture remain at this temp for about 30-45 secs, then pull out your thermometer, remove from heat, add vanilla, butter, and peanut butter and stir, stir, stir as quickly as you can. The mixture will start to thicken as you stir. Once all ingredients are completely mixed pour into buttered tray. Place tray on cooling rack. In about an hour your fudge should be ready to cut. Using a sharp knife cut into approx. one inch squares and enjoy.
Please make sure you check out the corresponding slide show.
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