Last February, on the only day that we got more then a mere dusting of snow in Pittsburgh, we celebrated my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary. As in, 6-0. Sixty. Not 50, which is a feat in and of itself. SIXTY.
We made a day of it, starting with a big family lunch at a restaurant, then an early evening Mass with a special blessing, and finally back to my grandparents’ house for more food, cake, sweets and reminiscing. In between looking through old photo albums, I wandered over to the desserts table and filled my plate a little bit of everything. The one thing that stood out, though, was the fudge. Rich, creamy, chocolatey, and spiked with peanut butter. It was the stuff of dreams. When I asked my grandma about it, she said that it was her neighbor’s recipe, but that she had already left and that she would get me the recipe. It may have taken eight months, but the recipe finally made its way to me, and I wasted no time making my own batch. I swear, your life won’t be complete until you have this fudge!
With the holidays coming up, this would certainly be something fabulous to add to your baking list. It would make any Christmas cookie tray sparkle! Putting the pieces of fudge in individual mini papers or candy wrappers is always a nice presentation if you’ll be packaging it up to take somewhere. Just be prepared for the clamoring that will ensue, and be prepared to act as a mediator when it comes to doling out the last piece!
I’m not sure if spectacular homemade fudge is the key to staying married for sixty years, but it would certainly be worth a try, right?!
A recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge from my grandma.
2½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 cup evaporated milk (from a can)
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
½ cup unsalted butter, divided
½ cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Butter an 8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper, using enough so that there is some overhang on the edges.
2. Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, evaporated milk and corn syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and stir until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then cover and boil for 3 minutes.
4. Remove the lid and continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 234 degrees F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage). Remove from the heat and, without stirring, add the remaining butter, peanut butter and vanilla. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
5. Using a wooden spoon, beat the fudge vigorously until it thickens and begins to lose its gloss (can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes). You can also transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) and beat it on medium speed, being careful to only mix until it thickens and loses its gloss. Do not overmix.
6. Immediately pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Allow the fudge to come to room temperature, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill it until set. Lift the fudge out of the pan and cut into 1-inch squares. The fudge can be stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator.