When I was in grade school I made candy with some of my friends. I had invited them to a party and my mother thought pulling taffy would be a fun activity for us. She assembled the ingredients, heated the mixture, and let the giggling girls know when it was ready to pull. In my mind I can still see the long strand of taffy getting longer -- far longer than I thought it would.
This is the only time we made candy at our house. Today, many of my friends make candy to go on cookie trays or to share at cookie exchanges. Fudge seems to be the most popular recipe. Making candy is fun, but I didn't want to invest in a candy thermometer, heavy saucepan, or a marble slab. Easy and quick were my cooking goals.
You can't go wrong with a recipe that begins with chocolate chips. The chips may be melted in a double boiler or the microwave. However, you need a good microwave, not the cheapest brand like mine. My past attempts to melt chocolate chips in the microwave were unsuccessful and that's why I use a double boiler.
Use semi-sweet chocolate or butterscotch for this recipe. According to "Candy Making Tips," an article on the All Recipes website, it's best to make candy on a dry day. If it's humid or raining, the cooking time for candy can increase. Indeed, your candy may never set at all. "Sugar attracts water," the article explains, "so the humidity can adversely affect your recipe."
The combination of sweet and salty is a popular food trend and this recipe fits it well. To emphasize the trend, sprinkle the top of the fudge with a little Kosher salt. For the holidays, replace salt with multi-colored cookie sprinkles. Package fudge in air-tight cookie tins for gift giving.
Two 12-ounce packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter or shortening
3 cups miniature marshmallows
2 cups salted peanuts
Line a 13" x 9" baking pan with release foil.
Melt chocolate chips and butter in a large heat-proof bowl over a pan of hot, not boiling, water.
Stir the chocolate every few minutes. Take the bowl off the pan.
Gently stir in marshmallows and peanuts. Pour the fudge into the prepared pan. (The marshmallows will not be melted.)
Spread out evenly, cover and refrigerate for at least three hours to set. Let the fudge come to room temperature before slicing into small squares. Makes about 120 pieces of fudge.
Copyright 2013 by Harriet Hodgson
Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 36+ years and is the author of 33 published books. Her latest releases are "Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss" and "Help! I'm Raising My Grandkids," available from Amazon.
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