Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Fudge- Guest Post!

Here is Cooking with Addy's first guest blogger!  Terra Lenihan is my great friend and mother to two of Addy and Elena's best friends.  Her fudge is awesome!
Christmas Fudge
Every Christmastime, one of my favorite traditions is making my mom’s famous Mexican fudge. My list of friends and family who receive our fudge each year has grown, and many people have already been asking, “Are you making your fudge this year?!” With our two boys in elementary school, our list of teacher recipients has grown, too.
Making Mexican fudge is a labor of love, requiring lots of chocolate, slow stirring and patience. In my kitchen all evening yesterday, I slowly stirred the chocolate in with the thick sweetened condensed milk, coffee (instant coffee so it dissolves nicely into the chocolate), cinnamon, and vanilla. For about 30-40 minutes on the double boiler, I stirred and stirred, watching the ingredients melt together, until finally forming a hot, oily, chocolaty mixture. After sending pictures to my mom of the process last night, I learned that she was creating the same recipe in her own California kitchen!
Melting the ingredients for the Mexican Fudge.
Liam, our first grader, is studying the rainforest and Mexico in school, so it was fun to discover that nearly all of the ingredients for Mexican fudge come right from the rainforest. We toured the tropical conservatory at the Denver Botanic Gardens last week with his class, and saw and touched cacao trees, cinnamon bark, a coffee plant, and even the distinctive orchid that creates our baking essential, vanilla bean.
Liam and classmates look up at a cacao tree at the Tropical Conservatory at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
With all of the kids in our life these days, I decided to try out a new fudge this year as well, since the flavor of the Mexican fudge is strong and, well, because I don’t want to caffeinate all of the kids. I am calling this one Pooh-bear fudge. The ingredients are simple: chocolate (I used semi-sweet but milk would work as well), peanut butter, and honey. Liam sampled the fudge this morning after it hardened overnight, and called it delicious. Keenan liked that you could really taste the peanut butter.
With both of these recipes, nuts could be added. I didn’t have any on hand this year, so I left them out, but often times I will add chopped pecans or walnuts to the Mexican fudge. Enjoy, and let us know if you try these or make any good modifications.
(Julia, I need to go on a run today since naturally I had to sample all this fudge this morning!)
Mexican Fudge
18 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 T instant coffee
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t vanilla
½ c chopped nuts (optional)
In a heavy saucepan or double boiler, under low heat, melt the chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk, coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, stir constantly. Remove from heat. Spread evenly onto a wax paper-lined pan. Chill for 2-3 hours, or until firm. Turn fudge onto a cutting board, and cut into squares. Store loosely covered at room temperature. Makes about 1-¾ pounds.
Pooh-bear Fudge
18 oz semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 c creamy peanut butter
3/4 c honey
In a heavy saucepan or double boiler, under low heat, melt ingredients together, stirring constantly. Spread evenly into a wax paper-lined pan, and chill until firm. May also be chilled in the refrigerator. Turn fudge onto a cutting board, and cut into squares. Store loosely at room temperature. Enjoy!

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