As I get older, I become increasingly more aware that life is simply too short. I constantly remind myself to live in the present and soak up as much time with loved ones as sanely possible. To say I’ve learned a lot from the people in my life would be a huge understatement, but I realize that their wisdom will never be passed on if it doesn’t start with me. And what a better time than now to share with all of you!
My grandmother has been making homemade fudge for every holiday, every special occasion, and for no reason at all for as long as I can remember. Many of us are quite lucky to be able to enjoy a variety of flavors of the confectionary year round and I’m sure many of you Michiganders have your favorite Mackinac Island hot spot, but I promise you, Grandma’s Fantasy Fudge is hands down the best of the best. It’s simple and easy enough to whip up for a quick holiday dish or when you’re in need of a cocoa fix.
What You Will Need for Grandma’s Fantasy Fudge:
** Make sure to double the recipe if you like extra, thick fudge
- 3 cups of granulated white sugar
- ¾ cup of butter or margarine
- 1 small can of evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup)
( Do NOT use sweetened condensed milk!)
- 1 bag of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 jar of Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Crème
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (if you’re up for something nutty!)
- 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
- Line a cake pan (preferably 9 inch square pan) with foil (for easy transfer and clean up)
- Bring sugar, butter and evaporated milk to a full rolling boil in a sauce pan on medium heat. STIRRING CONSTANTLY.
- Cook for approximately 4 minutes or until the candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, sitting constantly!
- Remove sauce pan from heat.
- Add chocolate chips and marshmallow crème. Stir until well melted.
- Add vanilla extract and nuts if desired.
- Pour molten mixture into lined cake pan.
- Cool completely (since most of you are Michiganders, the best place to harden the fudge is outside. Since your fridges are most likely full during the holidays. Not to mention, the frigid mitten weather hardens the candy quickly this time of year!
- And finally, ENJOY!
Fantasy Fudge is also the perfect gift for your out of town friends who aren’t as privileged to enjoy Mackinac Island fudge throughout the four seasons. It’s easy to package and travels well during the long, snow filled road trips of the winter. You can also try a few of these varieties for loved ones with a more refined palate or come up with some creative add ins of your own.
- Instead of using nuts and vanilla in the original recipe, use a dash of peppermint extract and add crushed candy canes to the top of cooling fudge.
- Nix the semi-sweet chocolate chips and replace with 1 cup of peanut butter (MY FAVORITE!)
- Substitute white chocolate chips for the semi-sweet. Add 1 cup of crushed Oreos in place of nuts for a cookies and crème variety
- Try Heath Toffee Chips in place of nuts
- Substitute chocolate chips for butterscotch chips
One of the best things about this classic Michigan favorite is it’s virtually fail proof as long as you add all the ingredients. And don’t forget to STIR CONSTANTLY. Really. I can’t wait to hear of some of your favorite variations and holiday baking attempts. Happy holidays Michganders!
–Jacey Kloeckner, Contributing Writer