It may not seem like a big deal, but to celebrate National Chocolate Day, I made fudge. Nothing out of the ordinary, just my usual Never Fail Fudge recipe from the folks at Fluff. I wanted to have some around so we could give some to a few folks and so I could bring some into work. I really have the recipe committed to heart now. I know just what to buy at the grocery store and I know the quantities of each ingredient. It requires two 12 ounce bags of semi-sweet chocolate to make a batch of fudge, so this surely qualifies for National Chocolate Day. I made a batch at night right before we went to bed. Lola was telling me it was too late but I persisted and I even said that I would have it done by the time she was ready to go upstairs after all of her end of the night follies. Sure enough, when she was about ready to take the first step upstairs to our bedroom, I was putting away the completed batch. That’s a testament to how quick I can make a batch of fudge and also a testament to how much Lola dawdles as she gets ready for bed. In any case, the fudge came out great. I was able to taste it warm from the pot after I poured the bulk of it out into the pan where it would chill. Hot fudge, as you know, is delicious and having a spoonful right from the pot is a secret delight that usually only the cook can enjoy (and he did).
To make fudge, you have to first cook your butter, sugar and milk. You bring that to a boil and keep it at a boil for about five minutes. The chocolate comes in at the very end. You remove the boiling sugar from the heat (which is among the hottest substances on earth) and then you add in a little bit of vanilla. When the vanilla drops in, it starts to sink, then suddenly the whole batch will sizzle up as the room temperature liquid hits the boiling sugar. Then you pour in the chocolate chips. When you drop the chocolate in, you have to stir it up right away. That starts the melting process but also ensures that the chips don’t end up in a big lump at the bottom of the pot. It takes some forearm strength and persistence. After you have stirred for a little bit, you begin to have your doubts if the whole batch will turn chocolatey, but then dark swirls start to appear and that dark, chocolate hue starts to spread out concentrically. Soon you have a pot full of smooth chocolate goodness which you then pour out into a cooling vessel (in my case, a 13 x 9 baking dish lined with parchment paper).
I’ve brought my fudge into work a few times (at the Vineyard). It’s kind of the perfect snack to bring in to a restaurant for your fellow coworkers because they are bite size so you can eat them on the run, they’re delicious and they are full of sugar for instant energy. I usually just keep the batch in the fridge until the end of the day and then when we are about an hour away from closing, I’ll bust out the fudge. I’ll just leave it on the communal table in our break room. It goes pretty fast. I try to stay secretive about it just to keep people guessing, but word got out and now they know that I am the fudge maker. I’m getting kind of famous for my fudge now, even getting requests. I have to say that over the years, my fudge has really upped my popularity. It’s really a craveable thing now. I don’t know why my fudge gets such rave reviews. It’s the same recipe that’s on every jar of Fluff so anyone could make it. Maybe people just don’t like to make their own fudge. That’s quite possible because it does get tedious. But me, I don’t mind. I have it down to a science now – 30 minutes from start to finish (including clean up). I like that it brings so many people joy too. That’s why I was happy to make it today for National Chocolate Day, because bringing joy is what chocolate should do. Plus it should bring you joy by the time Lola is ready for bed.
Next up: National Oatmeal Day