Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just about now...

50 years ago, I was just new.
31 years ago, I fell, unknowingly, for the love of my life.
19 years ago, I was counting down to a due date*.
Six years ago, I started this blog**.
A year ago, I came clean.
Six months ago, we lost Blackjack.
Two weeks ago, we made room for Juneau and all the lovely chaos.

Long, long ago, whenever my mother felt overwhelmed by big events and life's dramatic twists and upheavals, she would go to the stove and begin stirring chocolate and sugar and butter together in a pot.  She would stir and stir and then there would be fudge. Creamy, just a teeny, tiny bit grainy, tender, and cocoa-sugar-salty. Magical.

Until recently, it was elusive, this salve for the extraordinary emotional milestone.

Just a few days ago...
Just in time...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge | Cheesy Pennies

...there was fudge***.

You should have some. Just about now.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge 2 | Cheesy Pennies
by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes, plus cooling time
When emotional eating is in order, make this fudge.  My mom always added peanut butter to hers when she made it.  Smart mom. Adapted from this recipe, and verified by my sister to be pretty darn close to the original cure-all.
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into smaller pieces
  • 2/3 c. evaporated milk
  • 1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 7 oz. container marshmallow fluff
  • 1/4 c. chunky peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • flaky sea salt, for garnish

Butter a 13X9 baking dish, and set aside. Or, you can line the baking dish with foil, leaving a good amount hanging over the edge so you can lift the entire block of fudge out easily at the end.

Combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk in large dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan. Choose a pan that's larger than you think you need, as this stuff will be foaming up and bubbling away as you go. Stir to combine, and cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved. Raise heat to medium, stirring all the while, until mixture has come to a boil. Stop stirring, and allow to boil for a full five minutes. The mixture will go from creamy white to a light golden brown at the end.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the chocolate chips until melted. Add marshmallow fluff, vanilla and peanut butter, and stir vigorously until the mixture is completely combined and smooth. Turn into prepared pan. Use a spatula to level it out, and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Allow to cool completely, cut into small squares, and serve.

Buttermilk Cashew Fudge + Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge | Cheesy Pennies


Buttermilk Cashew Fudge

I am a huge fan of penuche - essentially a fudge-textured version of a New Orleans praline. I had some leftover buttermilk in the fridge and googled up this recipe.  I used Trader Joe's Thai Chili Cashews and a few of their Sesame Honey Cashews in place of pecans, and added a dusting of lime ginger salt on top.  Most excellent!

Cashews! | Cheesy Pennies

Buttermilk Cashew Fudge | Cheesy Pennies

* And then continuing to count, because the kid was really, really, really late.
** Exactly six years ago. Not only was my first post on April 14, 2009, but it was a Tuesday, too.
*** I mean, damn.  This time of year is like a sinkhole of significant events.  Did I mention that my daughter is learning to drive right now?

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