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~ Agnes Starosta's Creamy, Dreamy "Killer" Fudge ~

White Fudge PlusEveryone remembers their very first bite of fudge... that creamy, semi-soft confection made with corn syrup and/or sugar, butter, cream and various flavorings.  The most popular fudge flavor, hands-down is chocolate, with peanut butter, maple, butterscotch and vanilla all being strong contenders in the top five.  When I was growing up, Agnes Starosta was our next-door neighbor. She loved to bake, and all year long, her sweet treats would make their way over to our house. Every year on Christmas Eve, Agnes joined us for dinner and would grace our dessert table with a plate of her homemade fudge.  No matter what flavor she made, it was always full of some sort of chunky, toasted nuts.  When my now 36-year-old son was about 3 years old, he took his first bite of Agnes's dark chocolate fudge.  "That's a killer", he gleefully remarked.  The entire table roared with laughter and  "Killer Fudge", more specifically, "Agnes's Killer Fudge" got its name!

PICT5222A bit about fudge:   Fudge originated right here in America, and, like many "good things", it happened because of a happy accident.  Fudge was first documented in 1886, by students who were making and selling it at the Malmesbury School in Baltimore, Maryland.  As the story goes, they were trying to make caramels and "fudged" the recipe. This probably explains why fudge, along with another historical accident, salt water taffy, are sold as staples on the boardwalks of the Eastern Shore.  True American-style fudge is very smooth and creamy, not grainy, crumbly or tooth-achingly sweet.  When served at room temperature, it is almost spreadable, and, on the boardwalk they serve it with a little plastic knife. Fudge is often "gussied up" with additions of nuts and/or dried fruit, or, two flavors can be swirled together.  Fudge my friends is an authentic American institution!

931120-Fralingers_salt_water_taffy_shop_Ocean_CityI've tasted a lot of fudge in my lifetime (mostly while walking the boardwalks of the NJ or Maryland shore), but quite honestly, Agne's delicious, user-friendly recipe is so wonderful, I've never been inclined to experiment with other versions, which often complicate the process to the the point of "why bother".  I am here to tell you:  you do not need a degree in food science, a marble slab, or even a candy thermometer to make great fudge.  I am a purist about a lot of things, but let's get real:  fudge was born out of error... how complicated do we need to make it?  BTW:  Fralinger's in Ocean City, NJ, is one of my all-time favorite old "haunts"!  Now my friends, it's time to make Agnes's fudge:

PICT5152A bit about the pan:  After fudge is cooked, it is placed in a baking pan to cool.  Most recipes require an 8" x 8" x 2" or 13" x 9" x 2" pan and most of us have one or both.  Quite a few years ago, I invested in several sizes of professional baking pans.  The kind the pros use to bake wedding cakes, etc.  These pans are not overly expensive, most are less than $20.00.

PICT5156Notice they have a clean, squared edge, rather than a typical rounded and slightly sloping one.  Having a pan like this is not a requirement for this recipe, but it does make for fudge with pretty, uniform corners when it comes time to cut.  Prior to preparing the fudge, line an 8" x 8" x 2" baking pan with plastic wrap that drapes over the sides by 2"-3". Cut an 8" x 8" square of parchment and place it in the bottom of the pan on top of the plastic wrap.
















To make dark chocolate, milk chocolate or peanut butter fudge:

4  ounces miniature-sized marshmallows

1  14-ounce can condensed milk

1  tablespoon pure vanilla extract, not imitation

4  ounces salted butter (1 stick), cut into pieces

16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate or peanut butter morsels

6-8  ounces coarsely chopped and lightly toasted walnuts, almonds, or peanuts (optional)

1/2  cup chunky-style peanut butter (for peanut butter fudge only)

6a0120a8551282970b0148c7957d2a970c-320wi~ Step 1.  Prep the desired nuts as directed and place in a second baking pan.  Roast nuts on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven, until lightly toasted and fragrant, 10-15 minutes, stopping to toss with a spoon about every 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.  This can be done a day in advance.

PICT5169~ Step 2.  In a 4-quart stockpot or saucepan, thoroughly combine the condensed milk, vanilla extract and marshmallows.  Over low heat, melt the marshmallows into the mixture, stirring frequently, until mixture is completely smooth and foamy, about 5-6 minutes.  Turn the heat off for a moment.



~ Step 3.  Add and stir in the butter pieces and morsels.  If you are making peanut butter fudge, stir in the peanut butter as well.






~ Step 4.  Over low heat, stir constantly and somewhat vigorously, until the mixture is smooth and uniform in color, about 2-3 minutes.  

PICT5184Remove from heat and stir in the optional roasted nuts.



~ Step 5.  Transfer the fudge to the prepared baking pan.

PICT5203Give the pan several vigorous back and forth shakes to evenly distribute the fudge.  Set aside, uncovered, for 1 hour.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight.

PICT5208~ Step 6.  Invert/turn the fudge out onto a cutting board by pulling and tugging on the plastic wrap and shaking the pan.  Remove the plastic wrap and peel back the parchment paper.  Using a ruler and a large, very sharp knife, measure and score the top of the fudge.  Proceed to cut into squares.

White Fudge 2



Agnes Starosta's Creamy, Dreamy "Killer" Fudge:  Recipe yields 64, 1" squares

Special Equipment List:  1, 8" x 8" x 2" baking pan, preferably w/straight sides; plastic wrap; parchment paper; 1, 8" x 8" x 2" baking dish, for toasting optional nuts; 4-quart stockpot or saucepan; large spoon; cutting board; large chef's knife

Cook's Note:  Once cut into desired-sized pieces, store fudge in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment or wax paper, in a cool, dry, place, or in the refrigerator, for up to one week.  To make a large, triple batch of fudge for the holidays, cook it on the stovetop in an 8-quart stockpot and pour it into a 15" x 11" x 2" in baking pan!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, commentary and photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011)


Jen -- Thank-you for the kind feedback, and, I love the idea of a chocolate-mint version. Yummy! ~ Mel.

Hello! I wanted to say thank you for this recipe. I made both the peanut butter (without nuts) and a chocolate-mint version over the holidays, and both were big hits. Thanks!

hello, could I make this into a toasted coconut fudge, could you send me any ideas, it's my favourite.....thank-you

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