Monday, December 21, 2015

Mint Fudge Wonderland!

When I'm feeling down, there are a few words that bring comfort to me and fill me with hope and happiness upon hearing...words like "puppies," "BOGO," or most things prefaced by the word "free" for example. But nothing takes me from catatonic to a level of glee best described as "only child at a pony farm" quite like the word fudge. Coincidentally, if I'm in your home and you tell me there's fudge, you can also see me go from calm and rested to in your kitchen in under .2 seconds, so I've got that party trick going for me. I adore fudge: flavored chocolate served to me in slab form. Perfection. My favorite place in the world to get fudge is a kitschy little Bavarian town in Michigan called Frankenmuth. I enjoyed visiting there to eat delicious German foods and contemplate whether lederhosen is as uncomfortable to wear as it is ridiculous-looking. I mean, the fudge there is so good you can even order it online and send it directly to your mouth via your mailbox. But since Frankenmuth Fudge isn't paying me to blog about their wares, I'm forced to make my own fudge. My all-time favorite fudge fits in perfectly with the holiday season because it is loaded with tons of mint! I was trying to come up with a Christmas song to riff off of here but "Silent Night, Fudgy Night" took on a very different meaning once typed, so I'll just continue on and tell you about my mint chocolate fudge recipe.
Melt in your mouth AND your soul! Fudge lovers rejoice!
So we all know how the free Andes mint after your Olive Garden meal feels like total overkill after shoveling down several baskets of free bread sticks and all the carbs, but we eat it anyway because mint chocolate is worth the gut bomb in all its deliciousness. This mint fudge recipe is essentially one 8x8 slab of giant Andes mint, and it is ah-mazing. I am trying my best to save the entire pan for Christmas company, but I keep finding reasons to shave slivers of fudge off every time I pass through the kitchen. Just finished my workout? I could use some fudge. Accidentally flayed my thumb open from knuckle to knuckle with my own pinky nail? I could use some fudge. First non-kitchen related injury in a year? I could use some fudge. Seriously, my thumb hurts and not just because it was betrayed by another one of my fingers. The fudge soothes me.
Did I mention this was really easy to make? The thumb pain is causing memory loss.
Five whole ingredients and you're going to be the hit of the Christmas dessert table. You can feel smug in knowing it took you ten minutes to make something that everyone will devour in five. Fudge is on the exact opposite end of the dessert effort scale from a fully decorated cake. So gather up:
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 12 oz white chocolate chips
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk divided in half (I poured half the can into a small liquid measuring cup and left the other half in the can)
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp of mint extract depending on how minty you like things
  • A few drops of green food coloring
 Start by lining an 8x8 pan with foil so it hangs over the edges. Then get two medium-sized sauce pans out and put the bag of semisweet chips into one and the white chips into the other. Start by heating the white chips over medium heat while stirring frequently to keep from burning. Pour a little bit of the divided milk into the white chocolate chips and stir like crazy (I made the mistake of pouring the full half of the milk into my chips and it was nearly impossible to get things to melt nicely again). Once your white chocolate is melty again in consistency, pour in the rest of the divided milk and stir like crazy. Finish up the white chips by adding in the mint extract and green food coloring and mix until nice and melty again. Place this on low heat.

Now melt the semisweet chocolate chips on medium heat while stirring frequently to keep from burning. Take the other half of the divided milk and pour a little bit in and stir like crazy. Once the chips are melty again, pour in the rest of the divided milk and stir.

Here's where you can get fancy. You can dollop a spoonful of the now mint chocolate into the 8x8 pan and then a spoonful of the semisweet chocolate into the pan and repeat quickly a kajillion times before swirling with a knife. OR...
You can just pour the semisweet chocolate in and smooth it out...
Then pour the mint chocolate on top...

And just smooth it out. Optional: top with chopped Andes mints, chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc. before it fully sets.
It's fudge. It doesn't have to be pretty. It is going to taste fantastic with or without the swirling effort. I honestly wanted to do the swirl, but my chocolate was hardening up insanely fast since I added each half of the condensed milk all at once, and my chocolates never got all that melty after that. Layers of fudge seemed practical and less shame-inducing. I really hate making mistakes, but the edge is taken off when they still end up being tasty mistakes. Once you've got your fudge in the pan, place it in the fridge to harden for at least a few hours to overnight. I left mine in overnight and removed first thing this morning. Once it came to room temp, I sliced my fudge up to take some pictures. This incidentally led to me eating what I will now call "breakfast fudge." Anything can be eaten for breakfast if you simply preface it with the word breakfast. Breakfast cake, breakfast pie, breakfast sundaes...

Anyhow, I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas. If you're traveling, at least El NiƱo is keeping things unseasonably hot and snow-free around most of the country, so that's nice. If your family is visiting you, I hope you've stocked up on a higher than reasonable about of meat and booze. Regardless of your plans, I hope Santa (or your very patient significant other) brings you everything you've wished for, like world peace or a Ferrari. If not, at least you have my gift of fudge. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
All I want for Christmas is fuuudddggee! Whew, it was really going to drive me crazy if I couldn't come up with a Christmas song to riff off of.

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