‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
All gifts were prepared, and nearly all wrapped,
save a few tins of goodies, delicious homemade craft.
Last night did I toil, for half an hour or so,
as I whipped up some fudge; crazy, I know.
Three in my life, the most special by far,
will unwrap a delight ‘neath the Bethlehem star.
For dear sister Sarah, the tropical chick,
is a sweet with a definite Florida kick.
Slivers of dried mango, and chunks of pineapple;
pistachios and sugared ginger, not too much to grapple.
Next for my mother, a fudge with some zest:
a quirky flavor mix will have her impressed.
Cranberries in chocolate and pistachio nuts,
together with tangerine do give her fudge guts.
Finally for father, who brings home the bacon:
is a fudge with which he will always awaken.
Chock full of coffee beans, bathed in chocolate dark,
his sweet treat will give him an anytime spark.
Tomorrow night as the clock strikes Christmastime Eve,
these three lucky people will smile, I believe.
Fudge three ways: with chocolate-covered coffee beans; with chocolate covered cranberries, pistachios, and tangerine zest; and with dried fruit, pistachios, and ginger (adapted from Cooks Illustrated’s 15-Minute Fudge recipe)
The original recipe called for 1 cup of walnuts, but I decided to do something more exciting: I split the fudge base into three bowls and mixed in ~1/3 cup of different flavor combinations into each, then poured the result into the pan which I split into thirds using folded aluminum foil*. Use my flavors as jumping-off points for your own concoctions, but I will very, very strongly recommend the version with tangerine zest; it is incomparable! I also suggest throwing in some chopped crystallized ginger or toasted walnuts in the coffee-bean version. Yum!
- 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (use bar chocolate, not chips; Ghirardelli recommended)
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup “mix-ins” (eg. dark chocolate-covered coffee beans, sliced in half; dark chocolate-covered cranberries or cherries, sliced in half; toasted pistachios, cooled; zest of 1 tangerine; crystallized ginger, finely chopped; chopped dried mango and/or pineapple)
Prepare an 8×8″ baking pan by lining it with aluminum foil; use enough so there is overhang on two sides. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In the top bowl of a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl, such as a glass bowl), mix together the chocolates, baking powder, and salt. Make sure the baking soda is evenly distributed. Stir in the condensed milk and vanilla.
Set the bowl over, not in, simmering water. Heat the fudge mixture, stirring constantly, until only the last chocolate chunks remain. Remove the bowl from the water and continue stirring until all chocolate has melted. At this point, you can stir in the “mix-ins”. Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until firm. Pull out of the pan using the overhanging foil. Cut and enjoy!
* If you would like to do what I did and make multiple versions of fudge from one recipe, just use your foil to create a “barrier” and divide the pan into halves or thirds. Simply cut a longer piece of foil than usual, and crimp a 1″ high section near the middle into a ridge shape. Repeat as necessary, spacing the foil channels appropriately. Fit the foil sheet into the baking pan.