Christmas this week was a marathon of cooking, eating, socializing, and more cooking and eating. In the spirit of the holidays, I thought I’d share this easy peppermint twist on a classic standby— chocolate fudge! When researching recipes, I found many that called for marshmallows as a “fail-proof” method to get the perfect texture every time without the elbow grease, careful timing, and a candy thermometer of traditional fudge-making. That sounds good to me! But is it really that simple? I adapted this recipe, which uses marshmallows, from a Martha Stewart online recipe for Simple Chocolate Fudge. It came out great, but don’t know if I’d call it fool-proof. I suspect it still relies on the same basic principles of the candy thermometer recipes, but more research is needed to be sure. However, because this particular recipe was so yummy, I just wanted to share it before the holidays are too far behind us!
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 cups marshmallows
1 cup sugar
½ cup half and half
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
12 oz (1 bag) semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup crushed peppermint sticks
1. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with tin foil. Make sure all the foil creases are as flat as possible so you don’t lose any fudge to the crevices! Grease with cooking spray.
2. In a large saucepan, combine butter, marshmallows, sugar, cream and salt. Cook over medium to medium-low heat until marshmallows are melted, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and chocolate chips; stir until chocolate melts completely.
3. Pour the fudge into the greased and lined 8×8 pan. Smooth out the top if necessary. Sprinkle on the crushed peppermint candy. If needed, gently pat the pieces into the fudge to make sure they won’t fall off once the fudge is set. Allow to cool for 30 minutes on the counter, then refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
4. Invert the pan over a cutting board and release the fudge onto the cutting board, peppermint side down. Peel off the tin foil and cut the fudge into squares (six rows and six columns). Store in the refrigerator with wax paper separating layers to prevent sticking.
Makes 36 pieces.
-While cooking the marshmallow mixture, watch the pan closely and stir often to prevent scorching or boil-over. It is fine if the mixture boils gently, but between the fluffiness of the marshmallows and the tendency for milk products to boil over quickly, you definitely don’t want to leave this alone on the stove!
-Choose a peppermint candy with a good flavor and delicate crunch to begin with. If you find that your candy canes have gotten a bit sticky or chewy, I recommend you get fresh ones for this recipe.
-Cutting the fudge upside-down will prevent larger bits of peppermint from dragging through your candy and creating craters.
-I left my peppermint in larger chunks because I like the look of it, but a finer grind (about the size of whole peppercorns) would play a bit nicer with the soft texture of the fudge.
-I like to let my fudge air dry in the fridge for a day (if I have space) because I prefer it with a touch dryness on the outside of each square—it makes them less sticky and easier to handle. Afterward, I’ll stack them in a container separated by wax paper sheets…if there are any left!