Most of us shy away from making candy, especially fudge, because we have long memories.
We're haunted by sugar crystallizing because we hadn't greased the sides of the saucepan . . . or drops of chocolate that wouldn't form into balls when dribbled in cold water . . . or mixtures that wouldn't set even if placed in the freezer overnight.
Well, grandma is coming to the rescue again with a recipe that's been in my family for four generations.
It guarantees old-fashioned, creamy fudge without a whole lot of fuss. As a matter of fact, that same 10-year-old we talked about making sugarplum cake last week also makes this fudge.
And while it's a perfect gift from a child, it also serves well as a hostess gift or a hurriedly wrapped something for that not-so-favorite aunt who unexpectedly drops by for Christmas even though she promised she would be in Des Moines for the holidays.
FOR THE RECORD - Fudge Recipe Error
Los Angeles Times Saturday December 24, 1988 Orange County Edition Orange County Life Part 9 Page 5 Column 3 Life Desk 2 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
In Thursday's Guys & Galleys column, one line in the preparation instructions was inadvertently omitted. After the butter and chocolate have been placed in a separate bowl, the boiling milk-sugar mixture should be poured over, then mixed and beaten. We regret the error.
It also boasts some subtle variations guaranteed to knock the socks off the most discriminating palates--booze and cashews, for example, rather than walnuts and vanilla.
If you can boil water and aren't confused by the settings on a standard electric mixer, you can make this fudge. And you can make it perfectly every time.
You don't even have to grease the pan.
The recipe calls for a tablespoon of vanilla to be added at the end of the beating process, but you can easily substitute just about anything else. Granny liked to splash in a little brandy, while others in the family preferred rum. The nice thing is that it's almost impossible to hurt the final result.
And while this family has always opted for cashews, there's no reason not to substitute your favorite nut--or no nuts at all, for that matter.
GRANDMA'S NO-FUSS CASHEW FUDGE
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 twelve-ounce can condensed milk
12 one-ounce squares bittersweet chocolate
1/2 pound butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla, brandy or rum
1/2 pound cashew pieces
In a large saucepan, mix sugar and condensed milk. Sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix again and slowly bring to rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 14 minutes, stirring frequently. While sugar-milk mixture is cooking, break chocolate pieces in half, place in large mixing bowl and add butter in chunks. Sprinkle over remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend with electric mixer on low. Increase speed to high and mix for 10 minutes. Add vanilla, rum or brandy and nuts. Mix and spread in pans. Chill.
Each week, Orange County Life will feature a man who enjoys cooking and a favorite recipe. Tell us about your candidate. Write to Guys & Galleys, Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626.