If I grew up in a candy-less childhood, Christmas was the exception to the rule.
There was always a dish of M&M’s in my grandmother’s kitchen, the candies rolling around like smooth, festive stones, easily sneaked into pockets and enjoyed away from the adult’s prying stares. I commonly munched on them hiding behind the Christmas tree, feeling as though no one could see me.
(Everyone could. I know that now.)
I also have terribly fond memories of sitting in a little wooden shack over thick ice, one hand dangling a fishing line down a hole, the other clutching a hot tin cup of watery hot chocolate. When I could bear no more hot chocolate, I would fill in the cracks with more Christmas M&M’s, usually the kind stuffed into a candy cane-shaped tube and frequently filled with peanuts.
Holiday M&M’s became my go-to handful of cheer.
Once I was old enough to cook on my own, my mother enlisted my help bringing dishes to Christmas parties.
I always, always made peanut butter cups and microwave fudge. And because our family friends were so nice, they’d never comment on my grainy fudge or disproportionate chocolate distribution.
When I grew up, I discovered microwave fudge is still the best way to bring a full plate to a party. And I have perfected the recipe.
This recipe is a dream to work with. It takes fifteen minutes and three ingredients and will blow minds with its smooth, creamy texture.
No more poring over old Betty Crocker cookbooks insisting the need for a candy thermometer. No more wandering thoughts of what on earth is soft-ball stage?
Easy, Old-Fashioned Fudge
2 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
4 T butter
- In a (large) microwave-safe bowl, combine all ingredients.
- Heat on high for 45 seconds. Remove, stir and microwave another 45 seconds.
- Continue to stir in intervals until all ingredients are melted. Don’t be afraid to stir heavily — it may look like chocolate isn’t coming together cohesively, but it will be smooth and glossy, almost pudding-like in texture. (If strange chunks have appeared or the chocolate is grainy, it means you’ve scalded the chocolate — it can’t really be fixed, just strained out.)
- Spread into a greased pan and refrigerate until set, 10 to 20 minutes.
- If desired, stud with candy cane pieces, M&M’s, nuts, sprinkles, etc. Just bear in mind nut allergies run rampant at holiday parties, so proceed with caution!