Friday, December 07, 2007
See's Fudge
She used to be Johnny-on-the-spot, getting her Christmas list ready in plenty of time. This doll, that toy, and as she got older, those jeans or that pair of cool tennis shoes (which I got miserably wrong and she has since forgiven me.) Times change, and little girls grow up. Now she's a mother of three little ones, who are busy making their own lists, so hers doesn't get much attention.

This year, however, she phoned me and gave me hers. "Popcorn balls tinted pink, and fudge, cut into little pieces", each with a walnut on the top, and placed between rows of waxed paper in used Russell Stover boxes. Every year we could count on a box arriving a week or so before the big day, and nestled inside would be a much used candy box, packed with See's Fudge. Popcorn balls used as packing would tumble out, and we'd gather them up and place them in a big bowl on the family room coffee table. As the days wound down to Christmas the pile of popcorn balls would get smaller and smaller. My husband would keep count every evening - don't even try to eat more than one in a sitting! Much like your favorite Girl Scout cookie, they only arrived once a year, and he didn't want them all disappearing too quickly.

His mom is now 95 years old and the days of making treats and mailing them in Christmas packages has passed by. Sarah gently suggested that I pick up the ball, or popcorn balls as it would be, and continue on the tradition for her children, and our other children and their children to enjoy. We rarely finished the fudge. What mother in her right mind would let her kids eat a whole box of fudge, knowing she'd have to pick them off the ceiling to get them into bed that night?! Sometime after December 25, I'd pack the uneaten fudge in the back of the fridge and after the New Year passed, I'd eventually throw it out. You can tell I'm not a chocolate lover...

This year I headed to the local grocery and bought three boxes of inexpensive Russell Stover chocolates, opened them at sewing group and asked my girlfriends to help me out by eating them all. I don't really like chocolate, unless it's a light coating over coconut or toffee. Getting ahold of those three empty boxes cost me $14.25. If I'd known that, I'd have saved the ones we received year after year. Next time I visit my mother-in-law I'll be sure to ask her if I can carry home a few or a dozen of her candy boxes, which are surely still tucked away in a closet.

So if you have anyone on your list who has to have fudge to keep their Christmas memories intact, this one is easy to make, and was a sure hit in our home for over 20 years. There are many variations, this is just the one my mother-in-law gave me, and traditions can't be messed with, I'm sticking with this recipe, no substitutions!

See's Fudge (or as she called it, "One Bowl Holiday Fudge")

by Grandma Atrel

2 pkgs (8 squares each) of semi-sweet chocolate
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Microwave chocolate and milk in a large microwavable bowl on high 2-3 minutes, or til chocolate is almost melted, stirring halfway through the heating time. Remove from microwave. Stir til chocolate is completely melted.

Stir in vanilla and walnuts. Spread in greased (and you bet she used Crisco!) 8 inch square glass dish. Refrigerate til firm. Cut into squares. Store in refrigerator. Makes 4 dozen pieces.

Me? I'll be putting a little walnut on top of each one, then lining that candy box with waxed paper, folded into lines, packing the candy inside the box, and shipping it out to our three kids and their families. This time of year you just can't mess with traditions, and I'll smile to think of our grandkids, being gently picked off the ceilings at night then tucked into bed. then I'll put together a smaller box, and send it the one who took time all those years to make a tradition in our family. Surely you're never too old for fudge and popcorn balls. (I'll try to post that recipe next week, after the fudge is done. This time of year, slow and steady wins the race!)

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  posted at 7:36 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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