Oh, Fudge!

If you’ve ever wondered how long fudge can stay in the freezer, I have the answer.

Not sixteen months.

Have you ever seen those giant teeth at the dentist’s office?  You know the ones that are about a foot tall, which open to a cross section of the different parts of a tooth? Well, it’s a life-size model of my sweet tooth.

When it comes to chocolate fudge, there are two different types.  There’s creamy fudge; the kind with marshmallow cream—quick and easy.

Then there’s traditional, classic fudge cooked in a pot on the stove until it reaches a very specific temperature.  Then it’s beaten vigorously.  It can go wrong much easier than right. At the state fair, All-American Fudge makes a stellar example.  It’s better than any old-school version I could make, so I let them do it.  Every year I buy two pounds, bring it home, triple-wrap and freeze it.  I then ration it like it’s the very last pizza at a Super Bowl party.

Well, last year I rationed it too well, and when the fair rolled around, I had about a pound left, so I didn’t buy any more.  Thus, sixteen-month-old awful fudge that broke my heart and left me without fair fudge for Eight.More.Months.But.

There are two fudges of the easy, marshmallow cream variety that are close to my heart.

The first is a PB&J fudge.  I shared my recipe with Lisa Prince, who along with Brian Shrader does a segment every Friday on WRAL’s noon news, called Local Dish.  This was last Friday’s dish.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Fudgepb&j fudge1 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream

1 11-ounce package white chocolate chips

¾ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup crunchy peanut butter

¾ cup butter

2 ½ cups granulated sugar

pinch of kosher salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

¾ cup jelly, jam, or preserves of your choice

Line 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, add marshmallow cream, white chocolate chips and peanut butters. Set aside.In large saucepan, combine butter, sugar, salt, and whipping cream. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 full minutes.

Pour boiling mixture over ingredients in mixing bowl. Using electric mixer, beat for 1-2 minutes, until completely smooth and creamy.pb&j swirlPour half of mixture into baking dish. Drop spoonsful of jam. Using a knife, lightly swirl into the fudge. Top with remaining fudge and dollops of the rest of the preserves. Gently swirl again with knife, just until marbled.Refrigerate 4 hours, or overnight, until set. Cut into bites. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to a week.

The other fudge is a long-time favorite; chocolate peanut butter.  It’s easy and tastes so darn good.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudgechoc pb fudge3 cups sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 tablespoon butter

¾ cup milk

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup marshmallow crème

*When measuring peanut butter and marshmallow cream, spray measuring cup and spatula with cooking spray to facilitate removal from cup.

Mix together first 4 ingredients in saucepan. Bring to rolling boil. Boil exactly 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add marshmallow creme and peanut butter. Stir until melted then pour into buttered 8X8 pan. Let cool.The secret to this is to boil exactly 3 minutes. Use a timer. I’m not joking.

I’m sad and disappointed about my fair fudge.

But.

When I get my next fudge stash, I can’t bear to get less than two pounds, and I know it doesn’t last forever in the freezer.  So, like it or not, to avoid wasting food, I’ll be forced to eat more fudge more often. What a bummer.

Thanks for your time.

Flavor -N- See

Petey had one piece of advice: “Make sure you’re quiet when they’re filming.”

And in two days I only interrupted eighty-six times (not really, just twice).

Every Friday on the WRAL noon news, Brian Shrader, traffic guru and daytime anchor appears with Lisa Prince of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  Together, they cook recipes with seasonal North Carolina products.  Their segment is called Local Dish, and they’ve been doing it for around twelve years.The co-hosts make dishes that are NC authentic, tasty, and original, or twists on old favorites.  After making hundreds of recipes, it gets tough to come up with new ones, so they count on reader submissions.

And, that’s how I made Lisa’s acquaintance.

In the fall of 2014, WRAL was soliciting recipes for holiday gatherings.  On Christmas at my parents’ house, we have a buffet.  I make a ham and either mom or Heavenly Ham prepares a large roasted turkey breast.  And mom makes baked beans and her famous baked macaroni and cheese.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We also have a few cold salads.  So, I sent in my high-country potato salad, with broccoli and cheddar cheese.

And then I forgot all about it.

In the early summer of the next year, Lisa sent me a note.  In it she thanked me for participating and told me they were going to make my salad for the Fourth of July show.  I was thrilled—I watched Local Dish every week; it would be a thrill to see one of my dishes made on TV.  I wrote back, thanked her, and told her I was (at that time) a food writer at the Herald Sun.  She then wrote back, telling me that she organized the specialty food contests at the State Fair.  Would I be interested in acting as judge for a few of them?

She had me at “food”.

I went, had a blast, and met some really nice people that are almost as obsessed with food as me.  A couple weeks later I bought her a cup of coffee and interviewed her for a column.  Since then I’ve judged at a few more fairs.

If you’ve wondered how I feel after judging…here you go.  Like a piggy that won the prize.

I’ll let you in on a secret: she thinks I’m doing her a favor by working the cooking contests but judging at the State Fair is truly one of the highlights of my year.  The Kid started judging last year.

Last week I met Lisa, her sister Michele Holland, and David Dalton at Whiskey Kitchen in downtown Raleigh.  Lisa had invited me to a taping of Flavor NC, a PBS show she hosts that celebrates the producers and cooks of North Carolina grub of all types.  If it’s grown, raised, gathered, fished, or plucked by Tar Heels, Flavor NC is all over it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From left: Michele Holland, Whiskey Kitchen’s executive chef Clayton, David Dalton, and Lisa Prince

In addition to being Lisa’s right hand at the state fair, Michele’s also associate producer of the show.  Her organization and ability to anticipate the needs of the shoot are scary. But, best of all, she is a giant nerd whose love and allegiance to Doctor Who, the multiple Star Trek series, and Supernatural closely resembles the geeky fanaticism of The Kid and me.

crowley snow

Our puppy, Crowley.  Named for a character in Supernatural.

David is cinematographer, editor, show-runner, creator, and owner of Flavor NC.  He’s also kind, funny, and cheerleader of both our state and its food.  His SUV is packed so full of television equipment that there’s not room in there for a bottle of Coke and a tomato sandwich.

Next week I’ll dish on the two-day shoot, talking about shy farmers, walls of whiskey, and why I should never trust my own judgement before consumption of caffeine.Thanks for your time.