Oh, Fudge: How Sweet It Is
This recipe is long overdue making its debut on Betty’s Cook Nook.
I was supposed to make this fudge during my big getaway to Italy in 2012-2013 but I wasn’t able to score all the ingredients while in Tuscany so the recipe sat here online without pictures or a story behind it … until now.
Out of all of my Mom’s recipes that I’ve been intimidated to make, I think it was this one takes 1st place because of the special note Mom included on the recipe: “Call Inez for help when making 1st time.” If Mom needed counsel the first time making this fudge, I was surely destined for a foodie fail – especially after my run-in with the red candy apple on a stick disaster from 2011.
Turns out I was right!
❤ Eureka! I learned something significant that you probably already know – the difference between condensed milk and evaporated milk! I always knew these as “milk in a can” but if you asked me the difference I would have said one is evaporated and one is not. Bad guess.
It turns out that both milks have the majority of water removed from them but condensed milk is sweetened milk (a.k.a. sweetened condensed milk or “SCM”) and evaporated milk is not. Since this recipe calls for sugar, I can create confidently knowing that “cold milk” (per the original recipe below) would have been shorthand for evaporated milk. My culinary cred just rose by +1!
I’m not sure why the recipe calls for the milk to be cold only to heat it up in step one, but hey, don’t mess with instructions, right?
❤ Even though the recipe doesn’t call for it, I enlisted the aid of my candy thermometer to try and prevent another culinary wreck. Turns out I would need the aid of the entire Justice League to try and save this mess.
I’m not sure what I made but I think it was a cross between a Texas praline, a chocolate crepe, and a brick (translation: FLAT and HARD). After two candy-coated foodie fails I think I’ll be trading in my Sur la Table candy thermometer for something more reliable. Maybe a digital candy thermometer!
❤ I distinctly remember Mom making this fudge at the holidays when divinity, rum balls and ribbon candy made special appearances. While we had the fudge with chopped nuts, Mom made the fudge with pecan halves on top most often so that’s the way I made them (hint hint).
❤ Here in Texas “nuts” is an abbreviation for Texas Pecans. Y’all can trust me on this!
❤ On the next “go” of this recipe I’m going to try it in a deep glass dish then cut it into squares. Seems like many of the modern day recipes call for that technique and maybe I’ll be luckier in the end.
❤ Fudge Lover? Get in line! Here’s another fabulous fudgey find from Mom’s cookbook.
½ cup | cold canned milk (evaporated milk)
2 cups | sugar
½ cup | karo corn syrup
2 squares | chocolate
2 tablespoons | butter (go big with unsalted Falfurrias Brand)
1 teaspoon | vanilla
a handful or 2 | nuts (a.k.a. texas pecans), *halves* or chopped
ii. what to do
1. Put all of the ingredients (except the butter, vanilla and nuts) into a large pot.
2. Cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted.
3. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, boiling for 3-4 minutes. Cook to the “soft ball” stage (about 235°F – 240°F).
4. Remove the mixture from heat and add the vanilla and butter.
5. Place the molten pot into a sink filled with water. Beat by hand until creamy.
6. Drop by spoonfuls (I think onto a glass or ceramic dish would work best). Top with your pecan halves (if using), let rest… then dig in! Enjoy!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Who is “Inez Eversole”?
I grew up living in a house on a corner lot at 2927 Trailend in San Antonio. The house right behind us sat on a large piece of land that was one acre in size; ten houses were neighbors to a slice of this great space. The yard was meticulously beautiful with plush grass and large shade trees that made it look like a plantation dropped in the middle of San Antonio.
Inez and Herb Eversole were a wonderful older couple who lived in a charming 1951 stone house that sat right in the middle of the tiny world all its own. I’d climb our fence and peer over it to see what was going on with our backdoor friends. Mrs. Eversole was always kind to me and I’d often visit to have a chat about the goings on at school and home. Mr. Eversole had a riding lawnmower that I thought was just about the neatest thing I had ever seen.
Looking back I think Inez and Herb were our family’s adopted grandparents – not just because of their geo proximity – but because of their genuine awesomeness and willingness to help us out with time-tested tips and tasty dishes.
So there you have it – this is Inez’s very own fudge recipe! I have one or two other recipes from Herb and Inez in Mom’s cookbook and will gladly add them soon.
Cheers to you, Inez and Herb – Thanks for the sweet fudge recipe! And the great memories.
After setting my appetite on making this twisted bread, I realized that Mom’s cut-out recipe had a seriously odd shape and some of the article was missing (see the original far below). I flipped the time-worn clipping over and realized that Mom must have really cut out the recipe on the reverse as the shape and article size were spot on. Finger to forehead!
What was on the back, er front, of the recipe? A 1970s story about NIOSA which included a recipe for Quiche Lorraine – a dish that garnered serious street cred at the 1968 World’s Fair held in my hometown of San Antonio. H.R. Pufnstuf debuted at the fair – something I just learned!
A few words about this recipe: I was super-surprised to learn that the recipe’s creator – Mrs. Nan Robb – won $25,000 for the recipe … in 1970!
$25,000 is a lot of money today. So while I joked about eating $25,000 bread, today I found out that after inflation, in 2015, $25,000 of 1970 money is really worth about $155,000! For real!
So now you have a funny story to serve along with this bread!
foodie tips ~
❤ I’ve had a few foodie fails here at Betty’s Cook Nook. My first attempt at making the dough for this recipe is one of them! Turns out the yeast I had on hand was old and after mixing everything together I think the bread actually fell rather than rose. LOL. So make sure and score some fresh yeast from the store to ensure your bread will rise to the rooftops.
❤ Feeling a little insecure about my ability to rise bread, I resorted to some online research to look for tips. Warm ovens and heating pad suggestions aside, I netted out with boiling some water in a glass measuring cup to warm my microwave. I covered my dough-filled bowl with a towel, inserted it into the microwave along with the water and let it do its thing for an hour. The dough more than doubled in size. Magic!
❤ You can easily half this recipe. What I wound up with was about the size of a boogie board. You can also make two “half-sized” loaves by cutting the dough strips in half before braiding – what better way to give a $12,500, er $77,500 gift (post inflation) to a friend?!
❤ I’m not going to point out the obvious but since I obviously pointed something out … you can introduce any of your favorite ingredients into the filling for this twisted bread recipe. I’m thinking of ham and cheese or bacon and maybe a little scallion.
for the dough:
1 package | active dry yeast
¼ cup | warm water
4 cups | flour (separated into two 2 cup piles)
¼ cup | sugar
1 ½ teaspoons | salt
½ cup | hot water
½ cup | whole milk
¼ cup | butter, softened (Mom’s Mom “Nanny” always insisted on Falfurria’s brand butter)
1 | cage free egg
for the filling:
¼ cup | butter (you know what to do)
1 cup | onion, finely chopped (we used yellow)
1 tablespoon | parmesan cheese, grated (we used 2-3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon | sesame seeds or poppy seeds (we used sesame)
1 teaspoon | garlic salt
1 teaspoon | paprika
ii. what to do
1. Grease a large cookie sheet and set aside. That was easy!
2. In a large mixer bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water. There’s no need to sift the flour – add 2 cups of the flour to the yeast mix (reserving the 2 cups of flour for later), and add the sugar, salt, water, milk, butter and egg. Blend at low speed until moistened then crank up the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. By hand, stir in the remaining 2 cups flour to form a soft dough. Mix it well! Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until light and it has doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
3. While the dough is doing it’s thing let’s make the filling. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining filling ingredients above and mix well. Let rest.
4. After the dough has risen, stir it down. Transfer from bowl then toss it around on a floured surface until no longer sticky. Roll the dough out to a 18″ x 12″ rectangle. Cut the dough into three 18″ x 4″ strips.
5. Spread each strip with the filling mixture, making sure to leave about a half inch around all edges filling-less so you’ll be able to pinch and seal the edges together (you’ll want them sticky). Start with the 18″ side and roll each strip up and press/seal the edges together so the filling is safe inside the doughy roll-up.
6. On your prepared cookie sheet, braid the 3 rolls together. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
7. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
I loved this bread warm and fresh out of the oven. You could also slice it to make a savory sandwich bread.
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
Here’s a scan of Mom’s original recipe.
I joked above about the odd shape of this cut out. Here’s another Betty’s Cook Nook recipe with a funky shape!
Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!
It’s not a chicken dinner per se but today is your lucky day – I’m posting the reverse side of the Onion Lover’s Twisted Bread recipe! Go on, click on it for a larger view of what’s coming next to Betty’s Cook Nook!
Texas : It’s A State Of Mind
Growing up in Texas I had no clue the true passion folks have for our country state. Nowadays it seems like most everything comes in the shape of Texas these days.
Blocks of cheese. Stepping stones. Sunglasses. Pencils. Coasters. Coffee Tables. Swimming pools. In the kitchen some of my most prized possessions include a Texas-shaped cutting board, ice cube trays, pasta, cookie cutters, a hamburger press and my very, very special Texas waffle maker. I’m not kidding!
For this recipe, when I saw “Texas” in the name I instinctively knew what I had to do – cut the cake into my favorite shape.
But sadly, when I realized this cake is actually made from a bundt pan (not a sheet cake), I decided to spare you all my creative talents attempting to “Tex-afy” this dish.
foodie tips ~
❤ If this were “fight club” turned “cooking club” the 1st rule of cooking club would be to clearly list all ingredients in your ingredients list! This is not the first time I skimmed a recipe (below), rushed to the store to fill-in my ingredient holes then when making the dish I discover that there were more ingredients buried deep, deep down in the recipe’s body copy. [ insert angry face here ]. This is my own fault of course and I hopefully will remember to read recipes from A-to-Z next time. Just note that I included all ingredients below – including those for the Whipped Cream Imperial – to make it easy for you to have the ingredient essentials at the ready. [ insert happy face here ].
❤ Instant coffee granules? Me, either. But surprisingly they worked magic in this dish. What else am I missing here? Coffee granule brownies? Instant coffee toffee (if only)? Chili con carne con coffee? That’s just wrong.
for the cake
2 sticks (1 cup) | butter, softened (my Grandmother Nanny insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
1 cup | Imperial brand brown sugar
½ cup | Imperial brand granulated sugar
4 | cage free eggs
1 ½ teaspoons | vanilla
1 ½ cups | water
1 tablespoon | instant coffee granules (this is not a typo)
4 cups | all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon | cocoa powder
5 teaspoons | baking powder
1 teaspoon | salt
1 cup | pecans, coarsely chopped
for the cream topping
1 cup | heavy cream
⅛ teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | vanilla
½ cup | Imperial brand brown sugar, sieved (sifted or strained)
ii. what to do
0. Heat It Up: Preheat oven to 350°F.
1. Make Dough: In a large mixing bowl using low speed, cream butter with the brown and white sugars until well combined. On high speed, add the eggs and cream them about five minutes. Add the vanilla, water and coffee granules and mix on low speed just to combine. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the dry mix to the wet mix on low speed just until all ingredients are well combined. Stir in the pecans by hand.
3. To Bake: Pour the dough into a 10″ tube pan that’s been greased on the bottom only. Bake in preheated oven about 55 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool your cake in the pan on a metal/wood cooling rack.
4. To Frost: To make the “Whipped Cream Imperial” topping combine by hand the four topping ingredients above (heavy cream, salt, vanilla and brown sugar). Chill the frosting mixture for 1 hour in the fridge. Beat with a chilled beater until stiff.
Serves: 12 or more slices of Texas Praline Cake
I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
PS ~ If you’re still reading this recipe you may be wondering why I didn’t include a picture of the cake frosted. Well, me and my gas oven are at odds these days and I think the thermostat is shot and my cake was over-cooked. It still had a good flavor but it was dry so I didn’t frost the cake. This is my second fail proving to me that creating kitchen masterpieces is not as easy as it sounds – especially when your oven hates you. My first fail? These red candy apples. Just looking at a picture of them makes my stomach sad.
I was really excited when I found this candy apple recipe in Mom’s cookbook.
After making my first batch, I was less than excited (more de–fla–ted) when I realized that I’ll need a little more practice before I become a master of the red apple makin‘.
While my failed attempt at creating the ultimate delight on a stick, give this a whirl and see if you can make a go if it.
Treats for eats rule!
12 | small red eating apples
3 cups | sugar
¾ cup | light corn syrup
1 cup | water
few drops | oil of cloves
a few drops | red food coloring or 12 red cinnamon candies
ii. the *special stuff*
iii. what to do
1. Wash apples in hot water, removing stems, then dry.
2. Insert skewer into the blossom end of each apple (the side of the apple opposite the stem side… a.k.a. the top).
3. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, mix sugar, corn syrup and 1 cup of water. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
4. Add the oil of clove and a little red food coloring.
5. Continue cooking without stirring until a small amount of the mixture forms a hard piece that cracks when dropped into cold water (when it reaches 290°F on a candy thermometer). Don’t cook over 290°F!
7. Stand apples on a parchment covered tray to cool and harden.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ Scare-up the best of Halloween foodie fusion ~ Drizzle or dip melted caramel on top of the apples for a doubly-delicious creation. Did somebody say caramel?
♥ Not sure how to clean your pot of the red sugary mixture? Don’t do what I did and leave it sitting out overnight; it’ll harden into a brick. Re-melt the mixture if necessary on the stove and empty it into a plastic bag and discard. Don’t pour it down the sink unless you want to invite clogs into your home.
♥ Go fresh. Use fresh eating apples and eat them soon after making them. I made the mistake of buying my apples before I had found my oil of clove, popsicle sticks and my new candy thermometer. A week later, the apples were s-a-d, making my finished treat a little meek.
♥ Don’t substitute your candy thermometer with a meat thermometer! The candy thermometer registers and calculates much higher temperatures than it’s meatier kissin’ cousin.
♥ I have a new appreciation for the love of candy apples. I’ll think twice about making vs. buying them next time! Truly a labor of love.