Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and all chocolate lovers – whether single and ready to mingle or happily committed – can appreciate this homemade fudge. Studded with chopped macademia nuts, this fudge is rich, chocolatey, and smooth with just a bit of crunch from the nuts. And it’s been a family hit for decades, although I recently opted to swap out traditional walnuts for macademia nuts. Then again, any of your favorite nuts will do.
Like my pistachio and chocolate-topped toffee, fudge makes an always-devoured finger food dessert for dinner parties and a wonderful “just because law school left me with crippling debt while I also need to save up for my wedding” Christmas gifts “just because I love you enough to make you homemade candy” gifts to friends, family, and significant others.
If you’ve attempted to tackle my salted caramel or toffee recipes, you’ll already know my stance on the necessity of using a candy thermometer to preserve your peace of mind while also producing exceptional candy.
You’ll also know how important it is to get all your ingredients out and measured before you start because those last few minutes of candy making are both quick-moving and crucial to the end result. This is even truer for fudge because, after the sugar, butter, and milk reach the appropriate temperature, you must quickly stir in the chocolate and marshmallow creme before the mixture begins to harden, and then mix in the vanilla and chopped nuts before pouring out into the lined pan. It’s a lot to do in a fairly short period of time, but if you’ve already prepped everything, these last steps will be much less hectic.
I would also recommend heating the spatula you intend to use to scoop the marshmallow creme out of the jar by running hot water over it for a couple minutes beforehand, as this keeps the creme from sticking too badly to the spatula and eases its removal from the jar itself.
One more tidbit of advice is that this fudge easily makes enough for two separate occasions. When I made this recently, I was hosting dinner one night and then bringing dessert to a friend’s house the next, so I lined two 6-inch pans instead of one 9-inch pan to keep the fudge still pretty, intact and fresh!
Fudge with Chopped Macadamia Nuts
3 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter, room temperature
5 oz. (about 2/3 c.) evaporated milk
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
7 oz. marshmallow creme
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 c. macadamia nuts, chopped (optional – or other nuts of choice)
1 tsp. vanilla
Line 9-inch pan (or two 6-inch pans) with parchment paper or foil so that it hangs over the sides.
Over medium heat, bring butter, sugar and evaporated milk to boil. Stirring constantly, continue cooking until fudge reaches 234F. Remove from heat, and instantly add chocolate and marshmallow creme, stirring vigorously until completely melted. Stir in nuts (if using) and vanilla until evenly distributed, and immediately pour into prepared pan. Cool for an hour or two at room temperature, and allow to set completely in the refrigerator for another hour or so.
Do ahead: fudge can be prepared to this point, cooled, and stored: (a) at room temperature in an airtight container for 1 week; (b) in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks; or (c) in freezer, if double-wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed inside a freezer bag or other airtight container, for 2 to 3 months. Make sure to defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours before cutting into it.
Lift overhanging edges of parchment carefully to hoist fudge out of pan. Carefully remove parchmentfrom edges of fudge, and transfer fudge to serving plate. Cut into small squares, as this treat is very dense and rich.