Today my Mom, Christy, is guest posting with a childhood memory and favorite family fudge recipe. Thanks, Mom!
Before my mother passed away in 1987, she gave her special, deep, cast iron skillet to her brother, John who loved to make old fashioned fudge. Until the 80's it was not considered old fashioned to cook fudge on the stove. When microwave ovens came out, the chocolate chip microwaved fudge became the way to make it, as most people had both parents working by then and no one had time to stir and watch thermometers. I believe my mom said the beloved skillet belonged to her dad, my grandpa Kiggins, who died before I was born. I was glad mom gave the skillet to Uncle John because I have such wonderful, magical memories of him making fudge at midnight and watching Johnny Carson with me and Aunt Paulette while we waited for it to set.
Uncle John, my mom's brother, and his wife, Paulette, would go get me when school let out in the summer. They'd take me to their house, which was four hundred miles away, and spoil me for a couple of weeks. I was nine years old the last time I remember going. They had two little boys, Johnny and Michael, so they loved having a little girl in the house. Uncle John worked the graveyard shift at the coal mine so he would get off work at midnight. Me, being used to my nine o'clock bedtime at home, thought it was great when Aunt Polly put my little cousins to bed and kept me up waiting for Uncle John. Quite often, he would come in the door with a joke and a wink and get out his cast iron skillet. Everyone had one in those days. The anticipation was almost as good as the fudge.
Today I made good old fashioned fudge and poured it into my mom's 8" X 8" square "fudge pan." When I was a kid it was always referred to as the "fudge pan" and mom gave it to me when I left home in 1974. As I sit here and eat my fudge, pleased that it did not "sugar," I think back to the summer of 1966 and miss my Uncle John, Aunt Paulette, and Johnny and Michael. Those days are gone but as mom once told me, "Chrissy, no one can take away your memories!"
The skillet and the fudge pan will most likely be passed on to the new generation as time goes on. Too bad pots and pans can't tell stories. Or, can they?
Part of the JOY is in the presentation. I used this pretty plate that my daughter made me in 2006 to serve my fudge. It became even more special in 2011 when she named my granddaughter, Kynthia Joy!
3 c. sugar
2/3 c. baking cocoa
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Butter an 8"X8" square pan. In a large cast iron skillet, stir together sugar, cocoa, salt and milk.
Cook over medium heat until it comes to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, WITHOUT stirring, to 234º degrees, making sure the thermometer does not rest on bottom of skillet. This can take up to 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until it thickens and looses some of its gloss. Pour into pan, cool, and cut into squares.