Fudge, Fudge, and more Fudge
Fudge is beloved everywhere, but South has the deepest love of all. You won't escape fudge shops anywhere you go, from New Orleans to Charleston. It's easy to see why- lots of flavors, easy to make, perfect gifts, and consistency so smooth and rich that you just can't stop eating it.
Fudge is a perfect holiday treat and can be a token of your love for anybody in your life. In short, fudge goes with everything and everywhere. So why don't we try to make some fudge ourselves before diving in its tradition that is very much alive and has deep roots on Mackinac Island, Michigan – strangely not South at all! When it comes to our recipe, it's worth noting that you might be really bad at making candy and you will still be able to prepare heavenly fudge because it's that hard to destroy it.
Fudge like ours can be made on any cooking surface, like it has always been, or in the microwave. In our humble opinion, fudge shouldn't require any shortcuts, but if you like microwave for some reason, nobody will stop you from doing that.
Once you try making this fudge, it will be very important not to start doing it every 3 days or you might run into the danger of not fitting in any of your pants once this quarantine is over and you emerge from the self-imposed house arrest.
This is what you will need for the simplest fudge in the world:
- Sweet condensed milk
- Pieces of chocolate or cocoa powder and sugar
- Himalayan sea salt
- Vanilla extract or organic paste
- Nuts of your choice, which are also optional
The preparation on the stove:
Take a pot of choice, medium size and place your thickened sweet milk, chocolate pieces or cocoa with sugar, and salt. Stir all the products together on low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Once everything is combined, melted, and smooth, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the rest of the chosen products – vanilla and nuts. We love pecans, but you can use any nuts you want or no nuts at all. You can put dried fruit or berries of your choice. You can also use nutmeg instead of vanilla or not use anything at all. After one or two times of making original fudge like this, most people become obsessed with modifications. Go for it if you feel like it and make it your own!
After all the ingredients are combined and stirred, pour the mass into a dish lined with parchment paper, spread evenly and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
After 2 hours, take it out, lift your fudge out of the dish and slice into even squares. Viola!
If for some reason you decide to use microwave, the process is very similar: stir together condensed milk, salt, and chocolate pieces or cocoa and sugar mixture in a microwave safe dish. Heat the dish on 50% power setting for 30 second increments. Stir the mass after each such increment. It might take about 3 minutes of labor to produce smooth melted mass.
Take the bowl out of the microwave, add the rest of the ingredients, place in a lined dish, chill for 2 hours, and slice the fudge into squares.
Some useful tips for the fudge:
- Stick to condensed milk that is not low fat or fat free
- You can use whatever kinds of chocolate you prefer – sweet, semi-sweet, a blend of both, dark chocolate, white, or milk chocolate
- You can freeze your fudge as long as you wrap it tight and store in a freezer safe container
Now let's get back to Mackinac Island, which claims to be making the best fudge in the world. While we have to agree that it's good there, our vote goes to New Orleans still.
Fudge making has been blossoming on the island for over 100 years and they definitely got down to the magic of it. If you ever have a chance to find yourself on Mackinac Island, visit one of those shops and maybe you'll get some tips for your own recipe:
The shop was opened in 1887 and has been open ever since making 15 flavors of fudge, peanut brittle, and a ton of other sweets. You can observe the process, order online, and even buy wedding fudge favors that come in decorative boxes and serve as perfect gifts.
Joann's fudge comes in many flavors, but all start with fresh cream and butter. Their natural fudge is made daily, sports 29 flavors, and can be ordered online. The entire operation is family owned for 35 years.
Sanders On Mackinac
This sweets shop makes more than just fudge – bumpy cake, ice cream, caramel apples, fudge, and much more. The makers use secret recipes and only high quality ingredients for everything they make.
You can find lots of fudge here, and lots of candy. In addition to 14 flavors of fudge, expect to get seduced by English Toffee, Pecan Roll, Peanut Brittle, Coconut Squares, and Divinity.
Visitors can find three Ryba's fudge stores on the island and enjoy watching experts make this delicacy on their marble counters. You can't pass by without smelling the divine scent of fudge wafting into the street all around Ryba's shops.
Murray Hotel Fudge Shop
This shop is seasonal and open only from May to October, but when it is open, they experiment with various flavors and make fudge that you won't find anywhere else – blueberry cheesecake, tiger, coconut bon-bon, caramel apple pie, and something new each season.