I walk past a shop with a sign announcing Handmade Fudge for sale and a patriotic teddy bear sitting on a bench in front of the shop. I feel an emotional pang. Buy fudge to support the economy? No. Eating fudge is American? Well, fudge is sold at lake resort towns throughout the Midwest. Go to Mackinac Island’s main street that is lined with fudge shops. No. I make a mental connection that handmade fudge equals homemade fudge, homemade food. A recipe for handmade Black Forest Fudge Squares is at the end of the post.
Homemade fudge and home cooking always seems to taste better. Aunt Mary’s stuffed dumplings prepared from scratch. Grandma’s Sunday roast chicken dinner with all the fixings. Cousin Tony’s barbeque spare ribs cooked slowly on a grill. A homemade dish or dessert is forever associated in my memory with the person who prepared it.
Old fashioned recipes are crafted over time. The table is filled with old-fashioned dishes at family reunions, graduations and holiday celebrations. The dishes have the personal touch of the person who cooked it. The event feels complete because food–and the time, energy and skill to prepare it–is shared and appreciated.
When I am miles away from home and I eat handmade, homemade or old-fashioned meal; I feel like I am home.
Make or bake some handmade memories today to share.
Handmade Black Forest Fudge Squares Recipe
I tinkered with this recipe that a family member shared with me.
½ cup sifted cake flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar ( Splenda or sugar substitute use ¾ cup sugar)
2 ½ squares bittersweet baking chocolate, melted
1/3 cup butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or hazelnuts
½ cup chopped dried cherries
Mix and sift flour, baking powder and salt. Beat eggs until light and fluffy, add sugar gradually and beat well. Blend melted chocolate and butter together over while warm. Add vanilla extract, chopped nuts and cherries to combined dry ingredients. Add egg and sugar mixture with chocolate and butter mixture and lightly beat. Blend wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Mix well. Bake at 325 Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes. Cool it off before cutting into 2 dozen squares.
Here are some additional variations on the fudge squares recipes for new flavor twists:
Chocolate Espresso Squares: Skip the dried cherries. Add 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso to dry ingredients and use walnuts or hazelnuts.
Apricot and Fudge Squares: Replace dried cherries with unsulphured dried apricots and use pecans.
Uptown Squares: Replace dried cherries with dried, candied orange peel and use hazelnuts or walnuts.
Banana Fudge Squares: Replace dried cherries with dried banana chips and use walnuts or pecans.
Sweet & Spicy Squares: Add some heat. Use dried cherries and add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon (based on your preference) of chili powder (not chili or chili mix seasoning) and use walnuts or pecans. The chili intensifies the flavor of the chocolate.