Good morning and happy Christmas Eve day! I thought I should let you know – in this season of doing – what I haven’t been doing a lot of, and that is baking. I love, love, love to bake but I don’t really like having all the baked goods around the house for days and weeks after the actual baking has been done. I know many of you relate. It’s always a tug-of-war with me.
Most of my fun is had via the process of creating in the kitchen, and then after that from watching others enjoy it (it’s a big help that my family is so dedicated in this department). A tad bit of pleasure comes from trying a bite to check the outcome particulars but only momentarily. For the most part, food does taste better when you haven’t cooked it yourself. It’s nice to have a little distance from your subject on occasion.
To be honest, if I could live this way, I’d prefer eating just two foods. Salads and chocolate. On second thought, I would really miss the New Mexican food that we see a lot of here in the southwest that I so adore. So maybe three categories, tops. I’m certain that’s all my soul asks for most days to be comforted: extraordinary salads, good chocolate anything, and charred chile dishes with plenty of tomatillo sauce. I’m no different in that most of my days consist of mediocre salads. For the beautiful, new year coming, I’m making it my goal to have mostly extraordinary-salad-days. What do you think? New year resolution for 2021?
Whatever it was that I had on my mind to bake this holiday season though, it had to be one thing: decadent. No messing around. (Another good one for 2021. Let’s all go for what we really want.) What I really wanted was fudge.
It always brings me joy to get out my great-grandma Emily Peters’ fudge recipe. This year my kids joined me in the kitchen. Let’s face it: there would be marshmallows.
Grandma Peters began making fudge around 1940 after she and teenage daughter Julia, traveled west from Oklahoma, arriving in California after The Great Depression. Hard-working and fastidious and thrifty was the ethos of survival, and of Grandma to everyone who knew her.
Even as a young girl, I was aware that Grandma was open-minded about things, long before I knew about what “progressive” meant. She was a social democrat, and never missed a chance to uphold her right to vote. Her daughter Julia, told me about the 1932 election between Franklin Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover. Living out in the country in Oklahoma, Grandma asked a farmer neighbor for a ride into town to vote. After telling her he’d oblige only if she voted for Hoover, Grandma replied “I’d rather walk.”
She fiercely believed a woman should always be able to provide for herself (a value that continues on in the family). She did just that, through frugal and simple means. She saved what she could from her modest income working at a girl’s school in California doing the cleaning. Granddaughter Nancy recalls, “…that (although) Grandma had very little her entire life, she was a generous soul. I believe she lived on $600 a month in her later years. (Clipping) coupons allowed her to buy the ingredients she used for her fudge. Because (it was) something she could give that showed her love, she was very protective of who got it!”
We all will have stories told about us as a way of explaining who we were after we’re gone. One such about Grandma Peters is when she visited us one Christmas and brought with her a tin of her fudge. Also visiting were colleagues of my dad’s, and as one comrade reached out to sample Grandma’s fudge, she slapped his hand, saying “that’s not for you!”
Indeed, the original recipe was hers but further checking revealed the fudge was so sweet, it was hardly palatable. The addition of peanut butter, recommended by my uncle Matt decades ago, made this marshmallow, deep chocolate fudge what it is today.
Emily Peters’ Rocky Road Fudge
Makes 1 8″ x 8″ pan
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup walnuts (optional)
- 6 ounces miniature marshmallows
Generously butter 8″ x 8″ pan.
In a small pan over low heat, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter, stirring until combined and smooth. Remove from heat.
Stir in nuts, if using. Add marshmallows and stir until covered well with chocolate.
Pour into prepared dish. Cool for at least three hours. Enjoy!
I hope you have a great Christmas, whoever you’re with and whatever you do. xoxo