Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Delight Out of Disaster - Nikki Andrews

Delight Out of Disaster--A Christmas Tradition
Nikki Andrews

My dad’s maiden Aunt Mabel was a big, hearty woman who could swing a bat or lay patio stone as well as any man. Her eyes crinkled when she laughed--and she laughed a lot--and she invariably took charge of any group she found herself in. Including her church, the little community where she had a summer cottage, and any family gathering. We were a big family, and we gathered often. Mabel was always the one organizing games, chores, or sing-alongs, and she always had a passel of kids around her.

Mabel delighted in children, birds, and wordplay. She was the one who ignited the family passion for reversing and mangling words. “Pass the tlas and reppep!” “I need the rugas and klim!” “Let’s have ghettispa and meatblubs!”

When I was in my early teens, she decreed I needed to learn to make “mooshmellow foodge” for Christmas treats. Marshmallow, butter, sugar, chocolate, cream--what could go wrong? Not much, really, and for years I made fudge every Christmas. It was easy and reliable, if messy, and produced five pounds of candy in every batch. My kids loved helping, though they got bored with the long boiling step.

Except for one Christmas. I’ve never figured out what went wrong, but the fudge never set. Did I add too much cream? Not enough sugar? Was I chasing a five-year-old when I should have been stirring? Whatever the cause, my planned gifts of prettily packaged fudge ended up as a thick, gooey mess of…mooshmellow sludge?

I cried. Mabel, by that time no longer able to cook, had been looking forward to my fudge. It was one of those years when I couldn’t afford to try again. What a disaster!

The glop sat in the fridge for a day or two, until I noticed it was disappearing. Evaporating? Nope, the kids were licking up fingerfuls. And thus was born a new dish--Spoon Fudge! I put it in jars, tied on wooden ice cream spoons, and made Mabel laugh.

Herewith is the recipe I use, printed on containers of marshmallow fluff. If yours turns out to be Spoon Fudge, let me know what you did right.

Marshmallow Fudge
5 cups sugar
10 oz evaporated milk
¼ pound butter
16 oz marshmallow fluff
1 tsp salt (I usually leave out)
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
24 oz. chocolate chips.

1. Combine sugar, milk, butter, fluff, salt and vanilla in a very large saucepan or Dutch oven over low heat. Stir until blended.
2. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Boil slowly, stirring constantly, for five minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate and nuts until chips are melted. Pour into a buttered 9x13 pan and cool. Cut into 1” chunks to serve.

Please visit my blog,, for my recipe for Killer Pancakes and a sneak preview of my cozy mystery, Framed. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Elizabeth Delisi said...

Sounds like you made lemonade out of lemons. Good for you!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Nikki,

I love your story! I didn't know you had a novel with Wild Rose. Congrats!

Nikki said...

Thanks, Liz and Jacqui. I've already stocked up on choco chips and fluff.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

It's frustrating when a recipe doesn't come out the way it should.
Thanks for sharing. :)

I wish you the best! Happy Holidays!

Debra St. John said...

My hubby tried making fudge one year and it turned into a hardened brick of...yuckiness. We would have needed a chisel or a machete to cut pieces out of it.

Spoon Fudge sounds delightful!

Carol Henry said...

Nikki, OMG. Just reading your tale about making fudge puts me in the mood this year. I haven't made fudge at Christmas time in years. Thanks.

Nikki said...

Karen, Debra and Carol, thanks for your comments. Making fudge is such a tradition in our family, I think I'd be drummed out if I didn't do it. Fudge can be tricky, but this is the easiest recipe I've ever found. I think the secret is to heat it slowly and stir constantly.

One day I'll tell you about cream cheese eggs...

Nancy Means Wright said...

The fudge sounds delicious,Nikki. Or should I say, 'malicious'!
Congrats on the new novel, Framed.
And great that it's coming out from Wild Rose Press!

Maria K. Alexander said...

Hi Nikki. If I made fudge, I'd be afraid it wouldn't make it out the door! I enjoyed your story and your recipe. Congratulations on your release.

Lilly Gayle said...

How incredibly creative. My biggest kitchen disaster was meringue. It was just a bowl of sticky, gooey, too sweet liquid. Not even the cat would eat it. But the ants loved it.

Nikki said...

No malice intended, Nancy, just insidious temptation :)

Maria, I have to package the fudge as soon as it's cooled, or I'd mainline it myself. Chocolate is the universal solvent of self-control.

I sympathize about the meringue, Lilly. Absolutely useless if it fails. Unless, of course, you have an ant farm.

rougebolo said...

I have done this before. I think it is from not letting the sugar get to tmep before adding the chocolate. My children ate it with a spoon too

Kathy McIntosh said...

Fun tale with a smooth ending, that sounds yummy.

Nikki said...

rougebolo--aha! Now I know what to do when I *want* it to be spoon fudge!

Kathy McIntosh--glad you enjoyed it.