Here’s a Christmas recipe suggested by my novel The Sisters. Since COVID-19 has driven so many people to spend more time in their kitchens, taking the time to prepare treats they wouldn’t have thought of attempting before, this seemed a good time to share the recipe again. It’s easily adaptable: any unsweetened cocoa will do, or 3 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate in place of the cocoa and the first 3 tablespoons of butter. Instead of black walnuts, you can use any nuts you like, or leave the nuts out entirely. The black walnuts lend a distinctive flavor, but without them, you’ll still have a luscious dark chocolate fudge.
You’ll need to occupy yourself while the fudge cools before beating, so here’s the first chapter of The Sisters and the first chapter of my new novel, In Our Midst.
Here’s the recipe!
Bertie’s Black Walnut Fudge
A Recipe by Nancy Jensen
(in honor of Chapter Seven of The Sisters)
3 T. butter (6 T total for recipe)
10 T. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
–Melt butter in 3 qt heavy saucepan over low heat. Add ½ of the cocoa and stir into the melted butter.
¼ cup heavy cream
¾ cup whole milk
–Measure the cream and milk into a single cup. Add ¼ to the butter and cocoa mixture, stir in, then add the remaining cocoa, stir, and then the remaining milk and cream.
–Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the milk is scalded and the cocoa is well mixed in.
3 cups sugar
3 T. light corn syrup
1/8 t. salt
–Stir in the sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is fully dissolved.
–Cook without stirring until mixture reaches the soft ball stage (236 to 238 degrees on a candy thermometer.)
–Pour into a clean 2 qt saucepan that has a handle. Do not scrape the cooking pan. Set the fudge to cool on a rack and immediately add:
3 T. butter
Do not stir. Cool until lukewarm—until you can hold your hand on the bottom of the pan for several seconds without discomfort.
While the fudge cools, line a 9 x 9 pan with buttered parchment paper. Leave long edges so you can lift the cooled fudge out of the pan.
When the fudge is lukewarm, add:
1 ½ t. vanilla
Beat with a wooden spoon until the candy begins to thicken and lose its gloss. Stir in:
½ cup of chopped black walnuts.
Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing to the edges with the wooden spoon if it needs nudging. Mark into pieces with a sharp knife while still warm. When the fudge is cool, using the parchment paper, lift the block out onto a cutting board and slice through the marks with a thin, sharp knife.