Category Archives: Desserts and Cakes

OH Fudge!!!!

We are recovering from our Christmas stupor, barely able to button the pants and tighten up the corset but before we leave Christmas and head into the New Year I want to share one last recipe from one of my guests at our Christmas Dinner. This comes from Dannie’s Grandmother Lee and it is a recipe for Fudge. Now, I personally have never made fudge. It is something that I always bought from a candy store. My husband is a fudge freak. Every time we go somewhere and there is a store selling fudge he has to buy a ½ pound. I mean, we have bought fudge in France; Solvang, California and Fredericksburg, Texas. If there’s fudge in the area, he sniffs it out like a hungry lion.

Anyway, I’m not a real sweets lover but I got to tell you, this fudge is the most creamiest (I know bad grammar but it get the point across), melts in your mouth fudge that I have ever tasted. Literally as you eat a piece it dissolves in your mouth, covering your tongue, leaving a very pleasant, satisfying lingering flavor, like what happens with a good wine. I urge you to try this recipe and “See” for yourself.

Grandma Lee’s Fudge



  • ½ lb. Margarine
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate bits
  • 1 cups nuts
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 8 marshmallows into small bits
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 small can of Pet or Carnation Evaporated Milk. Essentially about ¾ cup.

Place 2 cups of sugar and the evaporated milk into a pot and boil for 7 minutes. Remove pot from stove and add in small pieces of the butter, marshmallows, vanilla and chocolate pieces. Don’t forget the nuts (if you are allergic or don’t like them leaving them out). Pour concoction into a 3” X 9” X 12” greased pan and set in the refrigerator until it solidifies. Cut into the desired size pieces.

Grandmother Lee’s original recipe

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The Chemistry of Fudge

I got this from Wikipedia because like what Monsanto said, “better living through chemistry.”  Cooking is chemistry and fudge is a perfect example. Making fudge or the forming of the fondant needs to be done with care. “The controlling of the crystallization of the supersaturated sugar solution is the key to making smooth fudge. Initiation of crystals before the desired time will result in fudge with fewer, larger sugar grains.” The final texture would then have a grainy mouth feel rather that than the smooth texture that is desired.

As I said, Grandma Lee’s fudge is the smoothest I have ever tasted. Leave it to all those wonderful Grandmothers out there!!!! Without all those old recipes we would not know what real food was.


Like the discovery of penicillin or the chocolate “chip” cookie, fudge was more than likely a mistake in an attempt to make something else. It is believed that the first batch was the result of an accidental / messed-up “fudged” batch of caramels. Henceforth the name “fudge.” I can just image that little ole’ lady in her kitchen looking at her messed up caramels and being a good woman she didn’t want to say what she wanted to say and substituted the word “fudge.”   As the story goes, a letter written by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, says that her schoolmate’s cousin make fudge in Baltimore, Maryland in 1886 and was sold for 40 cents a pound. Hartridge got a hold of the recipe and in 1888 make 30lbs for Vassar College Senior Auction. It became very popular, spreading from campus to campus.  In the late 19th century Mackinac Island in Michigan began to commercially produce Fudge. And as they say the rest in Foodistory.

HOLIDAY FRUITCAKE – Do you really want to make this

First of all, if you actually want a fruitcake this year you are going to have to go out and buy it. It takes several days to make the cake and then it needs about a month to two months to “cure” … like concrete.  Actually ageing is the more proper word in this case. In making your cake don’t think you have to adhere to any special recipe. It’s very simple, choose the fruits you like and bake your cake. It’s that simple – well kind of. Let’s start with the ingredients:


  • ½ cup of fruits (your choice) – Pineapple, raisins apricots, dates, ginger. It’s your cake – go for it!
  • 1 cup chopped of chopped cherries
  • ½ cup of your favorite nuts – I like pecans – most people seem to prefer walnuts.
  • ¾ – 1 cup of your favorite “spirit.” Rum seems to be the liquor of choice. I’ve waked into rooms where a Rum Fruitcake was featured and the smell alone got me drunk. If you don’t like hard spirits try your favorite wine. Inclined not to use liquor or wine? Try your favorite juice like apple or cranberry.
  • A good cake mix

The thing to remember here is to take your time and do it in stages. First prepare your fruits and nuts by pouring your liquor (or juice) of choice over them and let the mixture sit covered for two or three days. This will ensure that the liquid is well absorbed into the fruit.

On the day you intend to bake the cake prepare your cake mix according to the instructions and add in your fruit and nut mixture.

The key to a successful fruit cake is to bake it ssslllooowww (slow)! Line the baking pan(s) with brown paper or wax paper. This will prevent the cake(s) from burning, remember you are going to bake for a lllooonnnggg (long) time. Here’s a Shay Gourmet Hint: Place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven to keep the cake from drying out.

Pre-heat oven to no higher than 325 degrees – lower the better. Do not go by baking times. Remember baking is chemistry and you’ve kind of changed the chemical make-up of the cake mix. Bake your cake to temperature. Test doneness by using a cake tester placed in the center of the cake. You want it to come out moist but not doughy.

Once the cake is finished baking let it cool. Turn it, the cake, out of the pan and carefully peel off the paper. Now you are going to store it away for aging – like a fine wine. Wrap the cake with cheese cloth, liberally brush or sprinkle your liquor (or juice) of choice that you used in this recipe. Seal the cake in plastic wrap or sealed container and once a week brush it with more liquor (or juice).

After about 4-8 weeks you are ready to go.

The cake will freeze very well but must age at least four weeks, longer is better.