A friend of mine gave me a box of fudge today. I think it a lovely gift: special because she made it for me and carrying with it a kind of old-timey charm. Of course it tastes very good too!
Fudge really is an old-time treat, very similar to a sweet called tablet, which is noted in The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie (1692-1733). Tablet is still enjoyed in Britain, especially in Scotland. Although harder than fudge and more granular in texture, it contains similarly high amounts of sugar and butter, which allow it to melt in the mouth.
Sometime after its arrival in North America, fudge was adapted to include cocoa or chocolate. Chocolate fudge is the now most widely consumed version of this sweet. Fudge can be made without chocolate though; in many other flavours. Brown sugar fudge, vanilla fudge, maple fudge, and peanut butter fudge are all fairly common and, if you visit a specialty store, you are likely to find an even greater variety.
My gift box contains a very smooth chocolate fudge made with marshmallow cream. It’s the first fudge recipe that I ever learned so I was delighted to know that my friend uses it too. The recipe used to be printed on the back of the Kraft marshmallow cream jar. I don’t know if it still is, but if you can’t find the recipe on the jar the Million Dollar Fudge recipe in the Fanny Farmer Cookbook is very similar.
Fudge is not an everyday treat. Goodness knows it’s too sweet and too rich to be indulged in on a regular basis, but next time you are in need of a hostess gift, a birthday gift or just a thinking-of-you kind of treat, you might consider making some. The smile you receive in return will be worth the effort.