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Friday I will be in kitchen, not in stores

I guess you’ve seen the list going around on Facebook where you list things about yourself that few people know about you. Well, here’s one of mine — I love the day after Thanksgiving. Probably the first thing that comes to your mind is that I’m a crazy shopping woman who heads out for the sales, not at all. Or maybe I get all of my Christmas decorating done in one day, nope, I save that for Saturday and Sunday.

The day after Thanksgiving finds me in front of my fireplace with dozens of cookbooks, scraps of paper, computer humming and a large cup of coffee. That’s the day I plan my food gifts for the Christmas season, figure out my grocery list and make out my delivery schedule (always centered on when Emily will be home to help.)

For several years I’ve made a candy mixture that is held together with white chocolate and my family calls it reindeer crunch. It’s easily packaged in tins or decorative bags and everyone seems to love it. This year I’m doing tins of mixed treats, so I’ll be making more items, but each tin will only have two or three of each goodie.

I’m definitely including these two fudge recipes because they are a delicious break from the chocolate fantasy fudge (which is my favorite recipe). Also, they are very rich so you need to cut them into little squares or other shapes and that means one recipe goes a long way.

 

This recipe calls for eggnog flavoring. I usually order mine from any number of baking sites on the Internet, however last week I found it at the Fresh Market in Jackson, so you can check the one in Baton Rouge if you are down that way. Go ahead and order it, first of all this fudge is delicious and next week I have a new eggnog cookie that you can use it in also.

 

Eggnog Fudge

2 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 3/4 cups heavy cream

7 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon eggnog flavoring

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 cups chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips

 

Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and then lightly grease the parchment. Combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the white chocolate in a deep, heavy 8 to 10 quart pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until smooth. You need all of the sugar to have dissolved or your fudge will be gritty.

Boil until the mixture reaches 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the chocolate into the sugar mixture, a handful at a time, stirring until smooth. Pour the mixture into the parchment-lined pan. You need to do this fairly quickly as the fudge sets up pretty fast. You can store this at room temperature but you need to wrap it up airtight.

 

Peanut Butter Fudge

1 cup evaporated milk

2 cups sugar

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup butter

1 cup mini marshmallows

1 1/3 cups peanut butter, chunky or smooth

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Lightly butter a 8-inch square pan, place a piece of parchment in the bottom of the pan and lightly butter it. In a heavy saucepan, about 8 quarts size, combine the milk, sugar, butter and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar is completely dissolved.

Continue heating until the mixture comes to a full, rolling boil. Boil without stirring for 8 to 10 minutes or until it reaches 234 to 235 degrees on your candy thermometer. When it reaches that temp, remove from the heat and stir in the marshmallows, peanut butter and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and allow it to cool before covering airtight and storing at room temperature.

 

Christina Hall writes a weekly food column for The Democrat. She can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.

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