Growing up, one of my holiday traditions was making fudge. When I was probably 12 or 13, I started to get really into learning how to cook. One year, my mom showed me the back of a Fluff container for a recipe entitled “NEVER FAIL FUDGE.” For those of you who don’t know Fluff, it’s kind of like liquified marshmallows and is used in place of jelly to make a peanut butter and fluff sandwich. It’s made in New England (Lynn, MA) and there’s even a Fluff Festival in Somerville.
My mom and I bought all of the ingredients and fired up the stove. She got out an old, scraped up aluminum pan that was my grandfather’s (her father’s). An hour later we poured 5 pounds of fudge into the pan and my mind was blown. It was a chocolate-lover’s paradise. We made 5 pounds of fudge for, like, $10. It became a yearly tradition and I gave it to people around the holidays.
My grandparents (Dad’s side) were probably the biggest fudge fans. Even though there were years I wanted to skip, I had no choice but to make at least one batch for my grandparents.
The reason I wasn’t very consistent with the fudge was that while it’s supposed to be Never Fail Fudge… it failed all the time. It was super inconsistent. Sometimes I had to throw out entire batches. One year I made my uncle his very own 5-pound batch which turned out to have the consistency of hot fudge. Most of the time, the fudge came out fine but it was always super hard to cut. Most likely all the failure was self imposed. I wasn’t much of a baker. Apparently, I inherited my maternal grandfather Eddie’s cooking style, where everything is guesstimated. Guessing doesn’t work well for baking. The other thing? As the years went on, Fluff started releasing revisions to their recipe!
My wife Katie and I moved in together and started experimenting with the fudge. I learned to slow down a bit and actually level off the sugar. A few years ago, we ran a chocolate experiment. The recipe calls for 24 ounces of chocolate chips. We tried a couple different amounts of chips — 20 ounces, 23 ounces and 26 ounces — eventually settling on the magic number of 22 ounces.
So there you have it. Never Fail Fudge actually never fails if you use 22 ounces of chocolate.
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