Can’t Fail Fudge (with Bacon)
August was so proud of herself last night because she contributed to the Bacon Blow Out dinner party by making her famous fudge! This recipe was passed to her by her grandmother and the name “Can’t Fail Fudge” came with it – however, over the years August found plenty of ways to make it fail. She perfected the recipe with some tweaking, so if you follow it to the T, she promises that you won’t fail. You don’t even need a candy thermometer.
Her personal preference is for smooth fudge, but sometimes she’ll add a half cup of chopped walnuts. For last night she swapped the walnuts for bacon, and the fudge turned out to be the gilded lily that was loved by all our guests.
Makes 28 pieces
8 cups of mini marshmallows (DO NOT substitute marshmallow fluff or large marshmallows)
2 10.5 oz. packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips (DO NOT substitute milk chocolate chips)
3 cups of white sugar
1 1/3 cups of evaporated milk (just under a whole can)
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, and drained bacon (do this well beforehand)
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
A key to not failing is having everything prepared before you start cooking. Once the fire is lit under the marshmallows, you cannot leave the stove. Start by putting on a long-sleeve shirt because the marshmallow, as it boils, will spit at you and can burn your skin.
Line a 9″x13″ glass baking dish with parchment paper (NOT wax paper or foil). Place something heavy on the parchment paper to keep it down, ready for the time to pour in the fudge. Keep the dish near the stove.
Open the packages of chocolate chips and have them at hand. Also have your vanilla extract bottle open and a teaspoon with it. Divide the cooked bacon into two portions; half will be mixed into the fudge, and half will be pressed in the top.
Actual cooking process begins here, be prepared to stay by the stove:
Put the butter and marshmallows in a large pot (DO NOT use a non-stick pot). Add the sugar and evaporated milk, and with a heat-resistant spatula or a wooden spoon, stir so that the marshmallows are evenly wetted by the evaporated milk and you no longer see grains of sugar.
Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping down the sides and bottom of the pot. Keep stirring, and slowly you’ll see the marshmallows start to melt.
Just keep stirring and scraping. Stirring will help keep the marshmallows from boiling prematurely.
Once the marshmallows have fully melted, continue stirring and scraping until you reach a very low boil.
“Boil” might not be the best word for it, but you will see air bubbles gently traveling up and popping. The sign of readiness is when the bubbles appear and the mixture starts to bowl up from the side of the pot (notice the picture). At this time, it will look like the mix has nearly doubled in size, which is why you need to make sure to use a large enough pot. If it bubbles too high to the top of the pot before it “boils,” take it off the heat for no longer than 5 seconds, then return it to the stove and keep stirring.
As soon as the marshmallows are fully melted and the mix is “boiling,” reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring and scraping for 5 minutes. You will see the mixture decrease in size and resemble loose cake batter by the time 5 minutes are done.
Remove from heat, add the chocolate chips and vanilla extract, and stir vigorously. If you don’t stir quickly enough, you have the potential to burn the chocolate.
Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom so as to incorporate all the marshmallow mix with the chocolate.
Once the chocolate chips are melted and the elements are fully blended, stir in half of the bacon pieces.
Pour the fudge into the lined glass baking dish. Work quickly to scrape out all the fudge from the pot. Shake the glass dish to distribute the fudge to the edges.
Evenly sprinkle the remaining bacon over the top. For the bacon to stay in place, keep it in a single layer so that each piece comes in contact with the fudge. Lightly press into the fudge to gain purchase.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before cutting in 1 1/2″ squares. Pull the fudge with the parchment paper out of the glass dish, peel off the parchment paper, and transfer to a cutting board to cut.