When I tired from lounging about the house on the long summer days, when I was a teenager, I would make fudge, my mother's recipe. Or rather I would attempt to make it. It's a tricky business, fudge is. Timing is crucial. If you don't boil it to just the right temperature, it won't harden, or it will turn the consistency of rock.
So, today, when I saw Sunshine still in her pajamas at noon, stretched across the couch, her nose deep in book, I suddenly recalled my mother's fudge, and decided that the girls and I must make it! (Hollywood doesn't like chocolate, if you can imagine!)
"Fudge brownies?" asked The Storm.
"No, just fudge."
"Oh, you poor deprived child!" I said, pulling out the sugar, two cups, to boil with a half cup of water.
My mother's recipe requires that you bring this to soft-ball stage. I didn't know what this meant, thirty years ago, which is why I would often end with a thick chocolatey goo, instead of fudge. Eventually, I learned just how long to boil the sugar and water, but now we have the internet and just this very second, I've learned that the soft-ball stage refers to: "A method of testing sugar syrup to see if it has boiled to the proper stage of cooking. It is the point when a drop of boiling syrup is dropped into cold water and forms a soft ball which will flatten on its own when removed. On a candy thermometer the temperature would have reached at least 234°F. but no more than 240°F."
We didn't have a candy thermometer, but I knew from the few hundred times I'd tried, that this hadn't boiled long enough.
Nor had this.
My mother can't remember where she got her recipe, but it was an important part of each every childhood birthday I had, perhaps moreso than cake. And now, I'm sharing it with you! Enjoy!
2 c sugar
1/2 c water
1/2 c butter
1/2 c cocoa
1 c flour
1 tsp vanilla
1. Boil sugar and water to soft-ball stage. (It should be well-boiled, so the mixture turns clear, but no too long beyond this.)
2. Stir in butter and cocoa.
3. Remove from stove.
4. Stir in flour and vanilla.
5. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
6. Cut into small squares to serve.