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December 8, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Chocolate confection goes great with Christmas

NEW CASTLE — A little sweet talk seems appropriate this time of year.

Candy has always been a great gift. Opening up a box of assorted chocolates and pondering which one to sample is a moment of pure indulgence.

My husband’s preference is maple creams. My mother loved chocolate-covered nuts. In this area, buckeyes — that irresistible meld of peanut butter and chocolate — are extremely popular. As for me — anything remotely associated with chocolate creates happiness.

Each year, I try to do some candy making on my own. Sometimes, it’s molded chocolate. On a few occasions, I’ve made truffles. And this year, I decided to go with fail-proof marshmallow creme fudge — a recipe that has been in the family for years.

Creating fudge has been somewhat touch-and-go for me. If the sugar particles aren’t completely dissolved, the result is a grainy substance that certainly isn’t appealing. Nobody likes tossing messy goo into the garbage, especially with the soaring costs of ingredients. But this one comes out great every time and includes another of my favorite ingredients — peanut butter.

Today’s offerings are not only easy, but they also make a fantastic, straight-from-your-kitchen gift that most anyone would appreciate.

There’s still time to submit your favorite holiday recipes to Culinary Conversation.

And I’ll enjoy my visit to candy land.

Microwave fudge

  • 1⁄2 cup light or dark corn syrup
  • 1⁄3 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 cups (18 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3⁄4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsps. vanilla
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

Line an 8-inch square pan with plastic wrap.

In a 3-qt. bowl that can be used in the microwave, stir corn syrup and milk until smooth. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

Stir in chocolate chips until melted.

Add powdered sugar, vanilla and nuts, if using. With wooden spoon, beat until thick and glossy. Spread in prepared pan.

Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

*For double peanut butter chocolate fudge: Prepare as directed above. With the powdered sugar and vanilla, stir in 1⁄3 cup super chunky peanut butter. Spread in prepared pan. Drop additional 1⁄3 cup peanut butter over fudge in small dollops. With small spatula, swirl fudge to marbelize. Chill and cut as above.

Truffles

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