Lola’s Cherry Chocolate Almond Fudge and other ramblings

Sparkly Party Outfit

Happy Friday Lovies!   Thanks again for indulging me in scaling back the writing for the holidays.   It’s been crazy over here.  Work end of year go-live shenanigans abound. House is decorated, post to come I promise. Mini Boobs made me a  crap ton of bows for my DIY  greenery swags this year and they look fabulous.    Cards have been sent and presents are planned.  The first big holiday party at the Lola house for the season is tomorrow, my Bad Gurls are coming!  Every year for  more than a few I have made fudge for gifts and parties. this started when I got invited to one of those Holiday Cookie Exchange parties and I don’t bake.  I’ve talked about this before, baking is too exact for me.  I  can do it, but I much more enjoy something like fudge which is more about ratios and fiddling, like normal cooking. Plus technically fudge is kind of like making a sauce, and I love making sauces!   This year we headed to Trader Joe’s to gather most of our ingredients.  My first  fudge obligation was the Division meeting at work on Tuesday. Saturday night The Husband and I attended the work Casino Christmas Party.   Shorty helped me shop via  pic texting.  We chose well, I felt great. the Husband looked great and we had an absolute blast.  I parked my butt at the craps table all night and turned in $4500 in chips at the end of the night.  It wasn’t enough to win the top 3 prizes but i got my fix in a BIG way!  can’t wait until next year!  We got home quite late and I got up early on Sunday ready to tackle the fudge. Five hours later, with help, I was done!  We are all set for gifts and parties this year.

Cherry Chocolate Almond Fudge

I can’t really take full credit for this recipe. It started out as the Pampered Chef easy 5 minute fudge recipe a few years ago and over the years I have adapted it to where it stands today.  For each single batch this is what you need. I make it in triple batches at a time so I can just dump the whole can of sweetened condensed milk in. Plus last year I tried making all 7 batches at once at though it turned out ok, it was a mixing nightmare.

1 12oz bag of  chips.  I mixed dark and semi-sweet and a ratio of 1  dark to 2 semi sweet.

1 can Betty Crocker frosting of your choice, I prefer the ones with Hersheys in them.  I mixed dark and milk and cherry to make the 3 cans for the triple batch

1/2 cup slivered almonds.  More or less depending on your taste.

1/3-2/3 cups  dried cherries. More or less depending on your taste. I mixed Bing and Montmerency

1tsp almond or vanilla extract

1/3 can sweetened condensed milk. This adds shiny smoothness and I forgot it in the first batch, which was not as pretty but tasted just the same. It strictly a for looks thing.

Start by turning your stove on low to medium low, it is VERY important to DO NOT over heat this or it will get gritty and yucky.  Gently melt and stir all the frosting together first.  Once that is done stir in the chips until they are melted.

While chocolate is melting I place the almonds and cherries toegther in a glass bowl and kind of mix them up with my hands. then I microwaved the mixture in 3 bursts of 30 seconds each, stirring in between. this heats up the nuts and cherries and  starts the release of the natural oils in both.  This makes for yummier fudge and allows you to get it from pan to freezer faster.

Once your frosting and chips are properly melted, but not overcooked, I dump in the add-ins, sweetened condensed milk and extract.  Stir a little bit more and you are ready to get it out of the pan.

You have a couple of choices here.  There is the dump in multiple pans, freeze and then break your wrist cutting huge rows of fudge later method. Or this year I had the brilliant idea that I would make the fudge “prettier” by scooping it into mini muffin cups.   I’m not going to lie to you, both of these methods suck for huge amounts of fudge.  However I am sticking to the scooping method from now on.  I used the Pampered Chef little metal scoop with the metal sweeper thingy that helps you get it out.  If you choose this method it is best to turn off the heat and let it cool a bit before you start scooping.   Each triple batch makes roughly 150 pieces of fudge in mini muffin cups.  By the end I made The Husband do the scooping because my right wrist was shot. The kids had friends over and the girls helped with the fudge transfer.  I also think I ended up using every available pan in the house and a few from the neighbors for staging the cups into the freezer.  It took almost all my big Tupperware to house the end results.

6 pieces is roughly a 1/4 pound of fudge.

Strawberry Chocolate Fudge

My Boss teasingly asked if I was making strawberry for her instead of cherry.  So I decided to find some strawberries and give it a try. I found a bag at trader Joe’s of dried ones and used them.  I just dumped the whole bag in. It’s ok, but next time I’m going to chop them up in smaller pieces and re-hydrate them a tiny bit.   You don’t want too much additional liquid. I was hoping the mixture would soften them up a bit, and it did but not as much as I would of liked. It was also the very last batch and 5 hours past when I started. I;m still on the fence if this batch is good enough to give her, so if I give it a take 2 I will report back with the results.

Here are the pics. Enjoy!!!

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