Quick & Easy: Carnation's Famous Chocolate Fudge

Today, I find myself in need of a last minute dessert idea for a New Year's Eve celebration, and it eases my mind to think that I am not the only one who has procrastinated on this front. So, if you're in a bind and you need a down-and-dirty, knock-it-out-in-less-than-an-afternoon, sure-to-please-a-crowd treat, I suggest you try these little chocolate fudge squares. They're simple, rich so you can slice them into teensy little squares and people will still be happy (or, you know, just eat twice as many squares, but either way they're happy). And to let you in on a little secret, it's just the Carnation (evaporated milk) recipe.

I wouldn't call this Floptimism's Officially Endorsed Chocolate Fudge Recipe - although it just about floored L's family on Christmas, I found them to be...nice. Don't get me wrong, I could sit there and eat the whole container, the ensuing belly ache pretty worth it in the end. They're decadent and very chocolatey, but in the end, I think nearly all of the flavor is attributable to the chocolate chips. And I don't want to add 4 ingredients to chocolate chips and then only taste the chocolate chips. If I wanted that, I could just melt some chocolate chips and lick the bowl, for a bunch less calories. So, although these are certainly delicious, a sure-fire crowd pleaser, and an excellent way to use up leftover evaporated milk or pull together a last minute dessert, I have not ended my Perfect Fudge Hunt.

Carnation's Famous Fudge, courtesy of Very best Baking
Yield: About 3 dozen squares

The Ingredients
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt (omitted)
2 cups mini marshmallows*
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional (omitted - but very interested in how it would turn out with them in)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Method
Line an 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil and set aside. Add the sugar, milk, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Allow the mixture to come to a full, rolling boil, and continue stirring constantly for another 4-5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts (if using), and extract. Stir vigorously for an additional one minute or so, or until the marshmallows have fully melted.

Pour the mixture into the baking pan and allow it to chill for around 2 hours or until set and firm. I would recommend going beyond this 2 hours if possible, as it's a naturally soft fudge that can be slightly challenging (though nowhere near impossible) to slice.

Lift from the pan and carefully remove the foil, using a knife if necessary to pull out any stubborn aluminum foil that has torn away from the main piece and clung to the fudge. Slice into at least 36 pieces; the recipe I linked you to claims it will make 48, but I just got slightly over 3 dozen, which is what other Carnation Fudge sources say (same recipe otherwise, though).
At this point I pressed some red and green sprinkles onto the tops, but you could do this before chilling the fudge for a less tedious process (or omit it altogether). If making ahead, store in an airtight container in a cool place; refrigeration is ideal, but not necessary.

*Note: I didn't have mini-marshmallows, so I attempted to cut up normal sized ones. This is beyond a pain, so I would highly encourage you to go for the minis unless, like me, this truly is crunch-time and regular is all you have. If that's the case, I found it easiest to start with them cold (we keep ours in the freezer), and take some kitchen shears and just slice them up into smaller pieces so they would melt at about the same rate as the minis. I also approximated the amount (roughly 1/2 of a 10-oz. bag), since once they're cut and sticky, they condense more than whole mini marshmallows do.

The website also includes some suggestions for mixing up the flavor, which would definitely be appealing, but I don't know that you really need additional recipes for that. Change up the extracts, add in some candy, make a flavored swirl - I encourage you to use your imagination. Or you could just stick to the classic chocolate - you can never go wrong with that.

I'm sure I'll be back with another post tomorrow - maybe even the brownie recipe that left me with extra evaporated milk (the entire reason for choosing this fudge recipe in the first place). But if not, I hope everyone has a Happy and a Healthy New Year!

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