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As a holiday tradition, I gift a variety (20 flavors, out of at least 28 rotating flavors) of homemade fudges to friends and family. It started with just a few flavors, but everyone seemed to offer suggestions for new ones. As a Michigander, everyone looks forward to the most famous fudge around-that found on Mackinaw Island. In this Instructable I will show you how to make fudge that will rival this regional favorite with flavors you won’t find on the island such as Bailey’s Irish Cream, Rum Chatta, Kahlua and Cream, etc. For what specialty shops charge for a small slice of fudge, I will show you how to make a more unique fudge in greater quantities for a fraction of the cost. The possibilities for flavors are only limited by your imagination. At then end, I provide many of the recipes I’ve already created. You will be so popular you will have friends of friends asking how they can get on your fudge distribution list. As a friend, recently said “Mackinaw Island Beware”.

Step 1: Ingredients and Materials

For the primary example, I will profile my most popular flavor, Chocolate Cherry Almond (aka I Just Lost My Cherry Almond Fudge). At the end of the Instructable, you will have learned the necessary skills to reproduce the other flavors with only slight variations as I’ve detailed. And as you’ll discover in many of the recipes, we like our booze.

Ingredients, Base (common to all flavors)

  • 1.5 sticks of butter
  • 5 oz of evaporated milk
  • 3 cups sugar, white granulated
  • 7 oz jar of jet-puffed marshmallow creme (or fluff)
  • 12 oz or more of baking chips (type varies based on desired favor, substitute as show under additional ingredients)

Additional Ingredients for Chocolate Cherry Almond

  • 16 oz maraschino cherries, chopped into quarters or sixths (reserve 1-3 tablespoons of the juice)
  • Cherry extract, 2 to 3 tablespoons (to taste)
  • Almond extract, 1 to 2 tablespoons (to taste)
  • 2 to 6 oz of sliced or slivered almonds
  • 12 oz of semi-sweet or milk-chocolate baking chips (or morsels)

Utensils

  • Light weight 5-quart Dutch oven (or soup pan). The lighter the better, as you’ll be lifting it with one hand. Mine is a Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware, Dutch Oven, 5-quart.
  • Sturdy wide spatula
  • Wood spoon
  • Measuring spoon, tablespoon
  • Parchment non-stick baking paper
  • 9”x13” pan (glass, metal, or corningware)
  • Liquid measuring cup (for fudge involving alcohol)
  • Food scale (optional) for measuring nuts.
  • Clean dish towels for covering fudge overnight

Step 2: Prep-Work

Pre-line a 9x13 pan with the parchment paper. Pre-open the baking chips, marshmallow fluff, and extracts. Pre-measure any nuts, or alcohol that will be added. This is so you won’t be futzing with it during the boiling process.

Step 3: Add Initial Ingredients and Heat

Add butter, evaporated milk, and sugar to the Dutch pan. Stir the sugar into the evaporated milk and break the butter into pieces using a wooden spoon. Melt over medium heat with frequent stirring.

Step 4: Add Marshmallow and Baking Chips

Once it reaches a rolling boil, set a timer for 4 minutes. Boil over medium heat while stirring frequently. When 4 minutes is up, reduce heat slightly to medium-low. Use spatula to remove the marshmallow creme from the container, and scrape onto the side of the pan. Use a wooden spoon to stir in thoroughly to the rest of the mixture. Stir until well melted and mixed in. Now stir in the baking chips. Continue stirring until baking chips are somewhat melted (does not need to be fully melted, as they will continue to melt… and if you wait too long it will be difficult/thick to pour out of the pot.

Step 5: Add Remaining Ingredients

Add the extra ingredients specific to the fudge you are making, for example: nuts, extracts, alcohol, or other flavorings. In the case of Cherry Almond, you will also add the cherries and the reserved cherry juice. Stir well.

Step 6: Pour Into 9"x13" Pan

Lift Dutch oven with one hand, and scrape with the wooden spoon into the 9"x13" pan. Spread with wooden spoon to evenly coat the bottom; push into corners as need.

Let cool, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours. At this point it may still be warm, but is now safe to cover overnight. Don’t cover it to soon; wait for the fudge to firm up, or the towel will become part of your fudge (Don’t fudge it up). It takes a total of about 5 to 8 hours of cooling for the fudge to be firm and ready to be cut.

Step 7: Remove From Pan and Cut

To remove the fudge from the pan, carefully lift out by grabbing the edges of the parchment paper. Set it down, and peel away the parchment paper from the edges. I like to use a rolling pizza cutter to slice into bricks. I cut it into about 16 even pieces. I sometimes hang part over the edge of the table to help separate the bricks from one another and the paper. This is sometimes necessary due to the thickness of the fudge, and only being able to score a deep groove.

Step 8: Labeling and Packaging

You will need wax paper, sandwich or snack sized bags, and labels (which we have a lot of fun with). For family gatherings we get a nice box to organize the fudge, and place a label of the flavors on the lid. For friends we individually package the flavors and place funny labels on them. For the ones that are shipped, I use left-over shipping boxes (the small Amazon boxes are ideal; for my uses the USPS flat rate small box is too small, and the medium is too expensive). For local friends, I usually reuse fancy paper shopping bags, Bath and Body Works bags are very sturdy (but guys usually appreciate Victoria Secret bags). Once I recycled a DNA kit, and placed a bio-hazard sticker on it (the recipient was previously having problems with roommates getting into his fudge stash).

For the labels, you could use pre-cut address labels; but we opted for full sheet 8 1/2" x 11" sticker paper, that we then cut to the size of the labels we designed. Most of the friends enjoy the humor of the labels.

Step 9: Variations (Other Flavors)

Below is a list of other flavors I've rotated in and out over the years. I typically select about 20 flavors to make for the holidays, and split them up so my recipients receive a variety of flavors. Keep the "Base Ingredients" the same, and swap in the alternate baking chips and additional ingredients as specified at the "Remaining Ingredients" step.

Orange Almond:

  • 12 oz of dark chocolate baking chips.
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of orange extract.
  • 2 to 6 oz of sliced or slivered almonds.

Butter Pecan:

  • 12 oz of white chocolate baking chips.
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter flavor extract.
  • 2 to 3 oz of pecan pieces.

Kahlua & Cream:

  • 15 to 16 oz of white chocolate baking chips (this is the cream).
  • 1/3 to ½ cups of Kahlua.

Almond Joy:

  • 12 oz of semi-sweet or dark chocolate baking chips.
  • 2 to 6 oz of sliced of slivered almonds.
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of almond extract.
  • 1 to 2 cups of coconut flakes.
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut extract.

Butterscotch:

  • 11 oz of butterscotch morsels.
  • Optional: 1 to 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract.

Peanut Butter:

  • 10 oz of Reese’s Peanut Butter chips.
  • Optional: vanilla extract.
  • Optional: 2 to 6 oz of peanuts (regular or roasted).

Peppermint:

  • 12 oz white chocolate baking chips.
  • Crushed candy canes or prepackage
  • 10 oz Peppermint Candy Cane Crunch.
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of peppermint extract.

Frangelico Hazelnut:

  • 15 to 16 oz of milk or semi-sweet chocolate baking chips or morsels.
  • 1/3 to ½ cup of Frangelico Hazelnut liqueur.
  • 2 to 6 oz of chopped hazelnuts.
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of Watkins hazelnut extract.

Pumpkin Spice:

  • 10 oz Nestle Tollhouse Pumpkin Spice flavored morsels.
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons Watkins imitation pumpkin spice extract.
  • 2 tablespoons of dry pumpkin spice for pies (optional).

Lemon:

  • 12 oz bag of white chocolate morsels.
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons lemon extract.

Caramel Apple Pucker:

  • 12 oz salted caramel baking chips.
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons caramel flavoring.
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons Apple extract (optional if available).
  • Approx 3 oz of dried apple rings, chopped into bits.
  • 1/3 to ½ cup of Dekuyper Sour Apple Pucker (sweet & sour schnapps imitation liqueur). Optional: pre-soak the apple bits in Sour Apple Pucker overnight.

Vanilla Bean Macadamia:

  • 12 oz of white chocolate baking chips
  • 1 vanilla bean (sliced open and inside scraped with a knife)
  • 2 to 6 oz of Macadamia nuts
  • 1 tablespoon of bourbon (If desired. If you use your husbands $100 bottle, do it when he’s not looking).

Salted Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut:

  • 12 oz dark chocolate baking chips
  • 2 to 6 oz chopped macadamia nut.
  • Immediately after pouring fudge sprinkle flake salt over the top.

Sea Salt Caramel Pecan:

  • 12 oz Sea salt caramel chips, substitute brown sugar (for the white sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract.
  • At the same time the fudge is being made...
    • I melt 25 Kraft brand Sea Salt Caramels.
    • Immediately after the fudge is poured, drizzle the melted Sea Salt Caramels over the fudge.
    • Then sprinkle 2 to 6 oz of chopped pecans over top, and pat them in to the fudge slightly (so they stick in).
    • Sprinkle a flaky sea salt (such as Kosher salt) over top.

Bailey’s Irish Cream:

  • 16 oz of dark or milk chocolate baking chips
  • 1/3 to ½ cup of Irish Bailey’s Cream.

Maple Walnut:

  • 12 oz of white chocolate baking chips
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of maple extract
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 6 oz of chopped walnuts.

Mocha:

  • 12 oz to 16 oz of dark or milk chocolate baking chips
  • 3 packages of Starbucks Via Instant French Roast Dark Roast Coffee (In the past I have taken 2 to 3 tablespoons of any instant coffee and mixed with water in a shot glass to get a very thick consistency. You want the end result to be intense flavor and as little liquid as possible).

Rum Chatta:

  • 16 oz of white baking chips
  • 1/3 to ½ cup of Rum Chatta (I usually like to take an extra helping for myself).

Rum: Ironically, this is the only alcohol fudge I make that doesn’t have any alcohol (most people swear I put a ton of booze in and think they’re going to get drunk).

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of rum extract
  • Due to the limited liquid added (no booze) only add about 12 oz of dark or milk chocolate baking chips.

Root Beer Float (or how I got my husband to fall in love with me):

  • 12 to 16 oz of white baking chips
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of root beer extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract.

Black Walnut:

  • 12 oz of dark, semi, or milk chocolate baking chips
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of black walnut extract
  • 2 to 6 oz of chopped walnuts.

Mint Chocolate:

  • 12 oz of dark, semi, or milk chocolate baking chips
    • Or another option is to use Andie’s Crème de Menthe baking chips instead (you can skip the extract in this case).
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of spearmint extract.

Amaretto:

  • 16 oz of dark, semi, or milk chocolate baking chips,
  • 1/3 to ½ cup of Amaretto liqueur.

Cinnamon:

  • 12 oz cinnamon baking chips.
  • Or use 12 oz of white baking chips, and add a couple tablespoons of cinnamon.

Raspberry and Cream:

  • 12 oz white chocolate baking chips
  • 2 to 3 oz raspberry extract

Eggnog:

  • 16 oz white chocolate baking chips
  • 1/3 to ½ cup eggnog

Cashew Turtle:

  • 12 oz dark chocolate baking chips
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 6 oz chopped cashews
  • Once the fudge was poured and completely cooled, I made the following topping: 1 cup sugar, ¼ cup water, ½ cup heavy whipping cream, and 1 tablespoon bourbon. Add the sugar and water to a small pot over medium-low heat. Cook, swirling occasionally until the mixture is bubbling and the sauce turns a medium tan color (about 15 minutes). When the caramel is the desired color, remove from heat and stir in cream. Then stir in the bourbon. Pour the mixture on top of completely cooled fudge. Sprinkle with chopped cashes and salt.
<p>Wow, the flavors! Bookmarking your recipes for next year's bazaar sales. Thanks!</p>
<p>Extra 10 points for using the term 'Futzing' in an Instructable! I also make a ton of fudge every year, but had no idea anyone made Pumpkin Spice Morsels. Have never seen them but will be on the look out. Amazed by your variety!</p>

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