I know this maple themed month may be too much for some folks, but I've found myself getting carried away a bit. Maples are a huge influence in New England. They have been the source of sweetness, great autumn beauty, warmth and strength - they are rooted in the soul of New England - truly.
So, when I signed on to provide a sweet something for the online bake sale for Japan, I felt that maple walnut fudge would be just the thing to offer. I imagine the Japanese people feel as deeply about their cherry trees as we feel about our maples ... how fitting that something so deeply rooted in the culture of New England help to provide a bit of solace for the folks of Japan - I'm just sayin'.
Now fudge and I have not always had a happy relationship. Over the years, I have made fudge and gotten it to the point of stirring it to temper it, but it always set too fast for me. Getting it to the buttered pan was always my challenge. It would be too grainy. It was too stiff. It wouldn't incorporate nuts well. I would be sooo frustrated! It was always sweet and tasty, but the aesthetic ... ah, the illusive aesthetic!
Hence, I tended to look for 'fool-proof recipes'. I found one in this maple walnut fudge recipe. It's buttery, creamy, smooth, easy to cut, filled with toasted walnuts, and real maple syrup. It mixes up easily without having to agonize over a candy thermometer, and spreads easily into a buttered pan. Perhaps I shouldn't hand out the recipe before the bake sale, but I can't help it. Everyone should have the chance to enjoy a seasonal treat! Besides, I found it on-line, so it's there for everyone already ... it was at a cooking-online website... one of many I researched before deciding on this particular recipe.
So - Maple Walnut Fudge and if you're a purist when it comes to fudge, you can call this Maple Walnut Faux Fudge. It still tastes incredible! Enjoy!
Maple Walnut Fudge
2/3 c. evaporated milk
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. maple extract
2 c. white chocolate chips
2 c. mini marshmallows
3/4 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
Making the Fudge:
1. Butter an 11 x 7 inch or a 9 x 9 inch pan and set it aside. Toast the walnuts in a dry fry pan and set aside.
2. Using a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, maple syrup, butter, salt, and evaporated milk over medium high heat.
3. Measure the other ingredients and have them ready beside the stove.
4. Bring the saucepan contents to a full rolling boil and stir constantly for 4 1/2 minutes (from the time you first see it begin to boil). Smooth the contents around the edges of the pan to gather any sugar crystals down into the bubbling candy base.
5. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the mini marshmallows, white chocolate chips, maple extract, and the toasted walnuts. Continue stirring until the chocolate and marshmallows are melted and the fudge is smooth.
5. Quickly spread in the buttered pan and let the fudge 'set up' before cutting into small bite-sized squares.
6. Store in a cool dry place.
Yields: about 2 lbs.
Bidding Note: Included in your 'bake sale lot' - 1 lb. maple walnut fudge, an 8-oz. mini-jug of Parker's Grade A Medium Amber Maple Syrup, and the March issue of Yankee Magazine, in which maple sugar figures prominently.