Tag Archives: recipe

Hot Balls of Luv!

Moonday Mania

How to heal a broken heart with chocolate.

Even romance writers have broken hearts. Not every Valentine’s Day goes well for everyone, nor does writing romance mean your life is super romantic. Of course mine is now, but there have been times when I romance didn’t go well for me. And in my deep, dark past, I used to make fudge.

No marshmallow creme allowed. Just old-fashioned ingredients. Why? Because that was the way I was taught, from a recipe developed before marshmallow creme. That’s how old this recipe is (although it does contain corn syrup). Now it does tend to be a little grainy, so if you can find superfine sugar, you should use that. But I grew up with grainy fudge, because that’s the kind of sugar we bought. We didn’t care. It was fudge.

Thick, rich and simple. Mostly just chocolate and sugar and an endorphin high that must have been kicking. No wonder I made it a ton when I was an adolescent, jacking my system likely got me through all the heartaches.

With real candy you use a candy thermometer to tell when it’s hid soft ball or hard ball stage. Or you can use the old fashioned method of testing for doneness by dropping balls of hot love (your candy) into a glass of water and feeling them for doneness.

(Okay, that sounds like a blog to me.)

For years I had fudge on the brain. I made it a lot. My birthday cake was covered in real fudge icing. Real fudge sets up fast, so you have to move lightening fast to cover a cake. Hard as a rock, but oh so delicious. And perfect. Chocolate cake, fudge icing, and topped with real vanilla ice cream. Mmmm!

But here’s the thing. Fudge doesn’t really nurture your soul. That endorphin kick was a fake. Real love and romance do it so much better. You want to know how I know that?

I haven’t made fudge for years. In fact, I almost couldn’t locate the recipe for this blog, it was buried in the back of my recipe card box. Instead, now, I nurture my soul with real love…friends…and brownies. ūüôā

Okay, I still love chocolate and still sometimes have those days where I want it’s soothing touch, but I no longer go for the super sweet taste of fudge. In fact, I’m eat very little sugar at all now. My occasional brownie foray is sweetened with honey or maple syrup. But, because I still have a soft spot for the past, I’m sharing my grandmother’s fudge recipe with all of you. If you want a little adventure into the past, give it a try. And you’ll get to try rolling your own soft balls.

My Grandmother’s Fudge

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 sq bitter chocolate
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbl corn syrup
  • tiny pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp butter

Butter a 8×8 pan and put aside.

Melt chocolate on med-low in a thick bottomed pot. Add milk and sugar, salt, butter and corn syrup. Stir occaisionally. Cook until soft ball stage. (When dropped into a glass of cold water the candy forms a soft ball stage and sugar crystals are forming on the sides of the pan. (If you’ve reached a hard, crackly ball, you’ve gone too far!)

Remove from heat and beat hard!

Beat until it is 20140217-072459.jpgalmost firmed up and pour into the greased pan. Fudge should develop a glossy color. If you wait too long, you will not be able to pour it into the pan or over the cake. It will still taste delicious!

This is the tricky part. Be careful, hot candy gives you very bad burns. I had a very bad birthday one year, when the hot fudge slipped over the edge of the pot and burned my hand. You must develop a good bicep muscle and beat it until it is ready. Have a friend on standby to take over. We just don’t have the upper arm strength our grandmothers needed to cook!)

Let cool. If you can! If you can’t, at least wait until it is past the tongue burning stage, we don’t want any trips to the ER.

Hope your Valentine’s day was every bit as romantic as you wanted it to be, but just in case it wasn’t, there’s always fudge!

Or brownies…or chocolate…or wine.

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Filed under About the Author, Moonday mania, recipes

Love in a Jar

Thursdays Bite

(in a big way)

Fall is here, and so is harvest time. I don’t know if it’s the drought or if it’s just one of those years, but this is the year everyone’s fruit trees bore amazing bumper crops. Even my MIL’s nectarine tree that we’ve been making fun of for years out-did itself. From one scraggly fruit every three or four years to this year’s so-much-fruit-we-couldn’t-pick-it-all, that tree gave it’s all. We’re not expecting another nectarine, ever.

a kitchen witchs cookbook by patricia telescoAnd since this is Thursdays Bite, today I’m sharing Pagan harvest recipes from the Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook byPatricia Telesco. If you are interested in easy ways to add magic to your life or just use some very unusual recipes, this is a terrific book. Kitchen magic is everyday magic that mothers and grandmothers have been using for a long time. If you’ve ever made cookies to heal broken hearts or brewed up soul strengthening chicken soup- you too have used kitchen magic.

One major tip for a magical kitchen:

Keep it clean. Before cooking a magical recipe you want to be sure you cleanse your kitchen. Use something basic, like vinegar in a spray bottle of water, center yourself, and then clean away with a cleansing attitude. Waft some sage in the air and you are good to go. Starting with a fresh clean counter is not only good for your health, but  it will ensure your magic in your recipe stays true.

This is especially true when canning. Follow all canning rules. Lots of boiling hot water and a very clean kitchen make for lovely jars to open later, or to give as gifts during the holiday season. And check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation for tips on canning and preserving.

Quote from the¬†A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook:

The primary objective for canning and preserving has been, until recent years, as a means to supplement porvisions during times of scarcity. Today, we preserve as a way of using extra foods, and their potency, for a rainy day! There will be creations such as “Mary’s Strawberry Syrup for Love,” and “Aunt Jane’s Protective Pickles” (heavy on the garlic), and “Sight Sauce” neatly lined up alongside other foods. The added bonus here is that your magical energy is already prepared and ready for any tine you need it, with nothing extra to do but oopen the jar. These goodies also make lovely gift ideas. It is interesting to note that Hermes, the Greek God of communication, is attriguted with teaching humanity about “hermetically” sealing items. he becomes an appropriate patron deity for kitchen withces during their magical canning and preserving efforts.

For some odd reason my parents occasionally canned chutneys over my lifetime. I’m not sure why, but every once in a while they would get together, go on a shopping spree, and spend a day in the kitchen peeling, seeding and chopping. Then, that Christmas, they would present the family with beautiful jeweled jars of chutney. Now, since my parents are one of those successful love stories (they’ve been married for 57 years), maybe there is love to be found in a jar of chutney.

New England Fruit Chutney for Lovers

In some form or another, each fruti and spice in theis recipe can be used to woo and tempt love. The vinegar and salt add precision and extra energy to guide your magic towards its goal.

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 large apples, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 apricots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 large pears, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 2 oranges, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • Rind of 2 oranges, grated
  • 2 tablespoons of grated lemon rind
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger root
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cider vinegar plus 1/2 cup
  • 3 cups packed brown sugar

Jessica’s note:(For canning method instructions, please see the¬†National Center for Home Food Preservation)

Place the onions, apples, pears,¬†apricots, peaches, oranges, orange rind, lemon rind, raisins, ginger root, garlic, nutmeg , allspice, cinnamon, salt and 2 cups of the¬†vinegar¬†in a large pot. Bring to a boil: stir regularly. Reduce heat; simmer for 1¬Ĺ hours. Make sure all the fruits are evenly cooked. Stir in the sugar and remaining¬†vinegar; simmer 1 hour.

Fill jars; leave¬†¬Ĺ-inch headspace. Process in a boiling-water¬†bath for 10 minutes. Age in a dark place for at least 8 weeks before serving. This chutney is very pleasing with cheese breads and baguettes. The bread can be cut into the shape of hearts before serving. Yield: About 7 half-pints.

Magical attributes: The energy of romance, clarity of love, youthful vigor and idealism.

Elaine Cougler's Chutney Jars

Elaine Cougler made chutney. Yummy!

If any of you make the chutney, please let me know how it turns out. I do love chutney, but you can see why I have never even attempted it. My forays into canning have been mostly failed jams and a bumper crop of alcoholic peaches! Yum!

Have you ever tried a magical recipe? Stirred some love into oatmeal cookies, or tried to entice a beau with pecan pie? Share your stories with me, canning attempts and all!

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Filed under About the Author, Magic, recipes, Thursdays Bite