I typically view fudge as a Christmas necessity, but mid-way through the year it’s National Fudge Day. I have made fudge in the traditional manner of boiling sugar, butter and milk to the soft ball stage temperature, then stirring in unsweetened chocolate squares until melted and fully integrated. When I got a microwave oven and discovered Marshmallow Cream, it substantially simplified the process. I also learned that no matter how tiny the pieces I shaved from the soft block of chocolate sugar, eating most of a batch results in substantial weight gain.
Now I look to the experts when it comes to fudge, who offer manageable quarter-pound slices. Split four ways, each serving is only 120 calories.
One of my favorite stops is Marini’s candies, whether I’m shopping in downtown Santa Cruz, or need a sweet fix after dinner on the wharf. Last week thirteen fudge flavors ($4.50 per quarter lb.) were on display including the temperamental Divinity, a confectionary of corn syrup, sugar and egg whites that my admirable Great-Great Auntie Leil perfected at her Fresno candy store along with famous bonbons in the 1930s.
I was tempted by Orange Creamsickle and Raspberry Cheesecake, but opted for a slice of Snickers in which the pan of milk chocolate sweetness was bisected by a layer of peanuts and gooey caramel. In my second selection, chocolate fudge was partially swirled into pretty green mint.
Mackenzies Chocolates, in their newly painted building on the corner of Soquel Avenue and Frederick Street, specializes in molded candy confections. The chocolate truffle filling, cloaked by either a milk or dark chocolate shell, is a bit chewier than fudge, but just as intoxicating, and there’s no need to find three people to share it with. | KP