My mamaw was the best cook I have ever known,and I have spent my life trying to,”cook it like mamaw did.” Of course anytime someone in the family says to me,”that is just like Mamaw made it,”….well you know that is the ultimate compliment.It is also a compliment that I seldom hear. Not saying I am not a very good, down home country cook…..because I am! I’m just saying that my Mamaw was definitely one whose footsteps are not easily followed.So, it makes my heart swell with pride to know my entire family agrees that my peanut butter fudge tastes just like Mamaw’s!
Now Mamaw was not what we call a recipe cook.So it never did much good to ask her for a recipe.She would just tell us the ingredients and instructions.(that is if she was even aware of the instructions.) her idea of a recipe was to say,”A little bit of this, a dab of that. Mix it with this and a pinch of that.” As I look back, I sometimes wonder if she may have been a magical cooking fairy. That was wonderful at the time.Now the years have passed and we have no written word. Some of her grandkids have been blessed to be able to almost mimic her cooking. Happily,I am one of those.
I watched her very closely. Sometimes she would almost step on me.I guess I was a pest at times, but she never complained. I had to stay right by her side to get the recipe down.She would throw everything into the pan while I counted and wrote it down. I am positive you will agree this is the easiest way to make creamy, delicious, melt in your mouth peanut butter fudge!
THE BOTTOM LINE RECIPE:
Step One: Get all of your ingredients together……all three of them. That is, unless you are one of those who insist on using butter or margarine. I promise you don’t need it in this recipe.(except of course to butter the pan with.) The ingredients are:
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter.More if you wish.
1/4 cup butter or margarine.If you insist.
Step Two: Get your pans ready. One to cook in and one to pour it into when it’s done. I use a three quart saucepan. Some people say use a heavy bottomed pan, but I don’t. I just grab whichever pan is handiest. I always butter the sides of it.This helps prevent the boiling sugar from crystalizing. Once you have chosen the pan to serve in, be sure to coat the bottom and sides of it with butter.Or, you can spray it with Pam.
Step Three: Now combine the sugar, and milk (and margarine if you just had to have it.) Mix it until the sugar is dissolved. Now, put it on medium heat and begin cooking. If you are using a candy themater and I suggest you do if you don’t have any experience with cooking until the soft ball stage is reached. So, attach the themature according to directions.
Step Four: This step just continues right along and is the tricky part. It is the technical part of fudge making and it can make you or break you. I will try to make it easy for you. I have read recipes that say cook five minutes, or ten minutes or three minutes,etc. Truth is this is not exactly right. The outside humidity has a big impact on how this turns out. I suggest that until you have some experience, just don’t fix it on a raily day.
Anyway, you want to cook it until the temperature on the themator is 238* or if you do it the old-fashioned way, when a drop of the mixture into a small dish of cold water forms a soft ball. You know its a soft ball when you can pick this drop up between your thumb and forefinger. As I said the time to get there does vary.
Step Five: Once you reach the soft ball stage or 238* you must let the mixture cool down. If you don’t then you may have grainy fudge.What Mamaw said,”Goes to sugar.” Let it cook about 5 minutes and add the peanut butter. Then stir,stir and stir. Stir until it looses its shine. Pour it in the prepared pan and score it. Score it means to mark the fudge where you want to cut it. This is supposed to make cutting easier.It needs to cool before you mark it otherwise you will need to score(mark) it again.
I asked my Mamaw why scoring was necessary, but if she answered me I have forgotten what she said. I also asked her why call it score? Why not just say mark? And she laughed and said I asked too many questions. I have a sneaky idea some 40 years later,she just didn’t have an answer.
Throughtout the years, I have tried many,many fudge recipes that called for more ingriedents. This is the one that always gets rave reviews. And,by far it is the most simple.So,I finally got smart and now I stay with the motto,”keep it simple.” I promise you when folks are wolfing it down,they don’t think in terms of simple or complicated.Except of course to say,”This is simply the best peanut butter fudge I have even eaten!” And,my relatives always say,”Except for Mamaw’s.” And,that is good enough for me.