The Ghost of Christmas Past

by Julianna Squicciarini

As we enter the holiday season, memories of previous holiday seasons come to mind – some are sad, some are funny…but they’re all enjoyable, to a certain extent. And what are the holidays without memories to go along with them, right? So here I present “You’re a Failure: The Mystery of Fudge”. šŸ˜‰ Enjoy!

Our family is one of the trusted keepers of our Aunt Thelma’s “No-Fail Fudge” recipe. I don’t know if it’s a secret recipe…but it should be, because it’s positively amazing. Smooth, silky texture, rich, chocolate-y flavor… <blissful sigh> and the best part is, it always works. Doesn’t matter if you’re not a chef. You can’t break it! It will never fail.

Until…

The holiday season of 2007 rolled around. We started picking out goodies to make, so that our pantry and refrigerator would be well-stocked for all those parties and casual holiday gatherings we wanted to have. Of course, fudge was an absolute necessity. We decided to whip up a quick batch for the weekend. And <whisper> it failed! The texture was all wrong! Very grainy and unable to hold together properly. Sure the taste was ok, but that’s not everything when it comes to fudge.

We knew there had to have been something we missed – maybe we burned the chocolate. Chocolate is very easy to burn. So we dumped that batch and tried again. And <shocked expression> IT FAILED AGAIN! The exact same problem happened. We couldn’t believe it. The no-fail fudge recipe failed?!! This is an impossibility.

We waited a week or so before trying again. Maybe we hadn’t followed the recipe correctly; maybe the weather was affecting the melting of the chocolate. Maybe we had burned it again! To make a very long, very tedious story short – every single time we made fudge that year, it failed miserably. We had to go fudge-less for the holidays in 2007. <dissolve into tears>

[Perhaps that was all for the better. šŸ˜› ]

Since fudge is a very seasonal sweet in our house, we didn’t pull the recipe back out until the holiday season of 2008. Remembering the unaccountable failures of the previous year, we were meticulous about timing, following directions, etc. And <horror> it failed again. We couldn’t believe it. How could a recipe that had worked perfectly for so many years fail every time now? Was there some kind of statute of limitations on the No-Fail Fudge recipe? It only works until 2007??

Our mother was particularly bothered by this, as it made no logical sense whatsoever. She spent days trying to figure out what was going wrong.

And being the Iron Chef that she is, she solved the case.

Are you on the edge of your seat?

In preparation for the extensive baking our family does – especially during the holidays – we had been buying those super-sized bags of chocolate chips at Costco, and storing it in the freezer. When baking or cooking anything that used chocolate, the chips would go straight from the freezer to the bowl/pot. Because they were frozen, they have extra moisture content, resulting in the chocolate “seizing”, and becoming grainy. If you’ve ever tried melting chocolate in a bowl you just washed (and didn’t dry thoroughly), you’ll understand what that means – water and chocolate don’t mix. It simply cannot melt evenly and become silky smooth. Physics do not permit.

We bought a new bag of chips and stored it in our pantry. We then tried the infamous recipe one more time. And <awed whisper> it worked!! Worked like a charm. Thus, we had fudge for the 2008 holiday season.

And you can be assured that we will have plenty of fudge for the 2009 holiday season, as well. Feel free to join us for some. šŸ˜‰

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2 thoughts on “The Ghost of Christmas Past

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