One great dish. What a perfect description for a favorite recipe.
“One Great Dish” was also the name of a regular column in the food section of The Kansas City Star in the early 1990s. After a recipe topic was posted, readers would send in recipe entries, hoping their recipe was selected as the winner. One winning recipe was chosen to be the best in categories as broad as chicken dishes, soup, beans and candy. No small feat, for sure.
I had the privilege of testing (and tasting) each of those recipes. While all were very good, many did not stand the test of time and faded from my memory. Today, as thoughts are filled with holiday cooking, I still turn to Chocolate Rum Fudge, a recipe that truly was one great dish.
I have long since lost the notes and can no longer tell you the name of that lucky winner. I have misplaced the stories that went with the recipes and gave insight into the family history or the anecdotes that made each recipe personal and fun.
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But, I saved this recipe because I kept making the fudge. I work with hundreds, if not thousands of recipes each year and to say I kept one and entered it into my personal recipe file is saying a lot.
It is made from marshmallow cream, so you do not have to monitor specific temperatures. There is not a “soft ball stage” test to check to see if it is done. It is made by melting, simmering and stirring so it is easier than most candy recipes.
The secret ingredient that adds a flavor twist is the rum. No one will guess that flavor and it won’t be a strong alcohol flavor, but many will wonder what that delightful flavor might be.
It makes a huge amount and the 9 x 13-inch pan will be full and heavy. There will be plenty to share as gifts, take to the office, and give to neighbors. That means it the ideal recipe to make this time of year.
So here is the Chocolate Rum Fudge recipe, once printed as “One Great Dish” in The Kansas City Star. Enjoy.
Chocolate rum fudge
Makes about 5 pounds
1 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate squares or pieces
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 (7 1/2-ounce) marshmallow creme
1 cup finely chopped nuts, toasted
4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
1 (13-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/4 cup dark rum
For the glaze:
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
Melt chocolate in heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly. Combine with marshmallow creme and nuts in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Combine sugar, salt, butter and evaporated milk in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring. Simmer 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour at once over the chocolate mixture and add rum. Stir vigorously with wooden spoon until mixture is creamy. Pour into lightly buttered 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan. Smooth top and chill until firm.
Melt chocolate pieces for glaze in top of double boiler over hot water. Spread over top of chilled fudge in pan. Let glaze set before cutting into squares. Store in a cool place in a tightly covered container.
Tip: Fudge is easier to cut if it is placed at room temperature for a few minutes before cutting.
Toasting the nuts intensifies their flavor. To toast, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted.
Kathy Moore is one of two cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. Her most recent cookbook is “Delicious Dump Cakes.” Other recent books include “Slow Cooker Desserts, Oh So Easy, Oh So Delicious” and “The Newlywed Cookbook: Cooking Happily Ever After.” She develops the recipes for the “Eating for Life” column for The Kansas City Star and is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier. She blogs at pluggedintocooking.com.