My Mommy’s Fudge

Easy old-fashioned, rich, real candy

When you go gluten free, the first thing you should do is identify your recipes that are already free of wheat, barley, rye, malt and triticale. You’ll probably be surprised how many savory dishes you have: rice and potatoes are staples of American cuisine. What shocked me was how many desserts I was already making or buying that were safe for my daughter to eat: peanut brittle, most ice creams, my monster cookie recipe, kheer, no-bake cookies, grilled pineapple with maple syrup, fruit and chocolate fondue, but most of all: my mommy’s fudge.

You guys have not had good fudge until you’ve had this fudge. That stuff you buy at that cute candy shop run by old ladies on the beach? It has nothing on this. Even See’s Candies, the greatest mass-producer of candy in this nation, cannot touch this recipe. Enjoy.

My Mommy’s Fudge

A.K.A. The best fudge you’ll ever eat 

6 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 pound confectioner’s sugar*

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 Tbsp vanilla

4 Tbsp milk*

1/4 tsp table salt

Directions

A large loaf pan (8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5) is the perfect size mold for this candy, but a smaller one will work, too; your fudge will just be taller and take longer to set. Prep this pan with a little squirt of canola oil or a sheen of butter. Be light with this or your fudge will be oily. Set the pan aside.

If you have a double boiler, find it and wipe it out, since I’m sure it’s been — like — a year since you used it last. If not, grab a metal or glass mixing bowl and put all the ingredients in it. Then get a big frying pan that your mixing bowl will fit in with a little space, you don’t want to create a pressure cooker here, the steam needs to escape. (Cheaters: you can also use a microwave if you pause every 45 seconds to stir. It takes a long time, but it’s doable.)

Fill the fry pan with about an inch of water, place the mixing bowl full of goodness inside it and put it all over MEDIUM heat. Not medium high. Medium. Don’t let any water get in the mixing bowl, this will ruin your fudge. The water should simmer, not boil. Adjust the heat to get the simmering right, then stir every 30 seconds until the mixture is smooth.

Pull the bowl out and (without burning yourself) wipe the bottom off with a towel; you don’t want water to drip into the pan as you’re pouring it. Pour the liquid fudge into the pan and — this is the hardest part — wait. You can cool this stuff in the fridge, unlike most fudge, or if it’s a chilly day, leave it out on the counter. This will take 1 – 2 hours. Then grease up a butter knife slightly, cut into pieces and serve. Try not to die from ecstasy.

*A note about ingredients: the wholer the milk, the creamier the fudge, but skim will work in a pinch. Use 100% cane sugar; if you get confectioner’s sugar with part beet sugar, your fudge (and all your frosting and other stuff) will have a gritty texture. The better the cocoa powder, the richer the taste. My favorite for this recipe is Hershey’s Cocoa Natural Unsweetened .

Aaaaaand here’s a glamour shot of us circa 1985, just for yucks.

sandmom

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Embrace Your Mistakes

‘Tis a lesson you should heed — If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

It’s been a year, and I’m still working on making some of my favorite wheat-based foods into GF successes. The disaster pictured above was my attempt at making healthy (ish) gluten free chocolate mug cakes. As you can see, it was an enormous fail. A flop. Nobody likes to waste food, but I realized a long time ago I have to embrace my cooking mistakes. If I can’t laugh at them, clean up, move on, and try again, I will spend too much time wallowing in disappointment.

I love to try new recipes or tweaks on old favorites when I have guests over, which my husband says is crazy! Stick with what I know to impress the guests, right? But I just can’t resist. I recently made nom nom paleo’s strawberry banana ice cream for a dinner party. It was a hit! On the other hand, I made a pasta primavera for a potluck with a brand of corn/quinoa pasta I hadn’t tried before — liveGfree — it was horrible. It broke and melded to the sauce, becoming a sloppy mess. (I need to learn to stick with Tinkyada, the best brand of GF pasta on the market. And no, they are not paying me to say that).

Don’t give up. We all have made huge mistakes, especially when we go gluten free. It takes time to adapt your favorite recipes, the ones your grandma made for you, into GF successes. But you can do it!

Unless it’s bread. If it’s bread, just give up now and keep your sanity.

P.S. The liveGfree corn/quinoa pasta is awful, yes, but ALDI still ties as my favorite go-to grocery store for GF shopping. The only store as good as ALDI is my local Asian market.

 

Crustless Cottleston Pie

Winnie the Pooh talked a lot about Cottleston Pie, and now you can eat it. I found a recipe for it in  The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook by Virginia H. Ellison well before Aury was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and it became a family staple. Think of it as a savory-er quiche.

The original recipe, of course, calls for a crust. I made GF pie crusts (which are a pain in the rear, let me tell you) and bought GF pie crusts (which are wicked expensive, let me tell you), until finally I thought — why do I need a crust?

It came out perfectly, and even Buddy, my five-year-old boy who ABHORS eggs, ate two pieces. Cheers to fast family dinners!

Crustless Cottleston Pie

1 5-oz can solid white albacore tuna in water, drained

1/2 cup frozen peas

2-3 eggs (how eggy do you like your pie?)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 pinches sea salt (smidge less if using salted butter)

ground pepper, to taste

1 pinch nutmeg

1 tablespoon cold butter cut into tiny dots

1/2 cup grated cheese

Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray a 9″ pie pan with oil. Sprinkle tuna and peas on bottom of pie pan. Beat eggs, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg until mixed and frothy. Pour on top of tuna and peas. Sprinkle top with dots of butter and then top with shredded cheese. Bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown and the middle doesn’t jiggle. (You’ll need to cook it a little longer if you only used two eggs). Cool for 10 minutes, slice, and serve.

Who Are We?

Hi, we’re Shannon and Jackie, neighbors and friends who cook for fun and function: both Jackie and Shannon’s daughter Aury can’t eat gluten. Aury has Celiac Disease (www.celiac.org) and Jackie has a gluten sensitivity. Both are real gastrointestinal disorders, and their diet is not a weight-loss fad but a necessary way of life.

Both of us were hobby home cooks before the gluten issues: we loved making food. When we found out we’d have to drastically change the way we cook, it was devastating. Shannon was a weekly bread maker, and she had to give that up. Cooking without gluten seemed overwhelming at first, but after a while, both of us learned how to have fun with food despite the changes we had to make.

As we learned how to cook and eat without gluten, we realized a lot of the blogs and free information out there was missing pointers that we had to learn the hard way. We hope to fill in all the holes, so the rest of you don’t have to make the mistakes: we made them for you!

If you have ideas for blog posts, please email us at contact.alittlebitofthis@gmail.com.