You Gotta Love Fudge Icing

I can't come up with exactly the right words to say how much I loved my dad. He wasn't just a father, he was a dad in every sense of the word. He was a man who loved his wife and children above everything but his faith. My parents were farmers and hard work was the daily routine. Because of this, I grew up with meals being an important part of the day. Family and/or friends frequently came to our house after church for "dinner", (our meals were breakfast, dinner and supper). I was fortunate in that we lived in the same town as my grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sharing meals was a time for connecting.

Mom cooked the best fried chicken (recipe to come later). I remember a couple of times her even fixing it at midnight for my brothers and me after coming home late from a ball game. There was always enough on the table to share if someone dropped by during mealtime. As a regular fare, we had chicken fried steak, roast, enchiladas, hamburgers grilled outside, along with fresh vegetables from our garden and there was always something sweet. One of Dad's favorites was chocolate cake with fudge icing. So, in homage to my mom who made the fudge that hooked my dad and to my dad who loved it is the recipe that started it all. (Thanks, Mom, for sharing your elixir.)

Fudge (Icing)
2 cups white granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light Karo syrup
1 small carton whipping cream
4 tablespoons Hershey's cocoa powder-mixed with enough hot water to make a paste
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Pecans or other nuts, chopped (optional)

Place first three ingredients in a pan deep enough to bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Heat until ingredients are incorporated. Add chocolate paste to mixture before it comes to a boil. Cook over medium heat until mixture reaches the a soft-ball stage. (A small amount of boiling mixture is dropped in a half cup of cool water. Using your fingers, see if the mixture can be rolled into a soft ball or temperature should reach 235-240°F on a candy thermometer). Stir frequently while bringing mixture to a boil. As soon as the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, remove from heat, add vanilla, and place bottom of pan in cool water. Beat with a hand mixer until the surface of the mixture starts to lose its gloss. Add nuts if desired. Combine well, stirring with a spoon instead of the mixer and immediately spread on cake or pour into a buttered container if making into candy. If your mixture hardens too quickly before spreading, add 2 tablespoon of hot water and mix in well over low heat until the water is incorporated.

Adding nuts makes this a great candy, with or without nuts it is a delicious icing for any chocolate cake.


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