Aunt Opal’s

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 23, 2013

Judy Phillips entered her Aunt Opal’s chocolate fudge at Cooleemee’s Ole Time Christmas Fudge Contest celebration.

It was the best.

Phillips and her mother would visit Opal at Thanksgiving. Phillips remembers visiting once and she asked her Aunt Opal to teach her how to make the fudge. After making eight batches, Phillips brought home her newfound skills and has been successful making it ever since.

Phillips says this fudge has always been a family favorite and if you don’t follow her Aunt Opal’s instructions closely, you will be disappointed with the result.

“The trick is the iron skillet,” says Phillips.

Yes, an iron skillet.

I thought maybe she was going to say use a copper pot or something else, but I didn’t expect her to say iron skillet. We used iron skillets for baking nice brown cornbread or fried chicken, but not to make fudge.

The recipe goes like this: Mix together the sugar, cocoa, Karo Syrup, evaporated milk and salt together over medium heat until it reaches a soft ball stage. (Phillips tests for the soft ball stage by dropping a small amount of mixture into a cold glass of tap water and pushing it around to see if it makes a soft ball shape.)

Once at the soft ball stage, cook four more minutes while constantly stirring.

Place the skillet in a shallow pan of cold water, add the butter and vanilla and beat it with an electric mixer or beat by hand. Don’t stop beating until the glossy look of the fudge turns to a matt finish. Good luck.

It’s always fun to try new recipes, especially around the holidays. Giving small gift bags of homemade goodies with a hand written recipe always adds a personal touch. I have several that my friends and family have given me and I love it when they sign their name.

I like putting my fudge and cookies in boxes and I use those tiny crinkle cups for my peanut butter balls; it makes them look professional.

My brother gave me our grandmother’s (Cosby Sales) original handwritten recipe for her peanut butter cookies. Sadly, the oil from the butter or peanut butter over time has faded her handwriting to where you can hardly see anything. So be smart and make copies of those treasured recipes and safely protect the originals.