My family has a very simple recipe that’s been passed from mother to daughter (and likely a few sons) through the generations. My mother was originally from Appalachia, so no doubt this is some top secret mountain fudge recipe. Just kidding! It really is super easy to make.
However, being one of those “handed down” recipes, it really doesn’t have a lot of measurements or specifics. I’ll do my best.
Last night, I thought I’d make up a batch of it so I could take some photos to share. Every once in a while when I make this candy, something doesn’t go quite right. I usually blame the humidity, but in this case, I didn’t bring the candy to a hard enough boil to fully melt the sugar and did not cook it quite long enough, so it was more like a really gritty taffy. Gross!
I pitched that batch and started over. The new batch was perfect. I thought I’d take out a piece or two to show them and then take some photos. I got up this morning to finish the photos in the beautiful light of day and you can see what my pan of fudge looked like. That’s right! It was missing. COMPLETELY gone.
I guess that tells you that it is truly delicious, but unfortunately I do not have a photo. This peanut butter fudge recipe requires no marshmallow.
- 3 cups white sugar
- 1/3 cup milk this may vary - more below
- 2 Tablespoons real butter I like salted, but either works
- Splash of vanilla if you must measure, 1/2 teaspoon
- 3 Tablespoons peanut butter we like Jif best
- Teacup with cold water
Grease a pan or plate before you start with butter (I prefer I Can't Believe It's Not Butter for this. It tastes great and is easy to spread). This is where you'll pour your fudge. If you want thicker pieces, use a glass baking dish like I did. Thinner, use a buttered glass plate or two.
Add cold water to your teacup and sit near the stove but not where it will get warm.
Add sugar and milk to a cooking pot. You may need to add a little milk. You want the mixture to be about the consistency of pancake batter.
Add butter and splash of vanilla.
Turn heat on high and start stirring. I like to use a wooden spoon for this with a long handle. Do not ever stop stirring.
When the mixture comes to a full boil, reduce heat to a medium setting. My stove goes to high and then drops to 6, 4, etc. I reduce from high to 6 and then to 4 after a couple minutes. It is very important that you allow the mixture to come to a full boil or the sugar will be gritty and the fudge will not be smooth.
As soon as you reduce the heat, start counting with your oven timer. I'd set it for four or five minutes. At the five minute mark, spoon up some of the mixture and pour into the teacup.
You want the candy to set inside the cup. You should be able to roll it into a soft little ball. Keep testing every minute until it does. You may want a helper to get you fresh water or use a couple of teacups for this if you're just starting out making fudge. It can be hard to guess when it's ready at first.
As soon as the candy forms a ball in the teacup of water, add the peanut butter, turn off the heat, and stir until peanut butter is melted into candy.
Pour immediately into pan or onto plates.
Allow to set up for about ten minutes and then slice as desired. Candy will remain warm for a bit but will continue to harden as it cools.
Yes, you can use candy thermometers and all kinds of fancy equipment, but this is simple. Half the fun is figuring out when the candy is done and doing things the old fashioned way. You may have a batch here and there that doesn’t turn out, but it is so inexpensive to make that it really isn’t a huge deal. I can usually get about three batches out of a jar of peanut butter, so I guess this dish costs around $3-$4 to make. It makes up a pretty big batch of fudge.
If you must, you can also use chocolate instead of peanut butter, but why would you?