It’s happened over and over. For many years now.
My daughter, Cait and I would be traveling somewhere in the car. It might be local; right in here in Raleigh or, more often, it would occur driving to an event or occasion in another city; particularly a larger city.
Cait and I would be plodding along, trying to follow a map (okay,
sometimes lots of times we were just winging it) making our way to the destination. Suddenly we’d realize we were a bit (maybe a lot) lost. Have you ever done that?
Then, as we’d glance around, it would dawn on us that we were either in-the-middle-of-nowhere or in, what seemed to be, an unsafe area. Yikes! Almost simultaneously, we’d blurt out the same thing;
“Good thing Dad (that’s my Scott) doesn’t know where we are! He sure wouldn’t be very happy about this!”. He never likes “his girls” to be in unsafe predicaments. We always found our way out of the dangerous situation, and it was much better that “Dad” didn’t know all the details. Maybe I won’t have him edit this post. (Editor’s note: Sorry you two – gotcha!)
Dangerous – that’s what I often think about Pinterest, although in a whole different sense. It’s dangerous for me, as I can get totally lost in all the wonderful creations, and spend WAY too much time in that little corner of cyberspace. Time that I need use more productively. But it’s a fabulous place to get ideas and Pinterest really tends to get my imagination going on a wonderful roll.
For example, I couldn’t take my eyes off this beautiful candy bark and decided to check out the recipe. I loved the whole concept of a delicious, whimsical, fun, spring confection. But when I saw that the recipe used candy melts, I was a little disappointed. Though I love the fun colors that are available in candy melts, and love the way they melt, I really don’t care for their artificial flavor.
So I started thinking and throwing around ideas, and that’s how this delicious, whimsical, fun, spring confection evolved. Thank you Pinterest! And I don’t even mind telling Scott that I got lost over there!
I decided to make fudge for my personal spin on the Pinterest inspiration. I love to make fudge with white chocolate – there can be so many fun variations (like this or this). I use white chocolate chips, but I’m careful to look at the ingredient list on the bag. A good quality white chocolate chip should have cocoa butter listed as one of the first couple of ingredients. Next time you’re shopping check out the white chips – you’ll be shocked at how many “premier” chips don’t have any cocoa butter!
I really like the chips from Trader Jo’s (made with real cocoa butter, real vanilla extract and no artificial ingredients). They also melt better than most other varieties. They’re not always available at the TJ stores, so I was happy to find them at another one of my favorite, “get stuck down a rabbit hole” places – Amazon!
Although lemons are in season all year long, to me the lovely flavor of lemon seems to shout “SPRING!”. I’m crazy about the pairing of white chocolate and lemon, so I added lemon zest to my fudge.
The super fun part came next. It only took a few drops of food coloring to create this beautiful, pastel swirled fudge. I chose turquoise and green, but you can experiment with your favorite spring colors.
You can stop right there and have a lovely spring fudge, perfect for nibbling and gifts, but give the finished fudge a scatter of jimmies, sprinkles, nonpareils and you’ve got a sweet confection that even Monet would have been proud of!
I had to smile – I sent my sister Annie a picture of the fudge yesterday, as I knew she’d love it. I told her that sisters were allowed a sneak preview and, if she wanted, I’d send her the recipe before this post came out. This was her answer “Oh my gosh………………this is outstandingly beautiful Chris!!! xo please send recipe. I will make it today.”
Be prepared for the same kind of exuberant response!
P.S. I know, I know – we’ve had a string of sweet (as in “sugary”, not as in “nice”) recipes lately. But we’ve got some wonderful savory and deliciously healthy posts coming up, I promise!
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- 3 cups sugar
- ¾ cup butter
- ⅔ cup half and half*
- 12 ounces white chocolate chips**
- 1 - 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme***
- zest of 1 large lemon, finely grated
- 1-2 drops food coloring per bowl, I used two drops for each bowl - one bowl I used a drop each of blue and green to create turquoise and in the other bowl I used a drop of yellow and a drop of green to create a spring green color
- jimmies, sprinkles, nonpareils, etc., your choice of colors. I used spring colors, but you could adapt this to any season.
- Line 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over 2 of the sides. Spray foil and sides of pan with cooking spray and rub to cover evenly with a paper towel. Set aside. Also spray a small thin-bladed knife with cooking spray (a butter knife works well for this). Set aside.
- Combine sugar, butter and half and half in a sauce pan (at least 3 quart-size) over medium heat until mixture comes to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly (don't mistake bubbling at the edges for a full boil). Once it comes to a full boil, cook for exactly 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate chips, marshmallow creme and lemon zest. Stir again until smooth and well mixed (this will take several minutes - sometimes it seems like all the lumps of marshmallow creme and the little chips will never be melted, but don't give up.)
- Remove a scant ¼ of the mixture to a small microwave-safe bowl. Repeat another scant ¼ to another microwave safe bowl. Add one or two drops of food color (your choice of colors) to each small bowl (I used two drops - one bowl I used a drop each of blue and green to create turquoise and in the other bowl I used a drop of yellow and a drop of green to create a spring green color). Leave the larger amount in the sauce pan white. Work very quickly to stir the small bowls until color is well mixed. Adjust color with more food coloring as desired.
- Pour approximately half of mixture into prepared pan. Tilt pan to pretty much cover the bottom. Add about half of each of the colored mixture in random spoonfuls over the surface. Add the rest of the white fudge batter. Don't worry if it doesn't completely cover the colored areas. Now add the rest of the colored batter, again in random spoonfuls. Try to leave areas of white showing. If any of batters start to thicken you can pop them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to loosen them up (the reason for the microwave-safe bowls).
- Using the thin edge of the prepared knife, run it back and forth a few times through fudge creating a swirled pattern. Once you get a pretty swirly pattern, stop. If you swirl too much the whole mixture will run together into one overall color.
- Quickly sprinkle the top with jimmies, sprinkles, nonpareils, etc. I like to sprinkle them in little clusters, sort of like flowers would grow, rather than an even sprinkle all over the surface.
- Cool completely and then cut into squares.**** I find it cuts better if I don't refrigerate it, just let it cool for a few hours at room temperature. Use the foil handles to lift fudge from pan before cutting into squares.
** Love the white chocolate chips from Trader Jo's. They're not always available in the TJ's stores but you can always find them on Amazon.
*** Marshmallow creme is a light, creamy marshmallow mixture that's sold in jars. If you can't find it, you can make your own. Try this version from AllRecipes.
**** I like to use a long, sharp knife to cut my fudge. I dip it in hot water and wipe it dry with a paper towel between cuts.
The recipe will yield 64 1-inch squares though I like to cut them a bit larger.