This is the most beautiful peanut butter fudge in the cosmos. The day this fudge first appeared on the scene, whole galaxies turned their suns toward Earth to take a peek at the glory that befell us mere mortals. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s how it went down.
Last Yule, I was scouring the Interwebs for a peanut butter fudge recipe. I tried Alton Brown‘s recipe, and it fell disappointingly flat: crumbly, too sweet, not particularly creamy. Which makes sense, as his recipe consists of peanut butter and butter melted together and added to powdered sugar. Using this recipe, you’re guaranteed a too-dry, too-sweet mess. Peanut butter fudge should be smooth, rich, dense, and balanced between sweetness and saltiness. It should have passion! It should cry its peanut butter flavour to the stars above!
And it should be eaten like it’s going out of style!
I had chosen Incapability Brown’s fudge recipe because it requires no cooking. At the time, I was quite uncomfortable with the prospect of cooking fudge, because of the many ways things could go wrong. But that first attempt at peanut butter fudge was so lackluster, I looked for a cooked recipe, figuring that the inclusion of some kind of cooked syrup with the peanut butter would yield a creamier texture. And this recipe is the clear winner amongst peanut butter fudge recipes. It’s creamy, smooth, rich, buttery, peanut buttery, sweet, salty, and dense. It has passion! And it owns its peanut butter character. The flavours are wonderfully balanced between the brown sugar syrup, the vanilla, and the salty peanut butter.
It’s so good that no one I’ve shared it with, not even self-proclaimed dessert haters, can stop eating it. I’ve noticed that people eat about eight pieces at a time – which is probably all that their tummies can hold.
The best part about this recipe – aside from the stellar taste and texture! – is that it’s so forgiving, even for novice fudge makers. You can let it boil a few minutes too long, or even a minute or two too short, and the fudge doesn’t seem to mind: It still sets up wonderfully well, and tastes amazing. There are no candy thermometers involved, nor is there any paying attention for soft-ball or hard-ball syrup stages, which can throw even experienced candy makers for a loop sometimes. You bring the sugars, butter, and milk to a boil while stirring constantly; then, once the syrup has started boiling, stop stirring, because stirring the syrup at this stage produces large sugar crystals that wreck the smooth texture of the fudge. Let the syrup boil at a rolling boil for seven minutes, then take the syrup off the heat and stir in marshmallow cream, peanut butter, and vanilla until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into a dish, allow to set, and then slice. And eat. And eat! And eat some more.
Ahhh, blessedly easygoing fudge. No worries about exact temperatures. Just my kind of fudge. 🙂 (Well… and this fudge, too. For those horseback riding, beach walking, white pants-wearing, hair tossing kinds of days.)
If you enjoyed reading this, click here to subscribe to my blog. That way, you’ll never miss a post!
Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge
Yield: Approximately 60 – 80 pieces of fudge (depending on how large or small the fudge is cut)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
4 cups granulated sugar
12 oz. evaporated milk
7 oz. marshmallow cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
16 oz. peanut butter (commercial brands such as Peter Pan, Jiffy, and so forth work better than natural peanut butter for this recipe)
Line a 9×13″ dish with aluminum foil. Set aside.
Combine the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and evaporated milk in a 3 or 4 quart saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture begins to boil (this took around 20 minutes for me), stop stirring the mixture. Within a minute or two, it will reach a full, rolling boil. When it achieves a full boil, start a timer for 7 minutes and allow the mixture to keep boiling. While the syrup is boiling, do not stir or interfere with it in any way. To do so would cause large sugar crystals to form in the fudge, which would preclude the fudge’s having a creamy texture.
When the 7 minutes have elapsed, remove saucepan from heat and immediately stir in the marshmallow cream. Take care to ensure that all of the marshmallow cream is completely incorporated with the sugar mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract and the peanut butter until all ingredients are thoroughly combined, with no streaks remaining.
Pour mixture into prepared dish and smooth the top. Allow to sit, uncovered, at room temperature until firm enough to cut. (This took around 30 minutes for me.) Cut into 3/4″ to 1″ pieces; this fudge is dense and rich. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, separating each layer of fudge with waxed paper so that the fudge doesn’t stick together.