Pecan Shortbread Fudge

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I have a confession to make.  It pains me to say this, but it’s time to come clean: I am a (recovering) snob.

A fudge snob, that is.  This is important, because I pride myself on being anything *but* a snob.  Even when I owned my own chocolate business, I would happily tell people that I like all kinds of chocolates and no, I don’t really pay attention to cacao percentages or varietal differences or what-have-you.  I wear clothes from Target and take generic aspirin.  I buy wine based on price point ($10) and coolness factor of label.  I like all things and snub none.

Except, apparently, fudge.  I love fudge.  Really love it.  Fudge reminds me of snowy holidays and care packages from grandma and family vacations where there is always an “old-timey” candy shop selling thick slabs of the stuff in 18 different flavors.  You would think that with all of that – and the fact that I owned a business focused on nothing but chocolate – I would be an expert fudge maker.

I am most definitely not.

For years – many, many wasted years – I refused to make fudge for two reasons.  First, my fudge snobbery insisted that any *good* recipe would have to be truly from scratch, using things like butter, cream, chocolate, and sugar.  Second, every recipe I found that met those criteria failed me bitterly, resulting in crystallized fudge, separated fudge, curdled fudge and all manner of nastiness.  And since I’m old and grandma doesn’t send those care packages anymore and I never go on vacation to towns with cute little candy shops it was a sad, sad fudge-less time.

Then I had kids.  And I closed my chocolate business.  And I lost what little bit of spare time I had.  And I missed having time to make yummy things from scratch.  And I got hungry, and the sugar demons started screaming in my head feed me FEED ME.  And then one day I gave in and dumped some sweetened condensed milk in a pan with some chocolate and butter.

And suddenly life was so much better.  If you’ve never made easy fudge, you really should.  And then dress it up with a shortbread crust and some toasted pecans.  Because a little bit of fancy never hurt anyone.

One year ago on C&T:  Sugar Cookies 3 Ways

Two years ago on C&T:  Chocolate Compost Cookies

Three years ago on C&T:  Pumpkin Oat Bread

Four years ago on C&T:  Sourdough and Dead Simple Chocolate Tart

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Pecan Shortbread Fudge

  • One recipe shortbread, baked and cooled (use your favorite, or this one, minus huckleberries)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14.5 oz)
  • 14 ounces semisweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Prepare the shortbread, press into an 8×8 inch pan lined with parchment and bake as directed.  Set aside to cool at least 10 minutes before starting the fudge layer.

For fudge, place sweetened condensed milk, butter, and chocolate in the top of a double boiler.  Place over barely simmering water and stir until chocolate and butter are fully melted and mixture is smooth.  Remove fudge from heat and stir in vanilla.  Working quickly, pour fudge over cooled shortbread and smooth into an even layer.  Sprinkle pecans on top and press slightly to adhere.  Alternatively, you can stir the pecans into the mixture before pouring it over the shortbread.  Place pan in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until fully set.  Remove from pan using parchment lining and use a sharp knife to cut (run the blade under hot water for clean, perfect cuts.)

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