A candy maker I am not. Dealing with the whole thermometer thing freaks me out. Plus, what is "hard ball stage" anyway? Sounds like it should have something to do with baseball. No? OK let's move on. I found a truly foolproof recipe for fudge many years ago and have been making it every Christmas since. The best part? No candy making knowledge needed! It makes a wonderful gift. Just bag it up in a pretty cellophane bag with some ribbon and voilà! Everyone loves it! Plus, it's so versatile. You can add almost anything to it: nuts, marshmallows, peanut butter chips, chopped up candy bars, etc. This year I used Oreos! Nothing wrong with that!
Here's how I did it:
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 can condensed milk
Dash of salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or whatever you choose to use- I used chopped Oreos)
Before you start, line a baking dish with foil, leaving enough hanging over the edges to act as handles. This will help you remove the fudge from the dish later. If you want thick fudge, use an 8 inch square dish. If you want it a little thinner, use a rectangular dish.
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chips with condensed milk and salt, stirring frequently. Once melted and smooth, remove from heat. It's important to do that before you continue! Stir in nuts (or Oreos) and vanilla.
Spread evenly into the foil-lined dish. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until firm. Lift the fudge out by the foil handles and turn over onto a cutting board. Carefully peel the foil off. Cut into small squares. This is very rich! So I find small squares work best. Store covered in the fridge.
Like I said before, you can use whatever you like in place of the nuts. I do love it with pecans, but I have used mini marshmallow, peanut butter chips (they kind of melt in and give it a marbled effect), chopped up Heath bars, and now Oreos (which was delicious by the way). I love versatile recipes that will work for anyone. So, make some fudge! Maybe you'll think of something new to add to it. If so, let me know how it turns out. Merry Christmas!