Every December, various family members bake large batches of gingerbread cookies, fruitcakes, and buckeye balls to share and mail. But not once, in all of my sugary Christmas seasons, can I remember a single relative sending fudge our way. We surely didn’t make our own—the chocolate would have disappeared before Mom pulled out the recipe!—so any fudge came from the store or a neighbor.
But not this year! I decided to break the fudge-less tradition and make my own. I conveniently forgot about my drier-than-a-desert first fudge attempt from 10 years ago until I poured the milk and sugar into the saucepan… So with fears of chalky chocolate swirling in my head, I tested the boiling mixture every 30 seconds with one hand while consulting the recipe with the other.
And then I started shaping more popcorn balls while the fudge cooled, completely neglecting to rig a timer as a reminder to score the top before it set. I woke up sweating in the middle of the night from a crumbly fudge-cutting nightmare!
The next morning, I padded into the kitchen to pull out the treat from the fridge and gingerly slice a few squares. Although I mauled the first piece while finagling it out of the pan, the rest popped out looking quite festive!