Sunday, December 12, 2010

day 342: fudge gifts for Christmas part i of ii

“The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” Johnny Carson

In earlier posts, I gave ideas and recipes for snack mixes that parents and kids can make with their kids for gifts. Today I would like to share the hands-down easiest food gift I have ever made. (Well, maybe it was so easy because Kara made all 100+ pounds of it that year!) Seriously, if you know how to make simple fudge recipes (i.e. evaporated milk, marshmallows, and marshmallow cream, etc.), you will be surprised how quickly many (dozens!) of food gifts come together in this tip.

I purchased those little six-eight inches or so across plastic holiday tubs (the real inexpensive ones without lids that are about three to five inches deep). (You can use any container really, that you don’t care to get back—but because you do not need lids, you can get them extremely cheaply—I think I got mine like 4/$1 at Dollar Tree or somewhere like that.)

Then we, uhm, Kara, began making fudge (recipes in next post!). She started the butter melting the huge “saucepan” and spread the containers out on counters. When the fudge was ready, rather than pouring it into 9 x 13 glass baking dishes (like we usually do), she simply filled each little plastic container (200 of them!) with fudge. She continued in this manner with all of the chocolate-walnut, then all the peanut butter. In two to three hours or so, she had like 70-80 containers filled with 50 lbs of fudge! (She was sixteen when she did this and was not all that experienced cooking on her own as she was our chief editor at the time—so she got out of kitchen duty a lot!)

When the fudge was cool and firm, she slid each one into a decorative bag (the little tub sat down in the bag so the top of the bag was twisted and tied (with ribbon) above the little tub—so tub sat upright in the bag) and tied it up. At that point, because we have a small house and little storage, she simply stacked them all in Rubbermaid tubs and placed them in the storage shed until we were ready to distribute them!

We have done various gifts for neighbors, students, church friends, family members, librarians, and more, including cookie trays, snack mixes, quick breads, yeast breads, and goodie tins. This is the simplest and fastest, by far. It is easy to clean up (just sauce pan, measuring cups, thermometer, and spoons). Plus, they taste amazing! 

In the next post, I will include recipes for all three of the fudges she used for this—chocolate walnut, peanut butter, and chocolate-peanut butter ribbon. Merry Christmas!

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