Marcella’s Fudge

FudgeThis is a big plus to attending Thanksgiving on my side of the family: Marcella’s Fudge may be eaten before dinner. It is right there with the appetizers.

Most of us thought Marcella was a relative from the Old Country (Wisconsin). My sister, Janie and I only just asked this year… turns out Marcella was the wife of one of my dad’s co-workers from a long ago job. Well, THAT surprise inheritance just went *poof.*

Whenever our mom made Marcella’s Fudge, she’d leave a knife sitting right in the pan in the ‘fridge. We grew up feeling fully entitled to taking a chunk whenever.

Janie is the master maker of Marcella’s Fudge; she brings massive quantities to every function – with and without walnuts, cut into various sized pieces. It is creamy, dense, and melts in your mouth. None of us even bothers making it ourselves; Janie makes enough for all of us to take home leftovers. She is nice that way.

Every cook should have a good fudge recipe. Just make sure the walnuts you use are really fresh, incredible difference (we’re really proud of our California walnuts). Now that I’m not related to Marcella, I have no loyalty to keeping her recipe a secret. Here, take it!

Marcella’s Fudge

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 4 oz. margarine
  • 1 12-ounce pkg. chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Spray an 8 x 8-inch pan with nonstick spray.  In a heavy saucepan, mix together sugar, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil. Boil exactly 6 minutes; stir constantly. Turn heat off. Beat chocolate chips into the mixture. Add vanilla; beat for 3 minutes. Add nuts, if desired. Pour into pan, chill.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Worth The Whisk January 28, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Laura, this is truly the family recipe on paper. But if you didn’t succeed, I wouldn’t try again. Not worth being mad at a recipe.

2 Laura December 22, 2016 at 9:20 pm

Your sister is holding back from you because this is not the correct recipe. If you follow the recipe to the letter, it will seize. What a waste of time and money. I suspect all is well until you add the chocolate into the hot pan instead of adding the hot liquid to the chocolate in another bowl.

3 Elizabeth December 11, 2016 at 5:50 pm

I’ve made this fudge twice now and absolutely love it! However, I will add that like a few others, mine seized up and became very separated after I added the chocolate. I panicked but ended up adding about 1/4 cup more evaporated milk into the mixture and that worked like magic! The fudge came together and was a smooth and shiny consistency with the help of some extra liquid and beating with my spoon. If yours seizes up on you, maybe give that a try because it fixed mine both times that I’ve made this. The end product after cooling was firm, yet soft and creamy!

4 Worth The Whisk December 8, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Eleanor, I’m soooo sorry it was a fail for you. It’s the fudge recipe I grew up on. My sister, Janie, always follows this process and her fudge is consistent. No marshmallows.

5 Eleanor Austen December 8, 2014 at 9:32 am

This did not turn out for me. Are you supposed to boil on medium? high? Is there an ingredient missing (like marshmallows)? The candy seized instead of being anything you could beat.

6 Worth The Whisk November 20, 2014 at 8:25 am

Frances, I am in Los Angeles, basically sea level. I’m not sure if your chocolate seized due to the altitude, or if you had a splash of water in there – the anathma of melting chocolate. Also, dear readers, use margarine. My sister Janie ALWAYS uses margarine, which is vegetable fat. Butter is milk fat, and (although I cannot confirm) may affect the outcome.

7 Frances November 19, 2014 at 7:01 pm

What altitude are you cooking your fudge? We are at 3600 and the chocolate seized when I added it! I cooked it exactly 6 minutes on a gas stove. The boiling point is different the higher you are. I did use butter. But that really shouldn’t affect the outcome. Any suggestions?

8 Worth The Whisk December 19, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Dawn, I think using butter would be OK. My sister Janie only prepares this fudge with margarine, however, and her results are the best that way.

9 Dawn December 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Can I use butter instead of margarine

10 Worth The Whisk November 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Lisa, refrigerate it to set it solid. Then after you cut it, if you want to leave it out for a while, no problem. I would refrigerate it again after your party, however.

11 Lisa B November 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm

does this need refrigeration? or can it be left at room temperature for a prolonged period of time?

12 Ali November 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Ok thank you!

13 Worth The Whisk November 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Ali, don’t substitute anything in this particular recipe or you will be sad. My sister Janie always cooks it exactly the same way and we LOVE the results.

14 Ali November 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Oh one more question I not trying to annoy you but can I use sweetened condensed milk instead or should I not

15 Ali November 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Thank you thank you thank you so much!!

16 Worth The Whisk November 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Ali, you beat for 3 minutes. Make sure your pan is completely clean, soap-and-oil free and dry before you begin. You ought to be OK with no crystals. Good luck!

17 Ali November 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Thank you I’ll get some vanilla extract also how do u make sure the sugar does not crystallize and how long do I beat the fudge with the mixer

18 Worth The Whisk November 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Ali, the vanilla extract doesn’t add a vanilla flavor, it just makes everything about the fudge taste better. I wouldn’t mess with perfection, to be honest.

19 Ali November 1, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Hi I love the recipe can I substitute vanilla extract with anything else or can I just not use it because I don’t really like vanilla thx in advance!!!

20 Worth The Whisk December 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Caroline, I am soooo excited because tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I know my sister Janie will be bringing this fudge to dinner.

21 caroline December 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I love your receipe for Fudge , it works , it just works, I did use butter, the taste is great

22 Worth The Whisk December 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Beth – use the electric mixer.

23 Beth December 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Hello.. I was wondering the same thing as Memoria back in Dec of 2009. When you say ‘beat’ together, do you mean with a spoon, wisk or electric mixer. Thanks! Happy Holidays!

24 Worth The Whisk December 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Julie, my sister only uses margarine to make this recipe. I would go with her experience, myself!

25 Julie November 27, 2012 at 9:23 am

If you try it with butter instead of margarine, please post results. I’m not much of a margarine user……

26 Worth The Whisk July 12, 2012 at 8:10 am

Phoelisa, sure — but Janie’s success is exclusive to margarine, so I’d hesitate telling you the results will be identical.

27 Phoelisa McGuire July 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Can I use butter instead of margarine?

28 Worth The Whisk November 30, 2011 at 8:01 am

Julienne — use semi-sweet chocolate chips. The milk chocolate would produce a much sweeter fudge, in my opinion. This is sweet enough. I scored a dozen pieces on Thanksgiving, snuck them out of the party without being noticed. YEA.

29 Julienne November 30, 2011 at 7:39 am

Saw this as one of your Best Recipes and still on the look out for an outstanding fudge recipe and want to make this for Christmas this year. Do you use semi-sweet chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips? Or what do you prefer?

30 Lisa December 23, 2009 at 9:54 am

thanks! you just saved me (and my family) from Chocolate overload!! I bought the bigger bag, but it seemed like too much. It’s cooking as I type! Thank you! Merry Christmas!

31 Lisa December 23, 2009 at 9:14 am

Hi Patti! So what size is a “large” bag of chocolate chips??? the regular bag or the 24 ounce bag?
Patti comments: Good eye! It’s the 12-oz, I just fixed the recipe, thanks for that. Marcella = bad recipe writer.

32 Jill December 12, 2009 at 4:25 pm

We may have to follow Janie’s lead & take this to OUR family gatherings…so everyone can GATHER ‘ROUND it!! 🙂 Thanks, Patti!

33 Marje Bennetts December 11, 2009 at 10:35 am

Nice, Patti – one even I can make. MB

34 Lisa December 11, 2009 at 10:29 am

Thanks Pattyi! Can’t wait to try this one!

35 Bettie Infante December 3, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Can I substitute peanut butter for chocolate chips, or do I need to adjust the margarine too??? If not, do you have a peanut butter fudge recipe. Thanks!
Patti comments: my family never strays from the original version, but I would bet you could use half chocolate and half peanut butter chips with success.

36 Memoria December 1, 2009 at 5:46 am

This fudge looks great! Question: do we beat in the chips with a spoon or a mixer? Thanks for posting this recipe. I would love to make this for my students.
Patti comments: wooden spoon.

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