Back when I was a young girl, every couple of years my family would head up north to a family reunion on my father’s side. We’d spend a weekend on the farm of one of our cousins hiking, talking, playing horseshoes, riding motorcycles, picking apples, and tubing down the Ausable River. Most of all, though, we ate. Everyone brought food, everyone made food, and everyone ate food. There was absolutely no chance of anyone going hungry, because there was always something cooking. From 5 in the morning until well after midnight, everyone fought over who was going to get the kitchen next.
When my children came along, the family reunion had all but stopped. Thankfully, one of my cousins took it upon herself to organize one last hoorah. I took the opportunity to spend the weekend taking pictures of the old farm, hiking along the trails for one last time with my children, and gathering recipes from my cousins.
One recipe that I am thankful I got was from my cousin Linda. She was famous for making her peanut butter fudge every time there was a family reunion. It was popular with the kids, of course, but the adults loved it just as much. That last time we gathered at the farm, Linda taught me how to make her fudge. I’m not sure I would have been able to make it had she just given me the recipe. Not being familiar with making fudge, I was terribly intimidated by it. After watching her do it however, I realized that fudge wasn’t something to be afraid of.
Linda’s Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge
- 1 lb. Light Brown Sugar
- 3/4 Cup Cream or Milk
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Butter
- 1 Cup Cream Peanut Butter
Bring sugar and milk to boil over medium heat. Heat to soft-ball stage — 235 degrees. Linda never used a thermometer. She used a bowl of ice water and dropped some of the sugar and milk mixture into it after it had been boiling for a while. I use both. I wait until it reaches 235 and then start testing for the soft-ball stage. It isn’t an instantaneous thing that once it reaches 235 it’s done, so be sure to test.
Once the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, add the butter and stir until melted.
Remove from heat and add creamy peanut butter. Pour immediately into buttered or foil lined 9×9 baking pan. Refrigerate until set. I prefer to put my fudge in a foil lined pan because it makes it much easier to remove from the pan.
Not even a year after the reunion we lost Linda very unexpectedly. It was a terrible shock to the entire family. After her funeral the family gathered together and reminisced. I brought up her peanut butter fudge and everyone agreed it was the best they’d ever tasted. Many in the family commented that they wished they had learned how to make it.
I’m not sure that mine lives up to Linda’s, but it is one of my families favorites and a recipe I hope to pass down for many generations. It has become a Christmas tradition in our family. I am sorry Linda is no longer with us but she will forever live on in the memories and recipes she left behind, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.