Loaded with marshmallows and chopped walnuts, this chocolaty, easy homemade Rocky Road Fudge takes less than 10 minutes and always gets rave reviews!
Last week I posted my husband’s grandma’s recipe for her best butter almond english toffee and this week I have another candy recipe to share, except this one is from my Grandpa Johnson and it is for his wonderful and easy homemade fudge. Unlike the toffee recipe I posted, this fudge doesn’t need a candy thermometer to turn out perfectly. It’s just a matter of combining a few simple ingredients in a heavy saucepan on the stove, then bringing them to a boil for 6 minutes, then stirring in a few additional things off the heat before pouring the warm fudge into a foil-lined & buttered dish so it can firm up in the fridge for a few hours.
When I was a girl, we often did Christmases at my mom’s parents’ house in Pocatello, Idaho. I love the memories of those Christmases, even including the sometimes harrowing winter driving across frozen roads in Nebraska and Wyoming that it took to get there. My aunt Judy always made sure we watched “White Christmas” (our favorite Christmas movie), and we always enjoyed the fun musical Christmas decorations that decorated Grandpa & Grandma’s living room. And there were always plenty of treats to eat. My grandpa has a major sweet tooth (I must have inherited it from him along with our love of strawberry ice cream) and had a small cupboard in the hallway that was always stocked with assorted mixed nuts and hard candies (the old-fashioned ribbon variety). And there was a special tupperware container in the kitchen on a bottom shelf that the grandkids could access that was always stocked with sugar wafers. But the best thing was when he would make a batch of his homemade fudge.
I took a couple of years off school during college to serve an 18-month mission for my church and was pretty homesick. Each year that I was away for Christmas, a package would always arrive from my aunts and grandparents and both times there was a batch of my grandpa’s fudge, carefully wrapped in tinfoil and tucked into a spare shoebox for transportation. My love language is service and the thought of my grandpa stirring that fudge, then packaging it up to send to me still makes my heart swell and tears threaten to spill because it showed me how much he loved me.
Grandpa turned 95 this year and there is a good chance that this will be his last Christmas. So this year, I’ll be making a batch of fudge and shipping it to him. When I saw him in November, he wasn’t really able to communicate. But I know he can still appreciate some good, old fashioned fudge loaded with walnuts just the way he likes it. We can understand each other that way.
The only difference between a batch of chocolate walnut fudge and rocky road fudge are a couple extra cups of frozen miniature marshmallows that get stirred in right at the end. Freezing the marshmallows helps them keep their shape and not melt too much when they get stirred into the hot fudge. Grandpa always left them out and just did chocolate walnut, which is the version I’m making for him.
I just did a batch of rocky road when I was taking these pictures because that is what I typically give to friends along with toffee as neighbor gifts. Or just leave out the nuts and marshmallows altogether if you like plain, bare bones chocolate fudge.
It’s a really adaptable base and you could come up with other variations just by sprinkling things on top of the fudge right after pouring it in the pan, like mini pretzels or M&M’s, or if you are making it at other times of the year you could do candy corn or heart shaped sprinkles, depending on the season. Because fudge definitely should not be just a Christmas thing.
This easy homemade rocky road fudge is so rich and sweet and chocolaty that I always cut it into really small 1″ squares. That makes me feel better about eating 6 of them in one go. Just sayin’.
Oh, and while the recipe makes a huge batch (a full 9×13″ pan), it can easily be halved. Or you can make two different types of fudge by using two square pans instead of one large one and just changing up your mix-ins by dividing your cooked fudge in half before stirring in nuts or candy or marshmallows or whatever.
Let’s do this!
- 6 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (12 ounces)
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup cold butter, cubed
- 2 cups walnuts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil. Coat the foil with buter. Put 4 cups of the marshmallows on a baking sheet in a single layer and stick it into the freezer so they can get cold.
In a large pot, combine the remaining two cups of marshmallows (or 20 large marshmallows), sugar and evaporated milk over medium-high heat. Stir together as the marshmallows melt and the mixture comes to a boil. Set a timer and boil for 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Don't be alarmed by brown bits that might appear while cooking as long as your temperature isn't too high and you are stirring consistently.
When the timer goes off, remove the fudge from the heat and immediately add the cold cubed butter and chocolate chips, stirring until completely combined.
Stir in the walnuts and vanilla, then let the fudge sit for just a few minutes to thicken and cool slightly before stirring in the frozen miniature marshmallows. You don't want to stir the marshmallows too much or they will melt from the residual heat of the fudge. Pour into the prepared pan lined with butter-coated aluminum foil and transfer to the fridge to set for 3 to 4 hours.
Carefully lift the fudge out of the pan and peel off the foil. Cut the fudge into small squares to serve.
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