Aside from the good company, lovely weather, relaxation, and delicious food, one of my favorite things about visiting Dave's shore house (and family) is the totally beautiful and amazing kitchen. Generally, I am a spectator / passive eater, but I like taking advantage of the solid equipment and Dave's parents' cooking intuitions whenever possible. Since both of his parents handle the entre portions of the meals with confidence and a fistful of Parmesan (I am marrying an Italian, afterall), my cooking forays have been happily limited to drinks and desserts. Some went well (I will be making daisy cupcakes with my future niece/nephew, before happily handing him/her off to the parents), some were suspicious (that margarita cupcake recipe could have used a few going-overs). One, however, stood out so much that even despite its high sugar content (or because of it), it was completely gone by noon the next day and led his sister to send desperate Facebook messages asking for the recipe (social networking at its best). One word: fudge.

Ooooh, fudge. I can still remember the first time I ever ate fudge, at my first "cool kids" middle school party (there were boys! lights were dim! we played "light as a feather, stiff as a board!"). One of the girls brought a plateful of homemade chocolate fudge and, mistaking them first for dried-out brownies, I casually took a bite. Oh dear. You all know the sensation: the sweet, soft, pliant feel of the fudge being crushed slowly in your mouth, the teeth-achingly sweet flood of chocolate, sugar, and butter. Although my memories of the party don't extend much beyond the dessert table (I think it was my audition to be cast in the popular clique, but my focus on the fudge probably indicates how well I did...), the sweet, sweet moment of my first taste of fudge is something I hold dear.

Usually I get my fudge from trusted sources, like Murdick's in Martha's Vineyard (true story: mid-argument with my parents about who was paying for my wedding, my dad pulled out a box from Murdick's from their recent trip to Martha's Vineyard. Without even finishing my sentence, I pounced, stuffed a corner piece into my mouth, and domestic harmony was restored. We still never resolved the wedding thing, though). Last month, however, I was paired with Min from the Bad Girl's Kitchen for the monthly Taste and Create event. Although some miscommunication eventually had me paired with Alisa from One Frugal Foodie (check out my take on her delicious cookies here), I had already discovered and fallen in love with Min's recipe for homemade fudge. A shore weekend coming up, I figured I would have all the help (and willing eaters) necessary to make the fudge a success. And it was!

Everyone helped out in a way: Dave's parents pointed out the right equipment, his sister assembled the ingredients, her boyfriend diligently measured, Dave's brother took the photos, and his sister-in-law (currently gestating a new family member) ate for two. Dave also helped(?) by licking the extra-hot stirring spoon (how does he even have tastebuds anymore?). The recipe called for milk chocolate chips, but the local grocery was out, so we went with Hershey's bars instead. Best. Idea. Ever. It was like eating gently melted Hershey's bars, and sent everyone hopping off the walls with happiness. If I were going to remake the recipe (which, let's be honest, is a given), I might swap in a higher-quality chocolate bar, something like a nice Lindt, which is creamier and less acidic than Hershey's. Still, the fudge was simple, quick to make, and delicious, hitting what is in my opinion the perfect trifecta for a successful recipe. Check it out below and avoid the Facebook messages!

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup Evaporated Milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups Milk Chocolate Morsels
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil.
Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Boil, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Stir in marshmallows, morsels, nuts and vanilla extract.
Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted.
Pour into prepared baking pan; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.
Lift from pan; remove foil.
Cut into 48 pieces.

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