Photograph by Peter Frank Edwards
My Grandmother’s Hillbilly Black Walnut Fudge
Makes eighty-eight 1-inch pieces
In my family, fudge is a holiday dessert. And it may come as a shock to some, but the key ingredient in this fudge is Velveeta cheese. The ultracreamy nature of the processed whey melts more evenly than traditional cheese, and it presented twentieth-century home cooks with a new texture when it was first introduced. Well, everyone knows I am dedicated to heirloom ingredients; now I suppose you can add Velveeta to the list.
1 pound Velveeta cheese, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
1 pound unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
Four 1-pound boxes confectioners’ sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup chopped black walnuts
1 teaspoon Bourbon Barrel Foods Aged Vanilla Extract
1. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan lightly with nonstick baking spray.
2. Put the Velveeta and butter in the top of a double boiler. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water, insert the top, and set the double boiler over low heat; the water should never be hotter than a simmer. Stir the Velveeta and butter together with a silicone spatula until melted and combined, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
3. Put the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa in a large bowl and whisk together, making sure that no lumps remain. Add the nuts and stir to combine.
4. Add the sugar mixture to the cheese mixture, then add the vanilla and stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Pour the fudge into the prepared pan. Tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles and smooth the top with a small offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours; wait until the fudge is cold before covering it, so that moisture won’t form on the top. Cut the fudge into 1-inch squares. Serve at room temperature.
5. Tightly covered, the fudge will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Tightly wrapped, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature
Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014.
Would you make fudge with Velveeta cheese? Let us know if you try this recipe (and share your photos!).