12 Days of Handmade Christmas Tutorials Day 11 {Fudge, Peppernuts, and Baskets}

by Edie Wadsworth on November 11, 2009

The 12 Days of Handmade Christmas ends tomorrow with another great tutorial and a giveaway, so hang in there one more day! I’m excited about todays’ goodies but make sure to visit the other 10 days beginning here. Hasn’t this been fun? I’m so thankful that you’ve joined us and for your kind and often helpful comments! Today, we’re doing some food gifts and then giving you some inspiration for making your own baskets in which to put them! Welcome Richella and Nancy!

Hello to all fellow fans of Life in Grace! I’m Richella from Imparting Grace, and I’m so glad to be part of Edie’s 12 Days of Handmade Christmas! Wife to my college sweetheart and mother to three wonderful boys, I’m a woman who is blessed beyond measure. I am passionate about making a home for my family and living a life with God, learning to receive and impart grace as I go.

I’m excited today to be able to share with you one of my favorite Christmas projects. Each year, I like to give a little something to many people: neighbors, teachers, service providers. That list can grow long, but it’s important to me to be able to share a bit of the joy of the season in some small way. Like many of you, I bake cakes, make cookies, and roast nuts. But one thing I do every year is to make fudge. Lots and lots of fudge: at least 12 pounds every year.

My fudge recipe is special, I think. My mother’s family has lived in Kansas for many generations, and I inherited a few old Kansas cookbooks. My fudge recipe comes from one of those cookbooks. The body of the cookbook is long since lost, so I don’t know the name of the book; all I have is one yellowed and tattered page. The name of the recipe is Mamie’s Fudge, and under the recipe name is this note: “She made this to woo Ike.” Yes, indeed, this recipe originated with Mamie Eisenhower. President Eisenhower was from Abilene, Kansas, and Kansans proudly claim this family as their own. Just imagine sweet young Mamie Doud making this fudge for the handsome young lieutenant.

::Mamie’s Fudge::

4 1/2 cups sugar

pinch of salt

2 Tablespoons butter

12 ounce can evaporated milk

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

12 ounces German sweet chocolate, broken into pieces

2 7-ounce jars marshmallow creme

2 cups chopped nuts

Butter a pan for the fudge. A 9 x 13 pan works well for thick fudge; a small sheet pan is good for slightly thinner fudge.

Place semi-sweet chocolate, German sweet chocolate, marshmallow creme, and chopped nuts into bowl. Set aside.

Combine sugar, salt, butter, and milk in heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil, continuing to stir, for six minutes. Remove from heat and pour immediately over chocolate mixture; stir until all the chocolate bits are dissolved.

The mixture will look pretty goopy for a moment, but you’ll soon be rewarded with the delectable aroma of those chocolates and the look of smooth, satiny fudge.

Pour into buttered pan. Let stand one hour before cutting.

The fudge costs me about $13 per batch, which seems like a lot, but it makes more than six pounds. Mamie’s original recipe actually says that it makes seven pounds. Six or seven, the per-pound price is pretty low.

I keep a eye out for containers for my fudge, such as pretty gift boxes, tins, or ceramics. Just last week I found this cute mitten plate at my thrift store for $1.

My favorite presentation of all is simply to put some fudge on a plate, cover it in plastic wrap, tie a bow with some pretty ribbon, and attach an ornament.

::Peppernuts::
This yummy little treat is of German origin and they are so wonderfully addictive! This makes a huge batch but they ‘keep’ forever—like months! Steve’s mom made these with the girls when she was here and then we made them again on Reformation Day.

2 1/2 c. butter (marg or shortening also work)
1 1/2 c. molasses
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. black pepper
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
1 t. allspice
1 t. salt
9 c. all purpose flour
1 qt ground walnuts

The dough should be stiff but not overly dry so add the last 1/2 c. of flour slowly to make sure the dough isn’t too dry.
DSC_0433
Roll the dough into thin ropes, using a little flour to keep them from sticking to your surface. {the ropes should be about the size of your first finger—unless you have unusually large fingers} Apparently little Elea is unsure of this process—but I can tell you from experience that she loves these little cookies.
Then freeze the ‘ropes’ so that they cut easily. It takes less than an hour for them to harden.
DSC_0359
We took one tray out of the freezer at a time and cooked those—then proceeded to the next tray.
DSC_0361
Then slice them into little coin size pieces and bake at 350 until they no longer ‘give’ when you press them (in my oven–about 12-15 min). The longer you cook them, the crunchier they’ll be and my family likes them crunchy. I prefer them on the less crunchy side but you’ll have to experiment.
DSC_0430
Then, wrap them up neat and pretty and Merry Christmas! Or Happy Reformation Day!
DSC_0442

And Nancy from Basketmaster’s Weavings has a great tutorial on her blog for how to make a Christmas basket, along with many YouTube tutorials on the different steps of weaving. She lists directions for where to buy the stakes and what kind you’ll need. This would be so much fun to learn how to do with my girls—-and we love a good YouTube video. That cute little basket would be a great handmade gift all by itelf—or you could fill it with fudge and peppernuts.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Donna November 11, 2009 at 1:18 pm

This looks really yummy and suprisingly easy…may give this one a try!

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2 domesticatedbliss November 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm

This looks so yummy! We called my husbands gma Mamie, and she died just about 2 years ago, and she made the best pies, bread, and desserts! I will have to give this a whirl!

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3 cheri November 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Once again, thanks ever so much for the ideas and the inspiration!

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4 marty (A Stroll Thru Life) November 11, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I all looks so yummy. I will definitely have to try this. Thanks. Hugs, Marty

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5 Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster November 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Edie,
Thanks for mentioning my site. The fudge looks so yummy!
Nancy

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6 Tina November 11, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I love the "Christ is born" ornament. Any word on where it came from??

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7 Homemaker, MD November 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm

I usually do my family's recipe for scottish shortbread every year, but now i'm dreaming of fudge and peppernuts…

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8 Brenda@ **Dragonflys and Stars** November 11, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Very cool! We always have peppernuts at Christmas, being from good German stock! But I hardly ever know anyone who has even heard of them before. And fudge can never be wrong!

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9 Victoria of design my life November 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Hi Edie,
I found your blog recently through Darby and I am loving this series. I always try to make gifts for the special people in my life because it is much more meaningful. Thanks for the ideas.

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10 kimmcl November 11, 2009 at 4:39 pm

What an AWESOME blog! Before I die I want to live in the mountains of East Tennessee – really, it's on my bucket list. We vacation there every year (Pigeon Forge). You are beautiful – inside and out!
Go enter my giveaway!
Kim

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11 Julie Magallanes November 11, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Goodness Edie, you cannot possibly stop at 12 days, these are great ideas! I want MORE, MORE, MORE!

Thanks!

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12 do it yourselfer November 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm

i would probably make it and eat all 6-7 pounds! not give 1 pound away! mmmm…can't wait to try this. there are so many things i want to make and cook and do!

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13 ParkerMama November 11, 2009 at 9:42 pm

LOVE fudge. Love. It. Thank you for sharing all of the amazing-ness over the last few days!

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14 Denise November 11, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Not often that a recipe tempts me to enter the kitchen to cook. ;) I will be making those German cookies seeing that I'm German and all. It sure beats my grandmother's fruitcake recipe. ;)

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15 Michelle November 11, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Saw your project for the tiles over at Just a girl (love them). I am going to have my girl scout troop make them for their moms. I think they will be a hit.

This fudge recipe looks really yummy.

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16 gina November 11, 2009 at 11:51 pm

ok, that fudge looks so delicious and easy i wish had the ingredients here- i'd go whip up a batch right now!

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17 Mandi Shandi November 12, 2009 at 12:05 am

YUM!! Both of these look very "do-able" even with my 2 little ones helping. Thanks for yet another day of great Christmas present ideas!

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18 Mandi Shandi November 12, 2009 at 12:05 am

YUM!! Both of these look very "do-able" even with my 2 little ones helping. Thanks for yet another day of great Christmas present ideas!

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19 Tara November 12, 2009 at 2:07 am

YUMMMM-O!

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20 Amanda @ Serenity Now November 12, 2009 at 2:25 am

I LOVE fudge. I cannot make it correctly to save my life, but I love it. Will have to try Richella's recipe. :)

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21 Michelle Rayburn November 12, 2009 at 2:44 am

Yum! Love the step by step picture tutorial.

Michelle
http://www.TrashToTreasureDecorating.com

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22 melissa * 320 Sycamore November 12, 2009 at 4:01 am

Oh, yum! Richella, I think even I could make this :) And I love the story behind it~Mamie's from Kansas! Great series, Edie!

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23 Stickhorsecowgirls November 12, 2009 at 8:43 am

Okay, we're doin' this peppernut thing! Thnks for shaing! C

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24 Ruth November 12, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I am Portuguese and have never heard of Peppernuts. They look great. I love all the different traditions from countries around the world.
Fudge looks super yummy! What a great gift. Homemade is best.

Ruth

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25 The Gotbeters November 13, 2009 at 12:10 am

So you don't even bake it? Who knew? MInes on the counter now…Went to the dollar store today and got several cute things to put these in-

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26 The Gotbeters November 13, 2009 at 1:40 am

You def have to cook and stir it for 6 mins! I got lazy and only did a minute or so and then took it off- Did not set up right, too soft!

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27 Lisa November 13, 2009 at 9:36 pm

We make these too every year. The kids LOVE to make them – and eat them. We give them as gifts too. Our recipe doesn't have walnuts – but it does have coffee in the recipe.

I'll have to try your recipe and compare them.

Blessings,
Lisa

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28 Jenn Warren March 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Is that ornament on the fudge gift homemade? I’d love to make those.

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