My earliest memories of Christmas are all involved around this delicious recipe from my mother.  She used to make platters of it, then cut it up, roll it into two inch long pieces and wrap it in crinkled paper and foil and hang it on the fresh cut Christmas tree my father had just brought in.  Also hanging on the tree were precious oranges, walnuts in their shells, prettily wrapped candy, cookies, and real candles dripping wax.  We lived in communist Romania back then and didn’t have strings of lights, electric trains circling the tree, nor ornaments weighing down the branches.  Life was much more simple, much more real.  Maybe because we lacked what we now take for granted, any unexpected treat was such a luxury and such a joy.

Eagerly we anticipated the carolers we knew were coming anytime between nightfall and the crack of dawn on that Christmas Eve night. We dressed in our finest, helped set out the pastries, the cookies, and the little fancy sandwiches my mother, my aunts, and my grandmother had worked on for the last several days.  The best china was brought out, for it was a perfect opportunity to show it off.  Butter, sugar, chocolate and coffee were precious commodities hoarded throughout the year, and only used for special occasions: Christmas, New Year, Easter, birthdays, weddings, christenings, and funerals.

The house filled up with guests who reminisced all through the night, feasting on sausages, creamed potatoes and delectable desserts.  The kids got to stay up too, and usually there were so many of us that when we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore, every available surface or parent’s lap held a softly snoring child.

725 grams (3 cups) powdered milk

5 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder unsweetened

500 grams (2 cups) sugar

1 cup water

2 sticks unsalted butter cubed and at room temperature

1 tablespoon (or more) rum

1 cup roasted walnuts or hazelnuts (optional)

Coat a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray, or if you are seriously self-indulging, butter.  Have it ready and close by.

Sift the powdered milk and cocoa powder into a bowl, and combine with a whisk until well blended.  On medium heat make a syrup of sugar and water by pouring the cup of water into a deeper pan and gradually whisking in the sugar.  Don’t forget to stir!  Let it simmer a few minutes and check readiness by placing a teaspoon of it into a glass of water.  If it holds together it is ready, if not keep stirring! Add the blended powdered milk and cocoa and mix with a wooden spoon until it’s well incorporated.  It should have the consistency of batter - not too thick, not too thin. If it is too thick, you can add water, but only a little at a time. If it is too watery, add a little more powdered milk and powdered cocoa.  Work those muscles in your arms until it resembles a smooth chocolate frosting, otherwise you get air bubbles, or a mouthful of powder. Add the rum and the nuts, take it off the heat and stir in the cubed butter until all melted.  With the help of a spatula spread it on the prepared cookie sheet and let it cool at room temperature.  It will harden as it cools.  Enjoy it!  I guarantee it won’t last long.

By the way, I have no idea on the number of servings.  And since I have never made or eaten the American version of fudge I don’t know how closely it resembles it, in either recipe or taste.

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30 Responses to “Repost: baton de ciocolate (a variation of fudge)”

  1. pamela Says:

    Isn’t it wonderful how this time of year is so full of culinary memories. I’ve been in the kitchen all week, baking. And happier than ever!

  2. Mary Moon Says:

    This sounds terribly, sinfully good.
    As if there should be secret service agents surrounding it to make sure that no one eats too much or steals it all when a back is turned.

  3. Diane Says:

    I love the tradition with the carolers coming and celebrating together. I can see the scene in my mind and wish I could have joined you.

  4. Ava Says:

    I made this last time you posted it and loved it! It is divine!!!

  5. Jena Says:

    I have a friend from Slovakia who recalls similar childhood memories. She says too, that when they had little material goods everything they had was enjoyed and appreciated immensely.
    Sounds delicious! If you’ve never had fudge don’t start now, you’ll be disappointed. American fudge sucks!!!

  6. laura Says:

    Oh, angie. I love to read about those early memories. I bet they make the fudge all the sweeter. This sounds so yummy and I just may try it this year! Merry, merry!

  7. Susan Tiner Says:

    Angie, thank you for another wonderful childhood memory. The recipe sounds delicious, especially with roasted hazelnuts.

  8. Cindy L Says:

    What a delightful day to read this particular post — and the recipe. We’re snowed in, big time, here in Michigan. I need to run off and make your recipe. Perfect with a steaming mug of coffee! Thank you, Angie!

  9. lisahgolden Says:

    Your Christmas celebration sounds wonderful. I miss the traditions of my youth.

    Thank you for that recipe. It sounds delicious.

  10. Francesca Says:

    I’m so glad to learn where you’re from, Angie, and which one is the European country of your childhood memories and the setting of so many of your stories. Thank you for sharing your mother’s recipe - parents go through so much trouble and work to make Christmas and other festivities happy and special occasions for their families, and it’s all worth it!

  11. Anya Says:

    It sounds delicous! And I absolutely loved the dexription of your family celebrations and all this memories…. They are what needs to be treasured the most. Thank you for the recepie, I promise to try my best! :-) I also cook several dishes my Grnadmother always use to cook for New Year celebrations. The names will make you smile, I am sure, but anybody who is Russian will tell you that this are our traditional holiday dishes. For exampe , “herring in a fur coat” - masterpiece of a dish! :-) or frozen pig jello. As I am writing it “out loud” I am realiing what a wierd people Russians are after all! No wonder my hubby makes “the face” whan I cook. :-)

  12. Anya Says:

    So very sorry for mistakes, send it a bit to soon !:-)

  13. Karen@SurvivingMotherhood Says:

    I always love the way you describe things, but this one was particularly delightful. :) Made me forget for a moment that my toes and fingers are freezing - cuz I just came in from shoveling snow. *wink*
    Have a wonderful day!

  14. La Belette Rouge Says:

    I want to be at your house for Christmas! Yummy post!!!

  15. Lori Says:

    Hi, Angie. I just wanted to stop by and say that I am all fine and just got a little too busy and uninspired for blogging.

    I remember my grandmother’s homemade chocolate — the best in the world. And it does resemble fudge quite a lot, I think.

  16. Victoria Says:

    Here in NL we don’t get the carolers sadly. Although I do have the Christmas carols blaring out on our Playlist and of course some Bing Crosby.
    The fudge sounds delicious. I’ve such a sweet tooth right now!
    Thank you for your lovely words and thoughts this past week. Hugs x

  17. audrey Says:

    a yummy treat to go along with such a yummy story…

    hugs, my dear!

  18. Julie Says:

    Dear Angie
    Childhood memories of christmas are so much richer than my present day ones… I hope children now get as much joy out of christmas as you did back then… You know I don’t think I’ve ever seen a caroler roaming the suburbs here.. maybe as it is always so hot!!

    You fudge sounds extra rich and wonderful!!! Have a lovely week and thanks for sharing your story with us.. ciao xxx Julie

  19. Ötli Says:

    A recipe for a gourmand Xmas and a beautiful tradition… dreamy.

  20. Kelleyn Says:

    Your memory brought back memories I had forgotten of my own mother making fudge and jellies.

  21. Bunny Says:

    Angie,
    I think your recipe sounds divine, and the way you share your memories and stories with such beautiful words warms my heart! You are pure beauty and magic! I must make this. I always loved to be in the kitchen with my grandmothers making fudge when I was a little girl…oh what I would do for one more day of that..Happy Happy Happy Holidays to you my friend!
    xx
    Bunny

  22. joyce Says:

    Oooh I love fudge!! Thank you my friend. xo

  23. Jeanne Says:

    Ah Angie, you sweet sweet thing!
    I always get so excited when I come along to visit you. I was thinking within your first paragraph of the sounds that accompanied your wonderful imagery. Tra La La…the Carolers were mentioned in the second. Perfect and I love love love fudge. Thank you!!

    Best wishes to you and your gorgeous family for a wonderful Holiday Angie!

    Jeanne xxx

  24. Theresa Says:

    Great imagery, love the warmth in it. Come say hi if you want to enter a giveaway of my husband’s rock tunes. Happy holidays to you and yours. Theresa

  25. Holly L Says:

    Your words dance on the page and transport me to wherever you are. This sounds delightful!

  26. Christie Says:

    I love it when you share your childhood memories. They’re so beautiful.
    Merry Christmas!

  27. Susu Paris Chic Says:

    Family recipes are the best… I have inherited this wonderful apple pie recipe. What makes it exquisite is the oatmeal in the crust. Simple… but aren’t the good things in life so?

  28. Lena Says:

    I lived in Poland and Russia for a few years as a kid… and now that I’m reading your recipe, I got this memory of having tasted something like it in Warsaw…
    Will try my hand at it!!
    Happiest Holidays to you, dearest Angie! Tons of hugs!!

  29. Evangeline Says:

    I love your description of your childhood Christmases! Evocative & beautiful. What a treat to come here and read your words today!

  30. Lydia Says:

    Good heavens, Angie! This sounds amazing and I may insist that my husband help me make it for New Years. :)

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