By Jena Branco, Marketing Coordinator, Brand & Marketing Communications, SECL
What the fudge!! That’s right folks, you read it correctly … there is such a day as National Peanut Butter Fudge Day … and it happens to be today, November 20th. Unfortunately, for someone like me, peanut butter or anything peanut-related is out of the question due to severe sensitivities, but that shouldn’t deter me from blogging about it.
This North American holiday was established by the National Peanut Board (in the U.S.) and is a special day to indulge in this sweet and tasty treat. Here are today’s five things to know about Peanut Butter Fudge:
- Fudge was invented in the United States more than 100 years ago
- The exact origin is disputed, but it is widely believed that the first batch of caramels made around the late 1800’s didn’t turn out quite right, hence the name “fudge.”
- Georgia is the #1 peanut producing American state. Fun Fact: Peanuts are grown in Canada, they were introduced to Canadian soil in 1982. However, only in the southerly part of the Province of Ontario as our climate isn’t very conducive to growing peanuts, which require sandy soil and hot dry weather.
- The most popular North American fudge flavour is chocolate
- The average peanut farm is approximately 100 acres
So how do people celebrate Peanut Butter Fudge Day? Bake offs, tastings and other fun food related events are a few ways that people celebrate this day. However, one of the best way to celebrate Peanut Butter Fudge Day is to create your own batch and enjoy eating it with those you love. Be adventurous, use your imagination to create a unique twist to the standard recipe by layering it, adding chocolate chunks or peanut chunks, or topping it off with caramel drizzle and pretzels, or simply sprinkle with salt.
For those who are anaphylactic or have degrees of sensitivities (like me) to peanuts, there are a few Peanut Butter alternatives you might want to consider when making fudge.
- Sunflower Seed butter. Sunflower butter is a great option for those who are allergic to not just peanuts but also tree nuts. I’ve been told that the closest spread to peanut butter in terms of flavour and texture is sunflower seed butter. It’s relatively easy to find (in the natural food section of your grocery store, sometimes called Seed Butter) and has a nice nutty flavour, smooth and spreadable.
- Almond butter (only if you are not allergic to tree nuts)
- Cashew butter
- Soy Nut butter
- Pea butter
I’ve been making fudge for a few years now, and it’s one of those desserts that I like to include, along with a variety of cookies, as a delicious food gift when visiting with friends and families during the holidays. I recently came across an easy fudge recipe from Chef John, as I had a friend dropping in (and I knew she has a major sweet tooth) but was lacking a few ingredients required from an old fudge recipe that I had. What I like about this recipe is that all the ingredients were readily available in my pantry and refrigerator. This was definitely a sign from above!! It takes about 15 mins to prepare and only requires 1 to 3 hours to set.
I have since ditched my old fudge recipe …
Nothing fancy about this fudge recipe. All you need are: powdered sugar, unsalted butter, smooth peanut butter (or a peanut butter substitute), kosher salt, and vanilla. These simple ingredients will yield a fudge that is decadent and delicious. Also, it’s dense and firm in your fingers, but will dissolve in your mouth. Reminds me of a famous confectionary slogan “melt in your mouth, not in your hands” and this fudge does exactly that!
During the Christmas holidays, I like to display the peanut butter fudge in a glass covered dome up to a week on the kitchen table, or you can store them in a tight sealed container up to 2 weeks in the fridge. The most important note to remember, is that you must store it air tight to keep it from drying out and crumbly.
This old-fashioned peanut butter fudge recipe will be enjoyed by your whole family for many years to come. Everyone who has tried them, loved them — reminds them of how Grandma would have made them!
Note, that I substituted the peanut butter in the recipe with natural smooth almond butter, and my family thinks it’s super delicious!
- Powdered sugar (1 pound or approx 3 ¾ cups)
- Unsalted butter (1 ¼ cups)
- Smooth natural peanut butter (1 ½ cups)
- Kosher salt (½ teaspoon)
- Pure vanilla extract (1 ½ teaspoons)
- This recipe will work with other nut butters, smooth or chunky, like almond or sunflower seed. Make sure you use all natural nut butters (2 ingredients on list), not the processed nut butter which includes sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil.
- Use ¼ teaspoon fine salt instead of kosher, if desired
- Sift powdered sugar through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl.
- Heat butter and peanut butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk ingredients together and cook until bubbles appear on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in salt and vanilla extract.
- Remove from heat and pour over powdered sugar in the bowl. Mix together using a spatula until smooth.
- Spread mixture into an 8×8-inch baking pan lined with plastic wrap. Let it cool for approx 30 mins.
- Wrap pan fully and refrigerate until firm enough to cut but not too hard, approx. 1 to 3 hours.
- Unwrap fudge and cut into 1 inch cubes (will yield 64 small cubes).
- Let fudge warm up on the counter before cutting, if needed.
For that Confectioner that made that mistake back in the 1880’s, we thank you as it turned out to be a delicious revelation that people have been enjoying all around the world ever since.