Once we saw the lovely pink fudge, how could we at MLK not ask Christine DeSmet to be our guest?
by Christine DeSmet
Thank you for inviting me to share a recipe from the Fudge Shop Mystery Series. The recipe for Cinderella Pink Fairy Tale Fudge is my original recipe that you’ll find in Book 1, First-Degree Fudge.
A second Fairy Tale Fudge Flavor is featured with a recipe in Book 2, Hot Fudge Frame-Up, published on June 3, 2014.
Each book also features other original fudge recipes, including those from my Fisherman’s Catch Tall Tale Fudge line for men. Beer fudge anyone? Beer chocolates are served at a local bar in Madison, Wisconsin, along with a local craft beer or two flavored with chocolate.
Belgian chocolate gets its due in my series. Belgian American Ava Oosterling and her Grandpa Gil, operate Oosterlings’ Live Bait, Bobbers & Belgian Fudge & Beer in Fishers’ Harbor, Wisconsin.
The village is in the real Door County, known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Door County is that thumb of land in Lake Michigan surrounded by 300 miles of coastline.
It’s a quaint place where fast food chains are banned in the picturesque upper half of the county. Because the county is a top producer of cherries in this country, I knew the first flavor of fudge my character had to make was cherry-vanilla. Ava’s fudge is used to hide diamonds and choke a famous actress to death in First-Degree Fudge.
For the crime in Book 2, Hot Fudge Frame-Up, one of the 11 lighthouses dotting the shorelines comes into play, and contributes to ideas for fudge recipes. .
Why are Belgians featured in my book? Well, Poirot was a Belgian and I figured it was time for a female Poirot. But the Belgian heritage is strong in Door County. It’s in a region that courted the Belgians in the 1850s with land for sale at $1.25 an acre. As a result, over 15,000 Belgians came to the area. All of Door County’s population today is just 28,000. The area is said to have the largest rural population of Belgians in the United States.
You’ll learn about the history of fudge, too, and other sweet treats throughout my series.
I hope you visit Oosterlings’ Live Bait, Bobbers & Belgian Fudge & Beer soon! Enjoy the fudge with a frothy, frosty Belgian beer!
Cinderella Pink Fairy Tale Fudge (with Diamonds) Recipe
This easy, microwave recipe for a cherry-vanilla fudge is a favorite with my friends and coworkers. They like the “diamonds” they find in the fudge. (Leave out the diamonds if you don’t like the crunchy texture.)
Before you cook: Prepare an 8x8-inch pan by lining it with wax paper so that the wax paper comes over the edges. Spray the paper lightly with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.
3 cups white chocolate chips (Use 2 cups if you like softer fudge.)
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried cherries (or can used canned whole tart cherries, chopped)
Red food coloring
½ cup edible white or clear glitter (large size) for “diamonds” (optional)
Pink or white luster dust (optional)
Special note for Mystery Lovers Kitchen readers: This recipe can be mixed either on the stovetop in a heavy pan or in the microwave in a glass dish. The sugar crystals love to be “handled” by the cook, so I prefer whipping all the ingredients together at once in a pan on the stove and then constantly beating the mixture from the moment the chocolate starts melting until its glassy and ready to pour into the pan.
Mix the chips and milk together and melt at medium power in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Stir and return to the microwave until fully melted. Stir in the vanilla and four or five (or more) drops of red food coloring to turn it pink. Just before pouring it into the pan, blend in 1/4 cup of the glitter if you want diamonds inside the fudge. Then pour it into the pan. Sprinkle the top of the fudge with the rest of the “diamond” glitter.
Optional: Before you sprinkle on the diamond glitter, first brush on luster dust, which is a very fine glittery edible powder you can buy in various colors. It’s best to apply luster dust with a small artist’s brush so that you don’t waste it; don’t try to shake it directly from its container onto your fudge or use your fingers. Sprinkle the rest of the “diamond” glitter on top of the luster dust.
Let your fudge sit for a few hours or overnight. When ready to cut, transfer it from its pan to a cutting board. Peel off the wax paper completely. Use a knife with a smooth blade or a fudge cutter. Cut into one-inch squares or any size you prefer.
About Hot Fudge Frame-Up (Book 2, Fudge Shop Mystery Series)
Ava is gearing up for the First Annual Fudge Festival—a huge celebration that could draw national attention to her old-fashioned fudge shop in Door County, Wisconsin—known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” She’s invited two celebrity chefs to go head-to-head with her in a fudge contest. Everyone is having a tasty time…until a judge for the festival is found dead.
About the author
Christine DeSmet writes the Fudge Shop Mystery Series (Penguin Random House/NAL/Obsidian). She is also the author of a romantic suspense, Spirit Lake, and several romantic mystery short stories and screenplays. She teaches writing at University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies, where she’ll be teaching novel writing at the Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat June 16-20. Her pink fudge was a hit at the breakfast tables at the recent Malice Domestic conference for readers and authors in Bethesda, MD.
Christine is a Belgian American who was born among a large clan of Belgians in Moline, Illinois, then grew up on a farm near Barneveld, Wisconsin.
She visits Door County often and encourages anyone to stop by the Belgian kermis (harvest festival) in Namur, Wisconsin, on September 21, 2014.
You can write to her at UW-Madison, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fudge photo credit: Laura Kahl