Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fudge and Fried Chicken as Christmas Traditions by Cleo Coyle





Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal featured a story on a popular modern Christmas tradition in Japan--fried chicken. And not just any fried chicken. Apparently, Kentucky Fried Chicken is the place many go for their holiday meal. The tradition is so popular customers must make reservations months in advance. According to WSJ, Japan’s "Christmas-chicken tradition" dates back to the early 1970s when a non-Japanese customer came into a KFC store in Tokyo to buy fried chicken as a turkey substitute. 

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For Italian-Americans like my husband and I, the Feast of the Seven Fishes has been part of our Christmas celebration. And so are cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. Many of the holiday treats in our childhood homes were laced with anisette or rum. While I enjoyed those flavors as a child, my husband and his brother were bigger fans of their mom's chocolate fudge. Her recipe was simply the one found on the Marshmallow Fluff jar with a few exceptions. Every year she would vary what was added. Some years there were walnuts or cashews, other years salted peanuts or pecans, and then there were maraschino cherries, raisins, or M&M candies.

Our parents are no longer with us, and the holiday is a little less bright because of it. Naturally, with December 25th approaching, Marc longed for a batch of his mom's chocolate fudge. And since I was scheduled to post a recipe here for Christmas week, I thought I'd combine the two while trying my hand at my mother-in-law's "add-in" tradition. My choice--macadamia nuts.

The results? Marc said the macadamia nuts tasted better than any of the varieties he'd eaten in past years. High praise indeed. 


So let's get that fudge going...



Marc's Mother's Chocolate Christmas Fudge*

*Recipe slightly adapted from a jar of Marshmallow Fluff made by Durkee-Mower, Inc.

Makes enough fudge to fill a 9x9 pan (for thicker fudge use 8x8)

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter 
2 ½ cups white, granulated sugar
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk 
7.5-ounce jar of Marshmallow Fluff 
½ teaspoon table salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips 
1/2 to 3/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts (measure after chopping)

(1) First line a 9x9 or 8x8 pan with parchment or wax paper, allowing a little extra to hang over the sides for handles. (You will use the handles to lift the fudge block out of the pan for easy cutting.) Lightly butter the paper to prevent sticking.

(2) In a medium-sized saucepan (non-stick, if possible), over low heat, melt the butter. Then add the sugar, evaporated milk, Fluff, and salt. Stir over low heat until ingredients are well blended. 

(3) Increase the heat until the mixture is boiling. (Not simmering or burping but truly boiling.) Continue to boil while slowly stirring constantly, for about 6 minutes (do not cut this time short). Remove from heat and let cool for about about 2 minutes. (Why? If the mixture is still boiling when you add the vanilla, the intense heat will destroy the extract's full flavor.) Now add the vanilla and chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted and everything is blended. Fold in the nuts. 

(4) Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and let cool at room temperature, uncovered, for at least two hours before cutting. Store the fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for up to ten days. (That's in theory. Ours is always eaten long before then!)




Free Recipe PDF


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Merry Christmas, Everyone!




Eat with Joy to the World!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries


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18 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great series! I will add it to my TBR list. Thank you for the recipe. I also signed up for your newsletter!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to the Coffeehouse community, Dee. I hope you enjoy our newsletter and our Coffeehouse Mysteries. Have a joyous holiday and a very Happy New Year!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com

      Delete
  2. I've used this recipe with the marshmallow fluff for years. This year I tried a new fudge recipe I found in the newspaper. It didn't turn out for me. Going back to my marshmallow fluff recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m with you, Dianne. Depending on ingredients and methods, the fudge recipes without Fluff aka marshmallow crème (or an equivalent with marshmallows) tend to come out either too hard and sugary, or foamy and insubstantial. Marc swears by the original recipe and (so far) I tend to agree. Here’s a fun link on the history of Fluff and its inventors: CLICK HERE TO SEE.

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      CleoCoyleRecipes.com

      Delete
  3. Merry Christmas Cleo and Marc! the fudge looks amazing... xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lucy/Roberta! Marc and I hope you and your family have a lovely holiday and Happy New Year!

      ~ Cleo

      Delete
  4. I wish you all the very best of Christmases and may we all have a peace-filled new year.

    KFC, huh? Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had the same reaction. Odd. But then I'm sure there are people who think eating seven kinds of fish dishes on Christmas Eve is just as peculiar! Funny how rituals get started...as long as they're good eats, right? :) Hope you have a wonderful holiday, and a brilliant 2016.

      xoxo

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com

      Delete
  5. I read about KFC in Japan and found it pretty funny. To tell the truth, I don't find it worth the time and mess to make my own, so I do go to KFC, but never for Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, Anne. Globally, there are so many different rituals that have developed around Christmas, especially with food. I guess we can chalk up Japan’s KFC craze as one more! My best to you and yours this holiday season.

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com

      Delete
  6. Good job on that fudge looks great!
    I read the same story about fried chicken in Japan. I have actually done that in the past, not KFC, but from a local business. I like having "non-traditional" meals on Christmas. I have never been a fan of an overly formal Christmas. I like it to be relaxed and casual. So every year I like to try something different to see how it works. But the fried chicken was one of my favorites.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret - Thank you for sharing that! And Marc and I agree...Christmas lives in the heart, and in the joy of giving and receiving fellowship. May yours be warm and delicious!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com

      Delete
  7. Interesting...thanks and Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The same to you, Patricia, Merry Christmas and thanks for dropping by the Kitchen!

      ~ Cleo

      Delete
  8. Fried chicken might be kind of good Christmas Day. We aren't having a large group that day. The fudge sound good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Elaine, and you can tell them the fried chicken idea came straight out of Tokyo (it's closer to turkey than sushi, anyway)!

      Thanks for dropping in today. Marc and I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com


      Delete
  9. Fudge and fried chicken--what would Christmas be without either one of them? Thank you, Cleo!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wonderful series. The fudge sounds yummy. KFC?

    ReplyDelete