Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cinderella Pink Fairy Tale Fudge

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.

Microwave method:

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,  

Fudge photo credit:  Laura Kahl


  1. Helena GeorgetteJune 1, 2014 at 3:59 AM

    I like the pink color. Where would I find the 'diamonds'? What is your favorite fudge? Which type cherry do you prefer dried or canned? My local library does not have any of your books :(

    1. I found the diamonds first at a hobby store, but then I found them at my local Walmart. They come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. My favorite fudge is dark chocolate, but I like how vanilla fudge absorbs flavors. My Rose Garden Fudge in Book 2 is pungent and I hope pleasant. I prefer the dried cherries because they're so easy to work with. I chop them up for a confetti effect, too. Please ask your local librarian to order my books! They'll be happy to help out patrons. Thanks, Helena. --Christine

    2. Yes, it also seems to me that libraries are not so strong with the cozies.

  2. Welcome, Christine! Why is it every time I see that picture of the fudge I get hungry?

    1. Thank you very much, Sheila, for inviting me. Yeah, pictures of fudge do me in, too. What fun. Whenever I vacation I have to know where the fudge shops are. A colleague of mine says she recalls Stuckey's as a stop when she was a little girl.

  3. Christine, this fudge recipe looks so delectable! Whether or not I have the talent to make it, well . . . that's another story. I read First-Degree Fudge and loved it, so I'm looking forward to reading Hot Fudge Frame-Up.

  4. The fudge is stunning Christine--thanks for sharing it. And lots of luck on the new book!

    1. Thank you, Lucy. I loved TOPPED CHEF! I have to get back to Key West again.

  5. Oh, the pink fudge looks almost too good to eat. I did say, almost. So yummy.

    Thoughts in Progress

    1. Mason,
      You should try to do a photo shoot with all that fudge setting there and you can't eat it. Yet. My colleagues kept emailing to ask when the photo shoot was done, LOL.

  6. Welcome Christine! This fudge would be gorgeous at a wedding or baby shower, wouldn't it? Very interesting about the Belgians in Wisconsin. I have a Belgian friend here in Michigan and had one I met in NJ who works for the Belgian chocolate company Neuhaus. I would have guessed that Oosterling was a Dutch name...we have more Dutch in Grand Rapids than anywhere else. I suppose being so close together, the names crossed lines!

    1. Yes, indeed, many Belgian's have the Dutch influence. That's to the north. The south of Belgium had the French influence. There's also some German influence. The word kermis is from a Dutch word and means harvest festival. In Door County almost EVERY small community has their own kermis, sometimes spelled in an English form, kermiss (two S's). In addition, when the Belgians first came to this country they often wore wooden shoes! Very Dutch.

  7. What a beautiful fudge and recipe! Welcome, Christine. I look forward to reading your books.

    1. Thank you, Mary Jane. I hope you enjoy Ava and her grandfather or "Gilpa."

  8. I just got your first book. Glad to hear a second one on the way. My daughter in law's family is from Belgium. She brought some yummy chocolates back fron her last visit. There is a wonderful fudge shop near their place in NH now. Since we both love cozies too, I got her the book too! This pink fudge recipe looks so pretty. My granddaughters like anything pink. Will need to try this. Thanks! Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

    1. Thanks for sharing my characters and Door County and "pink" with your family. A trip to Belgium has to be on my agenda soon. I have a good friend who for ten years ran one of the tour boats up and down the rivers there. She said it's very lovely and the food and beer were of course the best anywhere.

  9. The fudge looks delicious and the book sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing! :)

  10. What a gorgeous fudge! Pink. So pretty. Perfect for a fairy tale birthday party!

    Thanks for sharing, Christine. And the picture by Laura is so pretty, too. :)

    Daryl / Avery

    1. Daryl/Avery, thank you for the compliments. In your book, The Long Quiche Goodbye, you have a recipe for a "Peanut Butter Apple Pie Sandwich." That's the kind of thing Belgians love. Some might make that with cottage cheese, by the way, since cottage cheese is a favorite thing. With your sandwich and my fudge, and a little wine from Door County, we've got a picnic!

    2. Daryl/Avery, thank you for the compliments. In your book, The Long Quiche Goodbye, you have a recipe for a "Peanut Butter Apple Pie Sandwich." That's the kind of thing Belgians love. Some might make that with cottage cheese, by the way, since cottage cheese is a favorite thing. With your sandwich and my fudge, and a little wine from Door County, we've got a picnic!