Growing up, there were three “traditions” I fondly remember during every holiday season.

Tradition Number One: We would light a bayberry candle and burn it all the way down in order to ensure good luck in the coming year.  Can’t say the bayberry candles really helped in the “luck” department, but they smelled quite nice.

Tradition Number Two: During a snowfall, my brother and I would place cereal bowls outside to collect the fresh snow.  My mother would top it with vanilla extract and we’d gobble up this tasty treat.  I realize now that I probably liked this tradition immensely as I was six years old and hammered from the vanilla extract.  I’ve consequently altered said tradition with my own Thing 1 and Thing 2.  They eat their bowls of snow topped with sprinkles. Well, unless they are being really difficult.  Then it’s snow topped with Benadryl.  Ahem,  kidding…really!

Tradition Number Three: Shamelessly gorging on grandmother’s homemade fudge.  My grandmother was an old school kind of lady.  She canned vegetables.  She made gooseberry pies from scratch.  She ironed (what’s that?!).  Every holiday there was a tray full of her glorious chocolate fudge set out for all to enjoy.

With grandmother’s fudge in mind and my obsession with anything pumpkin not waning, I started thinking about whipping up a batch of my own fudge.  Then I started researching fudge (yes, I need to get out more).  Apparently fudge can be very tricky.  Making fudge began to scare me a bit.  I still haven’t recovered from my horrific Chebe Calzone Incident of August 2008.  After some procrastination, my craving for fudge overcame my fear.  I’d like to happily report that the fudge recipe I concocted was easy!  Trust me, if I can successfully make fudge while using a meat thermometer, you can totally knock this outta the park!

Pumpkin Chocolate Fudge

3 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
7 ounces marshmallow creme
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
12 ounces white chocolate chips
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 squares Baker’s Chocolate (I used bittersweet)
candy thermometer (a meat thermometer worked as well!)

In a large saucepan (at least 3 quart), mix together sugars, salt, evaporated milk, and pumpkin on high heat. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to boil until mixture reaches 245 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not stir during this time.

When the mixture registers 245 degrees, turn off heat. Add marshmallow creme, butter (melted), vanilla extract, white chocolate chips, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to mix well.

Leave fudge mixture in sauce pan and allow to cool to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This will take some time, so be patient! Once the mixture has cooled to 110 degrees, beat until fudge is thick and has lost it’s “gloss”.  You will have arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger after beating this fudge!  Pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Microwave Baker’s Chocolate squares and spread over top of pumpkin fudge. Cool to room temperature and/or refrigerate before slicing.

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