Decadence, thy name is Fudge...
Last week I went on a sugar induced flashback-Odyssey and made a batch of fudge. Not just any fudge though, the Big Daddy\Grand Puba\Dennis Farina of 'em all: Mackinac Fudge.
You see, a long time ago in a Galaxy not so far away, I went with Troy (of Crowz Nest fame) to Mackinac Island. It was a time when I was consumed with modems and working at Marco's. I had yet to decide what I wanted to do after high school and a summer vacation away from Perrysburg was something I hadn't had in years. This was July of 1993... (Insert Harp Strumming To Indicate Flashback Sequence)
Lets see: I had a goofy hair cut, bad glasses and was relatively ill-tempered. So not much has changed... Troy, His Mother, His Sister and I went to Mackinac Island for a nice week long trip. Once we arrived, I realized I was in an entirely different world. No cars. No modems. No Fast Food... I was in Heaven.
We stayed at the Windermere hotel and we ate at a variety of exceptional places. One of many places that will always have a place in my heart was Murray's Deli. Some of the greatest coffee I ever drank, I had at Murray's. And don't even get me started on 3 Brother Sarducci...
But what really got me, the point of epic and legendary proportions, was the Fudge. This is THE real deal. This is what being a Master Confectioner is all about! My mom told me to get some and gave me money to bring some back. Yes, she gave me a big bear-hug, said "goodbye" and told me she loved me, but what her eyes said was: Spend that money on anything else and I'll fucking kill you...
There are a few different places to get Fudge on Mackinac. I remember watching the May family make fudge through the window of their shop and being completely amazed. Their control over that molten chocolate was insane. It was magical. It was borderline UNHOLY! I wanted it...
Skipping ahead... I didn't get any Fudge right then and there. Troy and I had breakfast and explored the island. It was later that evening that I got my first taste of what a true culinary experience could be. Troy and I had stopped at Ryba's Fudge in search of some quality sweets after an amazing meal at 3BS. It was then and there that I changed. My life changed...
There are a few amazing moments in history that lead me to do what I do for a living. The first time I had a cappuccino for instance... Or that first time I had Calamari and realized how wonderful it could be when prepared properly. To have that Fudge, at that exact moment in time was perfect. It was destiny. Did I say I was in Heaven earlier? Well, that Fudge was Manna from Heaven...
Years later, I'm still haunted by the flavor and texture of such a divine product. So much so, that I made my own. This recipe comes directly from Ryba's via a book my mom got for me a while back called Mackinac Island Memories...
Old Fashioned Island Fudge
2 C Sugar
1/2 C Half-n-Half
2 One-Ounce Squares of UNSWEETENED Chocolate
2 T Light Corn Syrup
1/2 t Salt
2 T Butter
1 t Vanilla
Combine Sugar, Half-n-Half, Chocolate, Corn Syrup and Salt in Saucepan.
Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until Chocolate and Sugar is completely dissolved.
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 234F on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat, add butter and allow to cool to 120F without stirring.
Butter a loaf pan and set aside.
Add vanilla and beat vigorously until no longer glossy. (About 5 to ten minutes.)
Spread mixture into pan and allow to cool completely.
Tap the Bottle - YBT
Falling to Pieces - Faith No More
Soulful Strut - Youngholt Unlimited
Oh How Happy - Shades of Blue
Safe From Harm - Massive Attack
Oh! Sweet Nothing - Velvet Underground
The Windermere Hotel