Little Party nibbles: Mama’s Russian Fudge

Every Christmas our mother would make three different kinds of fudges. We would carefully wrap a selection in crackly difficult, transparent cellophane, then we gathered the corners together,  with a red ribbon, tied  in a bow.  We made  a number of little packages. A large number. Us kids would make tiny cards that we attached to the ribbons and then with baskets loaded with fudge we would walk along the beach and  around the block  giving out our Mothers little christmas gifts to all the neighbours she knew.  She knew plenty. Everyone smiled at us. We were as popular as the florists delivery boy.

Of the three fudges that I remember making, I have the actual recipe for the Russian Fudge. This seems to have its origins in  an old Scottish  fudge called Tablet. Though that does not explain where the Russian came in.  It is definitely one of the retro recipes. I have cruised the New Zealand sugary sites, comparing Mums recipe to others, and they are all  almost exactly the same so I think if I look further I will find a 50’s version in New Zealand Woman’s Weekly or The Edmonds Cookbook something.

It is NOT HEALTHY!  There is no way round it! It should come with a warning as it is so More-ish and so simple to make.  

Russian Fudge:

3 tablespoons of Golden Syrup. (I cannot find Golden Syrup out here on the plains, so I used sorghum/molasses which is close. But Golden Syrup is the NZ flavour. )

1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk

3 1/2 cups white sugar (told you it was bad for you)

4 oz (about 125 grams) butter

1/2 cup milk

pinch of salt

Heat all the ingredients to a gentle rolling boil, stir occassionally, after about 10 minutes drop a little into cold water, if it balls you are done. (or slowly heat up to 150C, though mine was ready before it got that hot)  Take off the heat. Add 1 big tsp of vanilla.  Now the important bit. Beat with a hand beater until it looks duller and is thicker.  I beat it for at least 5 minutes.  But it is cooling, so once you feel it change consistency and get thicker, quickly pour into a greased pie dish. Mark your little squares with a knife while it is soft.

When it is cool. About an hour for those of you who can’t wait! Cut into tiny blocks. Eat one tiny piece and give the rest away as fast as you can! This wee morsel just melts in your mouth!

For some extraordinary reason this is perfect with a wee dram of cognac. In the bad old days I often took a medicinal shot of good cognac just before I went on stage.   It warms the vocal chords, I would tell my disapproving stage manager, as she gave me the five minute call.


115 Comments on “Little Party nibbles: Mama’s Russian Fudge

  1. Another winner…this sounds like it tastes like something I remember from childhood but having had since…I feel like I “know” it in some way. So can’t wait to try it. Question: now that you’re in the US, have you ever eaten maple sugar fudge/candy? God, that is good too.

    • No I haven’t.. do you have the recipe? i shall look for it. I do not really have a sweet tooth but I have two here who do, and a fantastic maple syrup supplier. great idea. c

  2. I come from a family of fudge lovers and they all like their fudge a little different- one wants soft fudge, the other hard and crumbly. Which category would you say your Mama’s falls into C? It kinda looks between the two? Ahh, what the heck, think I will just make your Mama’s recipe anyway and hopefully satisfy everybody as the microwave recipe I have doesn’t quite do the trick for everybody’s taste.
    🙂 Mandy

    • Well it is smooth and a wee bit crunchy, how do I describe such a thing, it will crumble slightly when you bite into it, them melt in your mouth, it is not soft yet it is smooth. Now I sound like a bad hallmark card (laugh). Let me know how they like it. c

      • I ran to the kitchen very excited to make your recipe and I don’t have the tin of condensed milk I thought was in the cupboard – so it will have to wait until I get to the shops again C. Will report back soonest. 🙂 xo

        • That is so funny mandy, when i decided to make them I did the exact same thing, I know I have a tin hiding in there somewhere. Luckily the little village store two towns over had some! c

  3. Wow..check out the amount of sugar in that!! It is the holidays after all and I could just see the smiles of those receiving these!! It’s all about balance, I’m totally not against having a treat and spoiling myself every now and then. Now, if only I was in walking distance of your farmy, I’d invite you in for a cup of tea for one of those fudgey squares!!

    • they do go very nicely with tea too, I have my cache all in little packages at the door waiting to be delivered. I simply cannot have them in the house! john would pop them into his mouth one after the other and then we would have to go out and buy him new teeth!! c

  4. The fudge sounds wonderful. I can see why it would be wrapped and given out to friends. It would be too tempting if left open for fingers to grab a sweet morsel.

  5. My son and I will be making this recipe this weekend. He is nine and loves to cook and make candy. This looks simple enough that I am going to give it a whirl!

    • When I helped Mum, my job was the whipping with the electric beater (mum would set the hot pot into the empty kitchen sink so it did not fall onto anyone and I sat on a stool) and then most important job: the drawing of lines on top of the fudge as it cooled. Plus (and this is important to you and I) the clean up is a snap! c

    • great, let me know how it works out, remember this is the kiwi version. hope he likes it. the scottish one does not have golden syrup in it. c

  6. Fudge is just the best thing! 🙂 Evidence Matters did a round up post for the peanut brittle thing and referred to a great article by Alex Renton on sugar and sweets and tablet is mentioned in that article too. My old flat mate came from Glasgow and he loves tablet, and bun, which is a fruit pudding boiled in a a bag. However my current favourite fudge is the one from the toffee shop in Penrith. Sticky toffee pudding is another toothsome delight, do you have that on the plains, a steamed pudding made with dates and covered in hot fudgey sauce and frazzled under the grill. Back to my steamed green veggies now xxx

    • BUN! I have a distant memory of that, Mum used to make a boiled pudding in a bag, I shall look through her book.. but I can’t find the dried fruit out here, you know for christmas cake fruit mix? in the box, with the yucky candied peel in it.. I am going to have to send home for a red cross box of food stuff again.. and NO I have not seen the yummy sticky toffee pudd.. I would love that recipe.. c

  7. Fantastic! I shall be making fudge this year as part of the presents I give. Perhaps you should make it properly Russian and add some vodka?

  8. Ah, this looks delicious!! The color and texture remind me of our family Christmas favorite, peanut butter fudge. My mother used to make a batch for each of us kids and send to us each Christmas after we had left home, even after we were married. The year that my mother died, a lady from the church we were attending at the time sent a batch to me…anonymously. It wasn’t until later that I found out who had sent it. I made for a very special memory that year.

  9. Oh boy! I will try making this with my kiddos this month! I’ve only done fudge once before, thank you for the recipe 🙂

    • It is simple and perfect for making with children once you are past the hot hot stage, a good time to practice safety in the kitchen with them.. c

  10. I have never made fudge. There. I said it…do you suppose a beginner can handle it?
    I can still send you some of the Golden Syrup – just send me an email with an address!

  11. OK, I will say it: I wish I lived in your neighborhood.

    As much as the fudge was a gift, the even greater gift from your mother was the one given to you, her children. She showed you the meaning of giving as you wrapped the fudge in cellophane, tied the bows, attached the cards and then handed out the treat. What a beautiful, loving, giving mother.

  12. fudge isn’t supposed to be healthy.. it’s supposed to be sinfully delicious :). I haven’t had fudge in a long time but I will definitely be saving this recipe 🙂

  13. My mum is an epic burner of things. She came into cooking at 14, upon the death of her mother and under the tutelage of older sisters who each had three or four toddlers at home. It did not go well. I started cooking for Mum when I was 11, because I knew how much she hated cooking and I do tend not to burn things. Brown sugar fudge was one of those things I made for her. Slowly and carefully because hot sugar is such a fiddly thing, sometime after her December birthday but before Christmas eve. She would love this recipe, C. Thanks for the little trip down memory lane 🙂

    • Well done you.. interesting that my mother got sick when I was 14 as well and I took over the cooking, but I WAS the elder sister.. I am sure that you are teaching your own children and by extension your crew to cook as well, there are WAY too many people in the world now who do not know how to make even the simplest thing from scratch. Even a four year old should be able to make himself a sandwich or peel a carrot, or mash the spuds! I would love you to make this fudge for your Mum this year, especially after all the scraps she has been in. She is so like my Mum. .. c

  14. I can smell it when I look at your photo. Fudge was my first candy as a kid. We used to add walnuts to the recipe – probably in an attempt to pretend there was some nutrition! 😀

    • walnuts.. i might add some to the next batch for the young people. this batch is for the old people, who have teeth problems, they love the melt in your mouth bit.. c

  15. I have so little resistance to fudge and its seductive powers. If I buy it, I’m often tearing into it before I’ve barely left the parking lot — if I haven’t already had a piece on my way to the car. (Oh, all right! I’ll have some on the way to the car AND again while driving home.). If I make it, I had better give it away ASAP or it will be gone in the blink of an eye. Your recipe sounds delicious. I’m in trouble here.

    • I would love you to try this one and maybe give some to Zia.. she might like some NZ fudge, to say thank you for all the wonderful recipes we make, that she and you have worked on. And John and I have eaten ! But you will have to drive all the way to Zia’s house with the fudge in the car.. hmm.. this could be a problem. c

      • The fudge would never make it to my car, let alone survive a 7 hour drive. I will, however, bring the ingredients, make it for her, and tell her it’s from you. She will love the fudge and be touched by your thoughtfulness. Thanks, Celi!

        • brilliant way to outsmart your lack of self control.. I was thinking last night how wonderful it would be for Zia to eat one of my old family recipes, I hope you can get some golden syrup! c

  16. Oh geesh, you had to pull out the homemade fudge, didn’t you? I won’t show this to my mom…she LOVES fudge, so I’d probably have to make some. 😉 This would be a perfect little Christmas gift. x

  17. Found your link on life at the end of the road…I love cooking and will try this recipe.. any chance you can send some of your fudge down to surrey 🙂 have a great Christmas and new year

    • we will have a great christmas Gazza, hope you do too! I guess you are still having nice weather over there in surrey! c

  18. This recipe sounds absolutely delicious. I am a self-confessed fudge addict and love to sit down with a cup of coffee and more pieces than I should! I’d never tried a recipe with syrup before, but can’t wait to try this one.

  19. It’s definitely the time of year for fudge, I have just made a batch too with peanut butter! First ever so must be because I am a kiwi now ;0)

    • I am so proud of you getting to be a Kiwi, How hard was it? Did you have to sing the national anthem or something, was there a test? and more to the point what did you cook as your first kiwi dinner. In fact I am going to go over to your site to see.. c

  20. How very funny. I have a tiny tin of maple fudge (Daily Cure’s mentioned it) in the pantry and keep it out of sight so that when on occasion it occurs to me it’s still there I will go and eat one piece. Then put the container back until the need strikes again. I would think this, too, would go down smoothly with a wee dram.

  21. How I wish I was your neighbor. You’d definitely be more welcome than the florist’s delivery guy. With that fudge, you’d be as welcome as the Publisher’s Clearing House prize patrol. Looks incredibly decadent, Cecilia. mm. mmm

    • Thats OK Celia, at least you cn make it with the real thing. Miss Rhode Island has found some for me and will mail it, so that will be great! c

  22. Celi! If you were my neighbour I’d probably be one of those annoying neighbours always drooling on your fence…. guess you could put me in the back with the cows 🙂 This looks sooooooo good! 3.5 cups sugar sounds quite intense indeed.

  23. I never thought making fudge is easy as this, and yes I can make it with the Golden Syrup I knwo I saw it in Pak n Save before

    • Hey, ray, since you are our resident food historian, why do you think it is called Russian Fudge, I will pop over to your site to ask you.. c

  24. Pingback: British foods – Hurray for local grocers « Images by T.Dashfield

    • Oh mercy, we will have to look at that one day I suppose, but the period I was talking about I was doing some kind of wild experimental musical theatre.. I must go back and write about that period one day, it was pretty exciting there for a bit! c

  25. Woooah, I leave for a few days and here you are making my favorite treat of all time.. healthy shmelthy… bring on the fudge I say! I’ve never heard of tablet.. perhaps that is the advil you need after the sugar rush subsides. I’d love to make a batch of this one and hide it for only me:)

    • Hullo Whiskey and welcome.. and thank you for the link, i do miss my golden syrup and would NEVER use corn syrup as you have probably worked out by now! c

  26. Pingback: Failed fudge. Failed Soap. Ah well, there is always tomorrow. | thekitchensgarden

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