Nancy J Parra aka Nancy Coco, the author of over 20 published novels which include four mystery series: The Gluten-free Baker’s Treat Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The Candy Coated Mysteries (Kensington), The Perfect Proposal Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime) and The Kensington Palace Mysteries. Her writing has been called witty and her protagonists plucky by reviewers around the world. Nancy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and blogs at the KillerCharacters.com on the 8th of every month. Nancy loves to hear from readers. Be sure and check out her mysteries.
Nancy J Parra aka Nancy Coco:
Fudge Making is More Than a Christmas Tradition
Fudge brings to mind road trips, vacations and holidays. The yummy, often homemade, candy is in the forefront of my Mackinac Island set, Candy Coated Mystery series. The fourth book in the series, All You Need is Fudge highlights the great yacht race from Chicago to Mackinac. It is a tradition that happens every year. Only this year’s race is murder when Allie finds a dead woman floating in the marina. With trusted Bichonpoo puppy, Mal, on the job solving this crime isn’t as easy as pie.
For this series I’ve experimented with several kinds of fudge. Below is the most beloved so far. I hope you enjoy! --Nancy
Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Fudge
4 cups pecans chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup Half and Half
3 Tbsp dark corn syrup
stick butter + 1 1/2 tsp butter for pan prep
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups mini dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 8 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow the pecans to cool. Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and butter the foil with 1 ½ tsp butter. Place 2 cups of dark chocolate mini chips in the bottom of the pan.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the brown and granulated sugars, the cream, and the corn syrup over medium heat. Stir until the sugars dissolve, insert a candy thermometer-ensure it does not touch the bottom or sides of the pan, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Allow the mixture to boil, stirring frequently, until it reaches 238 degrees F on the candy thermometer. This takes approximately 10 minutes. (I set the timer to help understand how long it takes for the temperature to reach this point.) Once at 238, remove from heat. Take out the thermometer and stir in the butter, vanilla extract, and chopped pecans. Stir the fudge vigorously with a heavy wooden spoon. (I break more spoons making fudge. It will get thick.) Stir constantly for 10-15 minutes until the fudge loses its shine and holds its shape. Pour fudge into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Refrigerate the fudge to set it, for at least 1 hour.
Once set, remove the fudge from the pan using the foil as handles. Cut the fudge into small 1-inch pieces to serve. Store fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.