So, this week I listened to some crazy people on the Mid-Century Menu Facebook page and added some leftover roast beef to fudge.
This is Beef Fudge!
- ½ lb (2 sticks) butter
- 1 large can of evaporated milk
- 4 cups sugar
- 12 oz chocolate chips
- 2 cups marshmallow fluff
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup cooked ground roast beef (crusty, dry parts removed and only seasoned with salt)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Cook butter, milk and sugar for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and marshmallow fluff until melted. Stir in vanilla and ground beef roast and walnuts. Beat until firm and pour into a well-greased 9x13 pan.
This recipe is from this book, which, in a short period of time, has also become my most favorite vintage cookbook. This is the Poll-Ette Hostess Cookbook from 1967, and is from the wives of Polled Hereford cattle farmers and ranchers around the world. And such is my mania with this cookbook that I’ve read it cover to cover twice, enough to know how to spell Polled Hereford from memory, even though up to this point I had no idea that specific breed of cattle even existed.
Or that they like to wear bows in their hair. And eat steak.
After reading through the book twice, I can kind of see where this recipe came from. I mean, I would have never, ever, ever thought of this on my own, but maybe if you are the wife of a rancher and you have beef coming out of your ears, you think up ways to use it. Any way to use it. The book is crammed with recipes like this, with beef in everything from bread, to fudge, to cake and brownies.
And yes, I will be testing all of these.
But there are also other, more normal recipes in this book. Recipes that contain notes like, “This is what we made when we were stranded during the big flood,” or “This recipe got us through the days after a power outage, after I had to throw out the contents of our freezers,” or “We make this on laundry day. It’s a lifesaver if you have extra farm hands to feed!” Overall, a great book that gives a real look at recipes that these wives used on a regular basis and were considered lifesavers.
So, even though I had my doubts about the excited notes of this particular recipe (“It adds crunchiness! It adds nutrition! This is the only way my family likes fudge!”), I still got my beef ready.
I don’t have a grinder, so I just ran the beef through my food processor. It was a little more finely ground that it probably would have been with a grinder, but ground is ground.
Also, this is leftover, cooked roast that didn’t have any fancy seasonings on it, just salt. I didn’t want the fudge to taste like mushrooms or anything like that.
In case you didn’t catch it, the base to this recipe is Kraft’s Fantasy Fudge, which is a very simple recipe. Practically foolproof, even for fools like me who almost always bungle fudge somehow. The best part of Fantasy Fudge is that you don’t have to be constantly monitoring the temp, just boil for 5 minutes or so and (unless it is humid out), you are good to go.
Sorry for the blurry picture. Apparently I got really excited about adding beef to fudge. Or maybe really scared. I can never tell with Mid-Century Menu food.
Here is the finished fudge. This recipe makes a 13×9 pan of fudge, but I poured out about half of it into another pan before adding the beef. For…control purposes. To compare what a normal piece of fudge would taste like vs. the beefed fudge.
Also, I didn’t think this would work, so I wanted some edible fudge when this was all over.
You can see the beef pieces! Look!
You could also smell them.
“It smells steaky.”
“Just eat it.”
“I don’t want to.”
I almost threw down the camera. “You’re freaking kidding me.”
“Nope, this is delicious.”
“It doesn’t taste like beef?”
“How can that be? It smells like steak!”
“I don’t know.”
“No one is going to believe this.”
“I don’t know if I even believe it.”
The Verdict: Delicious
From The Tasting Notes –
Sigh. I don’t even know if anyone is reading this anymore, but if you haven’t left in disgust, I SWEAR I had no idea this would happen. I should have guessed. I mean, after the whole chocolate tomato soup cake experience, I should have learned that chocolate can cover pretty much anything you can throw at it. In fact, I remember reading recently in a World War II cookbook the startling advice that you can get away with making a chocolate cake with chicken fat, and no one will ever know. Which I seriously doubted at the time, but now I believe that just might be true.
This fudge was really good. In fact, it was better than the non-beef portion of fudge that I had pulled out and set aside for Alex in case the beef fudge turned out to be a pile of…beef fudge. But the beef fudge was BETTER than the fudge that did NOT have beef in it. I never thought I would ever type that. It might have been that I used a food processor, but the beef pieces kind of just dissolved in the fudge. I didn’t get any of those weird crunchy bits the recipe talked about. It gave the fudge a nice depth of flavor and a complexity that was a shock. It also gave it a good level of salty that we appreciated. And, as the recipe writer claimed, it did dial down the sweetness significantly. It was also smoother in texture and slightly more gooey than the non-beef fudge. Maybe from the melted fat in the roast beef? Either way, it was shockingly good.
So, try throwing some leftover roast beef in your fudge next time. Apparently anything goes when it comes to fudge.