Beef Fudge,1967 – A Vintage Recipe Test

Posted on Feb 24 2016 - 3:44am by RetroRuth

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!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Beef Fudge
Serves: 50 small squares
  • 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
  1. 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.

Beef Fudge001

Poll-Ette Hostess001

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.


Bubbling away!

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.

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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36 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Beth February 24, 2016 at 6:47 am - Reply

    I’m reading this at 6:45 a.m. I’ve lost my appetite for breakfast. 🙁

  2. Maggie February 24, 2016 at 6:56 am - Reply

    Considering that I’ve eaten chocolate-covered beef jerky, this actually doesn’t seem that weird to me.

  3. Robert Reyes February 24, 2016 at 7:31 am - Reply

    Why do I get the feeling the next great recipeathon will be weird chocolate recipes. A chocolate cake made from chicken fat!? I’m so intrigued.

    • Yinzerella February 24, 2016 at 9:36 am - Reply

      I approve this message.

  4. Jessie Desmond February 24, 2016 at 8:26 am - Reply

    This recipe doesn’t seem like it would be too bad. Meat and Sweet go together pretty well – I think it’s the salt and sugar factors (just look at chocolate-covered bacon or sweet and sour chicken). I would definitely try the fugde if it was paleo. The sugar will just give me a migraine.

    Dumb sugar.

  5. Drude February 24, 2016 at 8:37 am - Reply

    Ha! I must try this. On unsuspecting guests…

  6. Laurin February 24, 2016 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Thanks for being brave enough to try this! I’ve eaten Mo’s Bacon Bar from Vosges–this can’t be that different. Hmmm…bacon-laced fudge might be even better…

  7. Janet Rudolph February 24, 2016 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Definitely an interesting recipe. The fat from the beef would just sounds unappetizing.. I’d try it, though..after all bacon fudge works! Thanks for posting.

  8. Beth Anne February 24, 2016 at 9:54 am - Reply

    This was such a fun read and the photos of Tom are priceless! Thanks for the smile this morning!

  9. Liz K February 24, 2016 at 10:34 am - Reply

    I can not tell you how much I covet that cookbook. The cover is adorable, I adore old cook books that give anecdotes and snippets of history, and I grew up around cattle. I even had a Polled Hereford as a pet when I was a kid. I rarely seek out a specific vintage cook book, just finding super weird things for a buck in the back of antique stores is more my style, but the search is on for this one.
    I totally see why this recipe worked but I’m not sure I would have come up with it myself. Thanks for your bravery and determination to test the recipes I’m just too chicken to try.

  10. Keith February 24, 2016 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Thanks for a great exploration of make-do recipes with beef. It’s interesting how creativity ingenuity changes over the decades.

  11. Susan February 24, 2016 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    I’m guessing that, between 4 cups of sugar, 12 oz of chocolate chips, 2 cups of marshmallow fluff and 2 teaspoons of vanilla, there’s so much sweetness that you can’t taste ANYTHING but sweet. This must have a million calories per square in it!

  12. disneypal February 24, 2016 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    That is probably the most bizarre recipe I have ever heard of – hard to believe it is actually good. I don’t know if I am brave enough to make it but I would taste it if given the chance.

  13. Jenée Libby February 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    OMG! I’m not sure which is more disturbing. The beef in fudge or the cow licking her lips at the thought of eating itself. It’s like when pigs advertise barbecue! *headscratcher*

  14. Meem February 24, 2016 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Okay, so I will have to try this at your house but it DOES look good, I can tell by the smiles on Tom’s face and I know what Alex will say :MORE CHOCOLATE”!!!!

  15. Lisa F. February 24, 2016 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Interesting enough to try it. Well if you consider lard was used to cook, fry, bake for many years and actually still is before oil came onto the scene. And we also have shortening made both from meat solids and vegetable. Interesting.

  16. Lassie February 24, 2016 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    I don’t suppose ground round would be the same, lol!

  17. Linda February 24, 2016 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    It sounds gross…then I remembered traditional mince pies are also meat with sweet and they are delish, so why not?

  18. zydny February 24, 2016 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    <<<—– A vegetarian running away as fast as she can!

  19. Erik Stutzman February 25, 2016 at 4:17 am - Reply

    Not much stranger than a fudge recipe my mother made that incorporated Velveeta. Very creamy fudge…

    • Beth Anne February 25, 2016 at 10:47 am - Reply

      I’ve had fudge made from that recipe before! Surprisingly good.

  20. Mary February 25, 2016 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Beef Fudge. Two words that should never go together in the English language. Susan is right, with all the sugar, fluff and chocolate, you could probably put anything in this and still have it taste like fudge.

    Re: chicken fat. My mom once rendered some chicken fat and used it in chocolate chip cookies. I can’t remember if she told us kids about it beforehand, but I remember they were the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.

  21. Amorette February 25, 2016 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    As someone who lives in Montana, I have eaten beef fudge several times. Used to be very popular in cookie cook-offs. Not so much now. I live in Angus rather than Polled (which means without horns) Hereford country but beef fudge is beef fudge. (My recipe comes from an old CowBelle cookbook. They are now known as Cattlewomen.)

    • RetroRuth February 25, 2016 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      Amorette! Did you see my FB post about the talk I found on YouTube about Montana history and beef fudge? If not, here is the link: It’s really good, and she talks about the CowBelles!

      • Amorette February 26, 2016 at 3:45 pm - Reply

        That’s great! I know about Mary Murphy but that talk is wonderful. And so is huckleberry pie.

  22. The Atomic Mom February 25, 2016 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    I’m glad it worked. I’m pregnant right now with a very queezy stomach. Just reading the title gave me pause, but I braved it anyway. Although, I don’t think we’ll be making beef fudge anytime soon.

  23. Lisa B. February 25, 2016 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    I feel compelled to share one of my favorite poems. By E.B. White, ’’The Red Cow Is Dead,’’ was inspired by an item in the newspaper reporting the death of Sir Hanson Rowbotham’s favorite Red Polled cow while grazing in the lush pastures of the Wellow Farm from a bite on the udder by an adder. “Spread the bad news! What is more sudden, what sadder than udder stung by adder? He’s never been madder, Sir Hanson Rowbotham.”

  24. Celeste February 25, 2016 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    I don’t. Because. And then.Basically.beef fudge. Not gonna lie, it’s hard to get my kid to eat meat. Part of me is tempted to try this. Part of me wants to hide.

  25. Spence February 26, 2016 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    I’m so glad you made this. As soon as I saw this on Facebook, I was tempted to send along the recipe, but I assumed that your inbox was probably being inundated with that particular post. Dr. Bobb says he’s going to take a crack at Beef Fudge too. We’ll see if he gives it as favorable review. I’m going to make this at Christmas without divulging the secret ingredient until well into the evening.

  26. Anne March 22, 2016 at 9:31 am - Reply

    You got mentioned (as did Tom’s reaction!) on Lawyers, Gun & Money:

  27. Ann Ladenberger April 14, 2016 at 11:54 am - Reply

    This recipe once again proves my long-standing belief that if you throw enough fat, sugar or chocolate on anything (and preferably all three) it will taste good! From zucchini to carrots to sauerkraut to beef, your entertaining blog has confirmed my theory. Cheers!

  28. Susan November 8, 2016 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Stumbled on your website while googling horrible vintage recipes and it’s great.

    When I read your comment about making a chocolate cake with chicken fat, I wanted to comment that I have made raisin muffins (own recipe), butterscotch brownies (joy of cooking recipe), carrot cake, parsnip cake, and beet cake (last 3 lightly modified from a 1940s culinary institute sweet potato cake), all with chicken fat, and they were all actually delicious. The raw batter tasted repulsive, but when I crossed my fingers and baked it anyway the final results were delicious. It doesn’t work for anything that requires you to cream the shortening and sugar, though.

  29. Leigh September 27, 2017 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    I want to try this recipe. But is there a swap for the leftover roast beef? We always cook our beef with some kind of spice (never just salt), so the leftovers would carry that spice into the fudge. What if I browned some hamburger, refrigerated it overnight, then ran it through a food processor to get the right texture? Think that might work?

  30. Leigh September 28, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Aw, you guys, I googled Mrs. Weist. She lived to be 92 and was known for her cinnamon rolls. I wish I had a gramma who made me cinnamon rolls.

  31. Lassie September 28, 2017 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Oh dear, this again? I never have any kind of ‘leftover beef’ to futz around with. And I do think, any kind of protein of any kind, if relatively flavorless (very finely ground up hamburg, ground up chicken, ground up turkey/lamb/goat) could be thrown in to bulk it up. I don’t know why, but then…if you have a ton of meat, why not?.

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