‘Tis the season for reflection, right? Given that and the fact that I love looking through photographs and reading yearly wrap-ups with equal fervor; I give you a look back at our 2015 in four (okay, maybe five) photographs—I had a hard time narrowing it down—and also a lovely little recipe for Peppermint Mocha Milk Fudge to nibble on as you go.
When I look back at our year, it doesn’t seem all that earth-shattering. No babies were born, no moves were made, we never did those house projects I’ve been yammering on about. 2015 was a year of internal re-workings, minute changes, baby steps; some years are just like that, I guess.
The winter was mostly taken up by apparently a lot of grocery shopping. This is one of several shots I have of my kids in markets, but this one holds a special place in my heart because this is Lily the owner of Lotus Blossom, the best (!!!!) grocery store in all of North Dakota and I don’t know what I do without her and her 50-pound bags of rice, and chayote, and fresh thai basil in the middle of winter, and……..
Spring for us usually doesn’t start until June but this year we were out digging in the ground in April!! And I had the garden planted by (unheard of) early May.
Summer was spent in the garden.
And that brings us to fall when a particular little guy started pre-school and a particular little girl started second grade and we’ve basically been making tamales ever since. What was your year like? Big? Little? Somewhere in between?
One day come January I will probably give you a recipe for something sans sugar but until then, it’s Christmas so Peppermint Mocha Milk Fudge it is!
Milk fudge or jamoncillo de leche is a special Mexican candy made of slowly simmered sweetened condensed milk and flavorings, basically hardened dulce de leche. If you are into making homemade gifts for Christmas than this, my friends, is it!
The ingredients list is reasonable and the method is simple (no candy thermometer required). The hardest part is the diligent risotto-like stirring for 20-30 minutes but honestly I was thrilled to a: stand over a steaming pot of peppermint-scented sweetened condensed milk and b: have an excuse to take a 30-minute reprieve from reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas again!
After the candy has hardened you can cut it into little squares and wrap them caramel-style in slightly larger squares of waxed paper and give as gifts or just invite me over and I’ll eat them all for you.
From the ¡Hola! Jalapeño family to yours—¡Salúd! You guys are tremendous! I love that a whole other year has passed and your still here. I hope you know how much that means to me. May you wrap-up your 2015 with joy in your hearts and have a very merry Christmases indeed.
A Mexican-style milk fudge recipe made with cocoa powder, coffee, and crushed peppermint candy canes.
Recipe adapted from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson
If wrapped individually, fudge will keep in a cool room for up to a week. If you don't want to hassle with wrapping them, cover the whole pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a month.
- 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk, divided
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated whole milk, divided
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/2 cup peppermint candy canes (about 6 candy canes)
- Grease an 8 x 8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an inch overhang.
- Combine 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 3/4 cup evaporated milk, 3 tablespoons butter, cocoa powder, instant coffee, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt in a large saucepan.
- Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture has thickened, reduced by 2/3 to 3/4, and when you drag your spoon along the bottom the mixture stays separated for 5-6 seconds before running back together, about 20-30 minutes. If mixture is bubbling too vigorously, turn down the heat as you stir to maintain a slow boil.
- Pour into pan and smooth into an even layer. Let stand 30 minutes. Clean saucepan and spoon.
- Combine remaining condensed milk, evaporated milk, butter, peppermint extract, and pinch of salt in the clean saucepan and repeat the cooking process with the peppermint mixture.
- Once mixture is cooked and thickened, reserve 2 tablespoons of the crushed candy canes then stir the rest into the peppermint mixture. Pour over chocolate mixture and smooth the top. Sprinkle reserved crushed candy canes on top and let sit at least 1 hour before cutting.