This past holiday season was the first time that I set out to do some major baking. Real baking; like from a recipe that didn’t instruct me to follow the directions on the back of the box. I wasn’t expecting great, or even mediocre results. I was sure to keep the list of ingredients I would need to a minimum so I wouldn’t end up wasting too much money on something I decided I wanted to try to do on a whim–and would probably fail at anyway. Considering I am so not a good cook and heavily rely on my slowcooker to prepare edible meals when my fiance can’t or simply doesn’t want to cook, you can understand why my baking expectations were so low.
It turns out, however, that I can bake. I’m not a rockstar baker or anything, but considering I didn’t burn one batch of Christmas cookies during what I dubbed my Christmas cookie baking frenzy, I sure feel like one. More than that, though, I found that I really enjoy baking. Maybe that’s where I have always gone wrong with cooking–I have failed more times than I can count, but I never really enjoyed putting a handful of ingredients into a pot and hoping for the best like I enjoy measuring, combining, folding, stirring, scooping, and watching something delicately rise in the oven.
I like that baking deals in absolutes; it always makes sense and it has the same calming effect on me as I discovered coding did way back when I was 13 and decided I wanted to learn how to create websites. Everything has to make sense, but you can still get creative within the constraints.
Baking is something that I really want to continue doing. I want to learn as much as I can and get better, and what better way to do that than by giving myself a bit of a challenge? And so 52 Weeks of Baking Love was thought up.
Every week throughout 2013 I will be baking something, most often following or adapting recipes from some of my favorite foodie blogs, and posting the results here. Join me on my year-long baking challenge!
I started with something super simple for my first week–fudge. Wait, is fudge considered baking? For the sake of my first week in this challenge I’m going to go with a resounding yes.
During the holidays I made an 8×8 batch of candy cane chocolate swirl fudge following a recipe I found on Sally’s Baking Addiction. I discovered her blog when I was putting together the roundup of Christmas cookie recipes from around the blogosphere, and since then, it’s safe to say that I have my own little addiction to Sally’s Baking Addiction; especially after making one of her recipes and being completely blown away by how easy it was to make and seeing just how well it went over. Between me and my fiance’s family, the entire batch was gone before I could get one picture of it. What I learned with that recipe is that fudge can be easy. So easy. Easier than most other fudge recipes I have seen on blogs and, of course, the recipe mecca that Pinterest has become.
My fiance has a serious love of peanut butter. Add peanut butter to chocolate and life can’t get much better as far as he’s concerned. Naturally, I had to make him a batch of chocolate peanut butter fudge, and I did it using just three ingredients, one saucepan, a microwave-safe container, and an 8×8 baking pan.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
- 3 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
- 1 2/3 cups peanut butter chips
- 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
- Lightly grease 8×8 baking pan with butter, shortening, or spray lightly with baking spray. You can also line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Melt 3 cups of milk chocolate chips with about 3/4 of the can of sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over a medium flame, stirring frequently until chips are completely melted.
- Remove from heat and spread evenly into baking pan.
- Using the same saucepan, melt the 1 2/3 cups of peanut butter chips with the rest of the can of sweetened condensed milk. It will be thick (and pack a big peanut butter punch.)
- Remove from heat and spread as evenly as you can into baking pan over the melted chocolate.
- Using a microwave-safe dish, melt last 1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until chips are completely melted.
- Remove from microwave and spread evenly into baking pan over the peanut butter mixture.
- Place pan in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours to cool completely. When cooled, cut into small squares.
Makes 48 small squares
I could tell you how much of this fudge is already gone, but, you know, I won’t. Although to be fair, I did send my fiance’s mother home with about half of the pan and that helps to make me feel a little better about how much of this I have eaten. It’s addicting.