The dilemma of what to do when a non-Jewish holiday has become so entrenched in our psyche that the question of whether to observe, participate and/or acknowledge can cause a bit of angst for any Jew that does not want to assimilate.
Enter Valentine’s Day. To celebrate a day called St. Valentine’s Day might seem a tad peculiar for a Jew but, it really is not a religious holiday (even the Catholic Church has taken it off their calendar). All the stories about this “supposed patron saint of lovers” are apocryphal so, if you let your kids go trick or treating on Halloween odds are you are going to be ok with candy hearts, roses and valentines for your significant other.
Let’s face it, this is REALLY just a money-making day and the candy, floral and card companies have a cash cow here and they are not about to do anything less that advertise and sell the heck out of it and make you feel guilty if you don’t participate.
Over the past 50 years rabbinic opinions tend vary on allowing for the celebration of secular holidays that do not go against specific Jewish law, customs or traditions, but I say why wait for a specific day to celebrate love. It is always appropriate to make treats for those you care about and February 14th is as good a day as any (but so is the 13th and 15th). What better easy to eat the whole recipe chocolate deliciousness is there than fudge.
Making traditional fudge is sort of like a science fair experiment. Boiling sugar till just the right temperature, stirring constantly and even then, you can do it all right and it can seize up on you with no warning. I am going to save you the agony of a failed batch with these simple, delicious, and unusual fudge recipes that are fabulous all 365 days of the year.
1/3 cup whip cream
16 oz dark chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped
1 box store-bought shortbread cookies (ie Lorna Dune, Pecan Sandies, etc.)
Cocoa for dusting
Line a loaf pan with parchment baking paper. In a sauce pan combine the cream, chocolate and butter. Heat over a low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Pour one-third of the chocolate mixture into the pan. Place the cookies side by side on top of the chocolate to cover the chocolate (you may need to break one or two). Pour 1/3 of the mixture on top of the cookies. Repeat placing the cookies on top of the chocolate and then pour the remaining chocolate on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours or until firm. When ready to serve, remove the fudge from the pan, peel away the parchment paper and place on a serving plate. Dust the top with the cocoa and slice thinly to serve. Serves 12 to 16 depending on the size of the slice.
CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY M&M FUDGE
20 oz dark chocolate chips
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup M&M’s
Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and set it aside. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Cover with plastic wrap and heat for 30 seconds on high. Remove from the microwave and stir.
Return to the microwave and heat for an additional 30 second remove and stir. Repeat 1 more time if necessary and the chocolate and condensed milk are combined and smooth. Stir in the jam, vanilla and salt. Mix to combine. Add about half the M&M’s and gently mix them in. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining M&M’s on top. Push them in slightly, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours before cutting into small squares to serve. Can make up to 36 pieces.
NOTE: if you can find red and white M&M’s or raspberry ones you can make this fudge just a little bit “extra”.
© Eileen Goltz Fudge 21