Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Black and White FUDGE ala Mary Jane Maffini & The BUSY WOMAN's GUIDE TO MURDER

OK, I see the picture too (I took it and cooked the recipe).  It is not Black and White Fudge, it is actually Black and BUTTERSCOTCH Fudge.  It is either a genius idea on my part or a way to correct a mistake.  I'll let you know in a minute...

JUST RELEASED!Today I am giving a recipe "inspired by" a food item that is heavily talked about in Mary Jane Maffini's NEW book, "The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder"

In my on-going quest to be a completest (as well as support fellow bloggers (I love Bloggers), I picked up the latest murder mystery written by one of my blogging buddies over at The Mystery Lover's Kitchen.  I've said it before, will say it again, I just love this blog.  The Six Merry Murderesses continue to put out culinary themed mysteries, fun to read, filled with recipes and tips.

Mary Jane's contributions to the culinary aspect of the MLK include ... "Fiona Silk, a failed romance writer with no sex life, most recently attempting to write an erotic cookbook (as if).  Too Hot To Handle followed Lament for a Lounge Lizard, and is still going strong, maybe because there are recipes included." (Quote taken from MJ's website...

Sadly, these two books came out before I started following the site.  I can only imagine the recipes included, and look forward to the next in the series so I can jump on board...

Her Charlotte Adams series (of which, "The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder"  is the 5th in the series) features a feisty professional closet organizer as the protagonist.  Charlotte comes complete with a cast of characters familiar regular readers of the series, but were smoothly introduced to first time readers (like me).  She has a live in almost boyfriend (They share a house, separate apartments), two dogs, Truffle and Sweet Marie, local cops, an attorney and a CANDY STORE OWNER!!!

And that's where the fudge inspiration comes from.  Charlotte is continually buying Black and White Fudge as a gift for others (and a pound for herself).  It sounded so good, I really wanted a pound for myself by the time I was half way through the book.

While I do wish she had provided a recipe, the series concentrates on organizing tips, instead of recipes.  Each chapter begins with a tip on how to get your life and property in order to make your day, week and ... life flow easier.  So, respecting the concept of the series, I hunted and adapted a recipe to come up with something of my own...

But that's coming in a bit, first, let's talk about the book...

I am guessing that this is aimed at a more feminine audience than me.  Lots of talk of cleaning, putting things where they belong and such.  Something my lovely and talented wife and I have come to terms with (she does it (don't jump on me, I contribute my share of things to our partnership).  She is a very talented organizer).  In fact, she was intrigued enough to start reading the book as soon as I finished.

But, as mysteries go, this was terrific.  Plenty of action, plenty of dead bodies to keep interest and move the stories along.  I had the book figured out a couple of times, only to be twisted and turned (in a very fun way) to a surprising and satisfying outcome (that the B&W fudge actually had a hand in).  Here's the basics... Charlotte gets a phone call from an old high school acquaintance.  The "Mean Girls" are back in town and scaring the crap out of the girls that were bullied through out high school.  Have they resurfaced to redeem themselves?  Have they reformed their evil ways?  Are they just setting the bullied girls up for a new more adult brand of meanness?

And a most interesting question, can a mean girl be forgiven???

A series of dead bodies start popping up.  Some directly connected to the mean girls, some not so much (look a likes killed accidentally maybe???).  Misdirection for the police (Charlotte is very protective of her friends).  Everything that makes this a very satisfying page turner.

I absolutely enjoyed this book.  And the organizing tips are a big plus.  Just one, Only keep 5 items on your daily "to do" list, I started following.  I have been known to list more than a dozen tasks I wanted to accomplish in a day.  Breaking those down to only 5 at a time has made my life easier.  It forces me to prioritize my day, and I seem to get more accomplished.  At the very least, I feel more satisfied when i click them off.  Great tip MJ!

Summer is coming up, which means summer reading time!  If you are a reader, head over to The Mystery Lover's Kitchen.  Get to know the bloggers who publish (we all write, but isn't it amazing to see your blogger buddies' names on a book cover).  There is something there to peak any foodies' interest.

And now, the fudge...

Truth is, I tried for white fudge, but my white came out an unappealing cream color.  It looked just fine, but when I added Vanilla to the cooking cream and sugar, it turned a sick yellow tint.  CERTAINLY NOT white.  So, I started pondering...

I decided to embrace the evil.  I decide to make an all new fudge, still loyal to the idea of two flavored fudges in one, but instead of the stark contrast between white and black, I went with the complimentary tastes of BUTTERSCOTCH and CHOCOLATE!!!

MJ, I am sorry, next time I have a few ideas to make the Black and White Fudge work (not the least is to add clear vanilla instead of pure vanilla (which has a color tinge).  I am sorry I was not able to come up with a true tribute to your characters obsession... But consider it a tribute in spirit...

For the "Black" fudge (Chocolate)...

1 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
2 TBS Cocoa
1 TBS White Corn Syrup
1/2 TBS Vanilla
1 TBS Butter
1 TBS Instant Coffee (really brings out the flavor of any chocolate recipe (a tip i picked up from Cleo Coyle, another one of the contributers to The Mystery Lover's Kitchen).
1/2 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Combine sugar, syrup, cocoa and cream. Boil to the soft ball stage (234 degrees F to 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer). add the chips and coffee.  mix until chips have melted.
Add butter and vanilla extract. Beat until creamy.  

For the Butterscotch Fudge...

1 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 TBS White Corn Syrup
1/2 TBS Vanilla
1 TBS Butter
1/2 cup Butterscotch Chips

Combine sugar, syrup and cream. Boil to the soft ball stage (234 degrees F to 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer). add the chips. mix until chips have melted.
Add butter and vanilla extract. Beat until creamy.

Yes, sugar, heavy cream, corn syrup, butter... This has all the heart stopping ingredients in it. But it makes AMAZING FUDGE. If you can't resist the fudge booth at the fair or the fudge shop in the mall, this is it. Just incredible tasting (in moderation... or as Charlotte does, as a gift).

There are many ways to serve this... Layer of chocolate on the bottom, layer of butterscotch over the top, or alternating strips, or as I decided... Marbled.

Just pour a couple of strips into a glass pan while the fudge is still warm. I sprayed the bottom with a bit of spray butter.

And take a knife and swirl until you are satisfied with the mix.

Chill before serving. This is an amazing fudge recipe. Stays soft and creamy for days (if you can resist eating the whole pan for days). This is as good as any fudge I have ever eaten from fair booths or stores!



  1. Your post today was great fun and your fudge sounds better than delicious. I loved my joke yesterday. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Hope all is well. To make long story short, my blog disappeared and i am now going with wordpress. I lost 13 months of work and all my followers. Will be up and running in about 10 days or so. I wil let you know when I am back. I was devastated ..then the blog appeared after a month and with no pictures and telling me that it does not exist...crazy...loco...Google nor blogspot were very helful. Meanwhile love the fudge. Stay well.

  3. Mean girls forgiven? Never!

    Oh, gosh...I am now craving fudge like crazy. May have to make some. I love MJ's books and her tip for keeping only 5 things on a to-do list is genius!

    Great post, Dave!

  4. Dave - you had me at butterscotch! Definitely insulin worthy.

    I wanted to thank you on your smoker tips on my blog post the other day - my day job has been non-stop and I just want to unplug when I get home from work.

    I also wanted to tell you I am trying a new refrigerator pizza dough from the King Arthur cookbook - not sure if you have done it before - I was going to fix it tonight, but my daughter got called into work - so it will be a 48 hour dough - I'll let you know how it comes out!

  5. Dave, nice review of MJ's book, & the fudge looks "killer"!

  6. This looks incredible - Unfortunately I'm trying to limit myself to no more than one sweet recipe a week though and I'm always so spoilt for choice about what to make. I'm sure you really enjoyed this.

  7. Dave do you think it's really fair that you go and lose a gazillion pounds in six days and then post FUDGE. Sigh. My thighs.

  8. Dave - Please forgive my taking so long to get over here and say, "WOW, WOW, WOW!" This is a fantastic tribute to a fictional culinary concept. The recipe is amazing, the photos look delicious, and your write-up is right on. MJ is one fantastic and fun author and a lovely person without a pen, too. Hugs to you for thinking of her (and us) and thx from me, too, for the kind little coffee shout-out. Much appreciated!

    Wishing you java joy (always),
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  9. "either a genius idea on my part or a way to correct a mistake"

    Ha ha, I think I've been there several times.

  10. I absolutely loved this recipe. I featured this recipe on my blog for a Crazy Cooking Challenge and it was divine! I'm so glad I found this!