October is absolutely my favorite month of the year. The tenth month brings the South its first cold fronts and brings me happy memories of past autumns. Those cool fronts sweep away the hot, angry air of late summer and makes everything feel alive again.
When I was a kid, my extended family would sometimes travel to Toledo Bend on the Louisiana-Texas border for some fall fun. I remember watching my relatives sitting around a fire after a day of cool-weather fishing, bourbon drinks in hand, warming themselves up with tall tales and terrible jokes. And I remember the sweet fire of the drunk maraschino cherries we pilfered from the elders’ cups.
A good bourbon goes down like smooth fire and warms you up like a purring cat on your lap. And a bourbon and honey toddy soothes a raw throat like nothing else can.
While I grew up in Louisiana, I’ve lived in Texas for a long time now, so I thought I would use a Texas Bourbon Whiskey in this recipe. I found a nice little small-batch bourbon in Ranger Creek .36 Texas Bourbon Whiskey, from Ranger Creek Distilling in San Antonio, Texas. Of course, I tasted it before I made the fudge. (I drink bourbon neat, unless I want to marinate a cherry, and then I’ll add an ice cube or two.) Good stuff, indeed.
The flavor profile of this fudge is quite subtle. It’s not going to whack you on the head to get your attention. Let it warm to room temperature before serving to bring aroma into play. Then take a piece and roll it around on your tongue like you would a good sipping bourbon. At the finish, you’ll know you’ve had a really nice piece of fudge.
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup bourbon plus 1 teaspoon for later
1 package (12 oz. or so) white chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
Add the sugar, butter, milk, and the 1/3 cup of bourbon to the saucepan. Follow the directions in the base recipe for making fudge. Keep in mind that the alcohol lowers the boiling point of the mix, which means you’ll need to boil it longer to reach the target temperature of 234 (or softball stage if you are not using a thermometer).
Add the other teaspoon of bourbon instead of vanilla when you add the marshmallow creme. (Do NOT add the bourbon until after you’ve added the white chocolate chips, otherwise you get a nice puff of steam and some nasty hot spatters as the alcohol immediately boils away.)