When I was little, my dad would sometimes wax nostalgic about his Aunt Bonnie's peanut butter fudge. Aunt Bonnie was gone by the time his enthusiasm started to soak in with me, and my mom isn't into baking or candy making, or much cooking, really -- but what she does cook is pretty darn good. Hi, Mom!
Anyway, in 1987 I found a cookbook ("1987" is actually in the title of the cookbook -that's how I know the year) that included a microwave peanut butter fudge recipe. At that time I hadn't found my inner cook or baker yet, so I thought the microwave method might be the best way for me to give it a go. My dad raved about it, saying it was the best peanut butter fudge since Aunt Bonnie's. I've been making it for him ever since.
There's a little more to the story. About ten years ago, my dad was visiting old friends and family in his hometown, Rolla, Missouri. Someone gave him an envelope that was full of memories: some Valentine cards that his mother gave away when she was little, complete with hand-drawn hearts and her little girl signature; a picture of his great-grandmother; his great-grandmother's funeral notice; and most surprisingly, Aunt Bonnie's peanut butter fudge recipe, hand-written on a card, with notes about telling everyone to get out of the kitchen while you're making it or everyone will want a taste before it's ready. We think it was written in 1940-something. How in ended up in that envelope for my dad is a mystery to everyone. Sometimes things just work out the way they're supposed to, I guess.
I'll be including Aunt Bonnie's recipe in my first Gram's Cooking School Mystery, IF FRIED CHICKEN COULD FLY, to be published some time next year, but for now, here's the microwave version.
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce jar chunky peanut butter
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream
Combine sugar, margarine and evaporated milk in a 3-quart glass dish. Microwave, uncovered, on High for 5 1/2 to 6 minutes, stirring once or twice. Cook for 3 minutes longer, stirring only if necessary to prevent boiling over. Stir in remaining ingredients until everything melts together and is combined. Pour into a buttered 9 X 13 dish. Chill for two hours. Cut into squares.
That was the recipe as written. Here are a couple additional notes:
Be very careful taking the dish out of the microwave -- hot, hot, hot!
Even after I cut the squares, I keep the fudge in the refrigerator -- just tastes better to me, though Dad doesn't notice a difference.