On the odd occasion when my mom would head out for an evening with friends and W. and I would be left to our own devices, fudgemaking was frequently our activity of choice.

Ours were the simple fudges of Women of Unifarm and Fannie Farmer, most recipes so basic they eschewed the precision of a candy thermometer for the intuition of a cold water test. Sometimes smooth, sometimes grainy, and sometimes -- when we weren't on the ball -- a whole lot more caramel than fudge.

The recipes were relatively straightforward with few ingredients, all ready and waiting in the cupboard. Nothing quite like the laundry list of exotic ingredients required here: marshmallow cream, sweetened condensed milk, espresso powder, not one but two(!) kinds of chocolate...

I must confess, though, it was worth the trip to the grocery store. Ultra smooth, super rich and just the right balance of sweet chocolate and bitter coffee. This batch yields 30 pieces according to Epicurious, but I say see what moves you. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of that marshmallow cream.

Espresso Chocolate Fudge

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup marshmallow cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup salted butter

Line an 8-inch square glass baking dish with aluminum foil.

Combine the bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, marshmallow cream and vanilla extract in medium bowl.

In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, mix the water and espresso powder until the espresso powder dissolves. Add the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, whipping cream and butter. Stir until the sugar dissolves, brushing down the sides of the pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush.

Attach a clip-on candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Increase heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-heat and stir constantly, but slowly, with a wooden spoon until the candy thermometer registers 234 degrees Fahrenheit (about 12 minutes).

Immediately pour the mixture over the chocolate and marshmallow cream waiting in the bowl. (Don't scrape the saucepan!) Stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon until all of the chocolate melts and the fudge thickens slightly (about 3 minutes).

Transfer the fudge to the prepared baking dish. Smooth the top using a rubber spatula. Refrigerate uncovered until firm enough to cut (about 2 hours).

*A great Judy Blume novel.

Notes: While testing the pre-chocolate coffee concoction, it occurred to me that coffee walnut fudge would be a delectable taste sensation.

Source: Available at, but originally published in Bon App├ętit in December 2005.