This post is part kitchen adventure, part musings on the community that surrounds us.
Since my husband has started announcing the quantity of sugar in all of his meals, I naturally decided to make him red velvet fudge for Valentine’s Day (following Six in the Suburb’s recipe, which has an obscene amount of sugar).
First, sugar and chocolate. (Pot from my hometown hostesses! I’m not sure where the spoon came from, but we used it to fold our wedding invitations.)
Then, red gel food coloring to turn this velvet red. It got brighter the longer it sat! (Food coloring inherited when Rachel moved to Hungary, and never returned.) (Oh! Don’t panic – mind the comma. Rachel returned, but I never gave the food coloring back.)
Look at those convection cells in this boiling, viscous, chocolaty mass!
Checking the temperature with a meat thermometer (should have gotten a candy thermometer, but too late) from Lisa and Eduardo.
Waiting for the chocolate to cool to the requisite 110* was the most time-consuming part of this process. Chocolate apparently has a very high specific heat! On the plus side, I took a lot of pictures and cleaned the house.
Valentine's Day roses from my hubby decorate the kitchen.
Once the chocolate finally cooled, the recipe told me to blend in butter and vanilla. Unfortunately, it cooled into such a hard mass that I couldn’t do it! Enter manly man to whip up his own Valentine’s Day treat.
Between the time Greg stopped blending and I was prepared to pour, the chocolate had hardened into this. I finally resorted to re-melting the fudge on the stove so I could pour it! If I make fudge again, I’ll not let it cool down so much before adding in the other ingredients.
Making the cream cheese layer. Mixing bowl from Caroline!
White baking chocolate preparing to go in the cream cheese layer. Bowl from Natalie!
Pretty patterns! Mixer from Aunt Beth.
Okay, now that everything was made, it was time to put it together. The recipe called for four layers, and thus for two identical pans to put the red velvet layers in to cool. I didn’t have matching 8×8 pans, but I did have two identical 9″ pie plates, and I calculated that the areas were fairly close. (“Pi” plates from my math friend Ben.)
The red velvet layer was too viscous to spread out in the pan on its own. I ended up covering it with wax paper (to keep it from sticking) and a dish cloth (to protect my hands from the still-hot chocolate) and mashing it into place. (Dish cloth from Julie & Rick.)
Making layers. Back plate shows the layer already mashed out; front plate shows chocolate ready for mashing.
Because it was so hard already, I didn’t wait very long for the red velvet layer to cool before spooning on the cream cheese/white chocolate layer. Flipping the second red velvet layer on top was no problem – it didn’t stick to the wax paper at all, and its high viscosity meant that it kept its shape easily!
It turned out really sweet, and on the first night I thought it was pretty much a complete failure. However, this fudge, like a fine wine, seems to improve with age. The next day at lunch I could taste fudgy-ness underneath all the sweet! After a day or so, it also got softer and easier to cut. We’ve given away a lot of it (a 9″ pie plate is a lot to eat!), but my Valentine has quite enjoyed it.
While I was waiting for the chocolate to cool, I realized how many people had physically contributed to Greg’s Valentine’s gift this year. Mentioned in this post for just physical wedding gifts are eight people! Even the simplest thing like cooking in the kitchen can remind me of what a community surrounds and supports Greg and me in this wonderful adventure. We’re not alone!
God said that it was not good for man to be alone before He created Eve. I think the Bible’s teachings on marriage would say, too, that a man and woman aren’t meant to be on their own in marriage. God has given us the Church to surround us, challenge us, and uphold us as Greg and I journey through this life together.
I might switch up the old proverb to say: “It takes a village to support a marriage.”
Thank you, our dear friends. Happy Valentine’s day!