Disney Characters in the Kitchen: Revisiting A Childhood Recipe
The Fantasy Behind Flora’s Fudge: Almost As Easy As Magic (SEE FOLLOW UP NOTE AT BOTTOM OF THIS POST)
I have spent decades yearning for a slice of fudge. Not just any fudge. I’ve wanted a hunka hunka burnin’ chocolate nut fudge that I made as a child on a snowy afternoon with my father and sister. But the recipe was parts unknown, and I only held a faded memory of the comical source of that wondrous fudge recipe.
It was 1959, and I was in a dream world having just seen Disney’s now classic animated film, Sleeping Beauty. This obsession with medieval castles, a trio of fairy godmothers, and a prince of my own would eventually be eclipsed by a different Disney obsession with Peter Pan, the pirate-loving fella who could fly and preferred to hang out on an island with a team of really cool and furry friends. (I never understood that simpering Wendy.)
At about the same time that I was encountering these Disney role models, I became enamored with cooking with my father. He loved to cook, and it was obvious in his joy over the stove when he boiled shrimp and stirred cocktail sauce to go with his highballs, much to my mother’s chagrin. There were his amazing pancakes, eggs, bacon, and all manner of breakfast food. “I could eat breakfast every meal,” he said. And sometimes we did. Having grown up in and around his parents’ bakery and then general store, Daddy was full of food stories about loading and butchering meat, stealing from the pickle barrel, and (my favorite) filling jelly donuts.
Sunday mornings we picked up the newspaper at the local journal joint on Pleasant Street. The owner was a big cigar smoker and looked like a villain straight from Marvel comics, which he sold racks of. I liked looking at the comic books (which oddly were displayed near all the dirty magazines). There, that Sunday, in the more PG of the spinning racks, I saw a shiny comic depicting Sleeping Beauty’s own private team of wish-grantors– those pink, blue, and green Fairy Godmothers. This comic book was our Sunday morning treat, and soon my sister and I lapped up all the silly adventures of the winged and glittering Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. But the added joy was on the back page of the issue where we discovered a recipe, written in a rebus code, called “Flora’s Fudge.”
That afternoon, we convinced our father to create what was sure to be a magical confection in our own kitchen. We decoded the recipe together and followed the directions. It was made in a saucepan, and the comic book image of the pot showed a small saucepan shaped like one we owned. For years, every time we made the fudge, about halfway through the recipe, we transferred the melted base into a mixing bowl to add all the confectioner’s sugar and chopped nuts. Within moments of adding the sugar, and nuts, the fudge became impossible to stir.
Of course, I believed, it never would have been a problem for Flora, the fairy godmother. All she needed was a flick of her magic wand to transform the ingredients into fabulous fudge. Only our father’s brute force could maneuver the spatula enough to combine the ingredients, and I remember looking forward to and giggling at the funny faces he made in the effort. Our father was great in a pinch.
What follows is the exact recipe for Flora’s Fudge from the vintage comic. After 50 years of wondering, and a few wild goose chases, I finally tracked down the very comic of my youth on e-Bay. I mistakenly had been hunting for the Sleeping Beauty comic and not The Fairy Godmothers issue.
Even though I found a posting of the recipe itself on-line, it would not do. I had to have that illustrated rebus in my hands. I had to know if it was really as good and still as hard to stir as I remembered. My imagined solution, then, is to begin with a larger pot to accommodate all the powdered sugar, keep it on the burner at low, and see if this makes a difference in the effort required to combine all the ingredients;
Let’s test my hypothesis.
All ingredients assembled. Chocolate selected was 100% Cacao unsweetened chocolate bar by Hershey.
Then I thought that a deep, non-stick soup pot was a sure bet for handling the large amount of sugar and would prevent any chance of burning. I actually had a roll of wax paper on hand– shades of the fifties when mom wrapped my sandwiches with it for school lunch.
Butter and chocolate melted nicely, Some panic set in when adding the egg right into the pot– what if it scrambled? Use a whisk and then spatula and take it off the heat for a moment when adding the egg. Then add vanilla. The liquids kept the mass moving easily.
Then it was time for half of the confectioner’s sugar– things started to seize up and turn to oatmeal consistency. A continuous mixing seemed to soften the combination, and it accepted the nuts easily.
Adding the second half of the sugar required patient stirring for it to combine , but the stirring was not sticky or stiff as I remember it. Everything was sliding around the pan nicely…
So it was time to dump it into the glass dish and ready it for the fridge.
It had only a moderate sheen and did not stick to together the way I remembered it. It came out rather grainy. Why…..? In retrospect, I made errors:
1) I am not sure I would use the same unsweetened chocolate I did. It was Hersheys. I chose it because it seemed like what we might have used then, but next time I will try Bakers Chocolate. It just seemed to not have enough fat or cocoa butter in it.
2) I will not use a non-stick pan. I’m going for my mom’s old Revere Ware. The non-stick pot never seemed to heat up correctly on the sides, it was too wide, and it may have created sugar crystals. I beat the fudge before it cooled sufficiently which affected the crystals.
(So, what we did long ago with my father when we transferred the hot mess to a mixing bowl to add the sugar may have been the right step to take in retrospect.)
3) I think that I stirred the butter too much. It should just melt into the chocolate on its own to avoid separating the water and fat in it.
The fudge tasted fabulous, but the mouth feel was definitely off. Why don’t some of you give it a try out there? OTK would love to know how fabulous was your version of Flora’s Fudge?
FOLLOW UP NOTE:
So 24 hours later, I can say that this first attempt at recreating Flora’s Fudge was a FLOP. But I have not given up and will revisit the recipe in the near future.
Readers out there who know about making candy or working with chocolate might offer up some good advice here. It would be appreciated.
And do let me know, folks, if you have tried it, too. The recipe is rather thin on directions, but then again, the comic artists at Disney in1959 were probably not chocolatiers– just Mousketeers.
This is an interesting one. I say this because this recipe is surprisingly similar to my first ever attempt at making brownies. I have since made them in many different ways but I always return to this method which I find is the easiest way. This recipe only has 1 egg in it (brownies normally have 2 or up to 4 eggs) but I never found it a problem to mix everything. I normally leave the butter and chocolate mixture to cool down a little before adding the egg. The quality of chocolate you use shouldn’t affect the result though, in fact, the better the quality of the chocolate, the tastier your fudge will be. Here’s a recipe for a fudge that never fails me, it’s made with condensed milk (no egg). Maybe you’d like to try it and compare the two?
I hope this helps! Thanks for sharing this, it reminded me of my childhood. I too grew up enjoying the adventures of the Disney characters.
Hi, Gabriela, and welcome to outtathekitchen.com! I’m going to hunt for that one egg brownie recipe,too. I am familiar with the sweetened condensed milk fudge recipe, and it is truly delicious. And Nigella rock, too. Glad you enjoyed the trip down memory lane with Disney.
Thank you, thank you for this recipe. As kids, my sister and I used to make the same Sleeping Beauty Fudge. It was so easy, even us kids could do it on our own. Best part is the actual page from the book. I so remember this page. We used to have a Sleeping Beauty record too and somethings both were enjoyed together. Thanks for bringing back these memories.
So pleased to know that I helped you reconnect with your Sleeping Beauty childhood memories. It’s a great fudge recipe!
I see your problem! I love this recipe and have made it a ton of times as a child and a few times as an adult!
What happened was you kept cooking after the melting stage. The instructions aren’t very clear but you are actually supposed to take the chocolate off the heat right after its melted! The egg and vanilla and sugar should be mixed in after it cools for ten minutes, the raw egg is what gives the sheen. Since it was overcooked, the consistency was not right, because it dried out.
good luck and let me know how it turns out the next time!!
I am indebted to you for this advice. Wonderful to recapture the secret of this great recipe! Will be making Flora’s fudge once again with delight.
My dad used to make this with my brother and me when we were little kids. I had been searching for the recipe for years. My brother found the vintage Sleeping Beauty comic book a few years ago at a comic book store (very expensive), so he kept the comic book and sent me the recipe (all I really wanted). I have been making it ever since and sharing samples, including the recipe with friends. It is divine! It’s hard to mix so I use clean hands after the melting/cooling stage to incorporate the egg, vanilla and remaining sugar. Thank you for posting here.
Wonderful to hear from you, Madelyn. Yes. It was so hard to stir, at least for a child, as I remember. I love your suggestion of using clean hands, the best tools in the world, for finishing off the stirring with those last three ingredients. Again, thanks for the update and information! Since it is holiday time, I think I will revisit this recipe in the next few days! Best, Martha
I made this sooooooooooo many times. After seeing the directions I know this is my fudge! And no, I didn’t make it up!!!
You will love it, Iris. It remains my favorite fudge.
I’ve never had fudge with an egg in it, but this fascinates me. Did you make it again, dear author? Did it come out better? I want to make this with my daughter but I don’t want her to be discouraged if it is a flop. Thanks!
The egg makes the fudge bind well. No worries as the hot fudge makes it safe. i love this fudge. Just be sure to use a basic sauce pan, and not a deep non-stick soup pot like I did. Still love this stuff. Have fun with your daughter! You will create sweet memories.
I just want to say thank you for sharing this most wonderful childhood memory. I have thought about it many times over the decades as one of my absolute favourite fudge recipes, there is truly something magical about it. Now to find it & have the actual pictorial page once again is just simply heart warming. I can once again create my Flora’s fudge !
So wonderful to make this childhood connection with you. Food memories are truly powerful. Have fun in the kitchen with this recipe, and please let me know if it is as you remember it. My first re-aquaintance with this fudge was less than successful, but was finally able to trouble shoot the problem. Do it the old-fashioned way! Enjoy, Jan. –Martha
Well, it simply turned out fantastic 🙂
I used the old method, slowly melting the chocolate & butter in a large pot to accomodate the icing sugar without overflow. I did add nuts this time which I didn’t always do when I was a child due to the fact that there usually was none ! Anyhow, the nuts were a welcomed addition & the family loves it as much as I do.
I’m still amazed how much the actual pictoral directions remained in my head & what a heart warming feeling it was to rediscover this recipe – a true treasure.
Thank you SO MUCH for sharing 🙂
Terrific! I’m going to whip me up some Flora Fudge, too. Very delighted for you, JGJ. 😀 Martha
It must be real butter with no added water (just cream and salt or unsalted). and NO OATMEAL. will abdirb the moisture and dt
ry out the fudge. Nuts are good. yse an electric mixer. after the melting.
How freaking cute is this?! I’m definitely going to have to try it!!
Bethany Wilson | http://www.mycaffeinatedchaos.com