The Coast News Group
Small Talk

The key word here is ‘fudge’

My multi-tasking just isn’t what it used to be, but lowering my standards and expectations has just made a world of difference. The guys on the cooking shows make it look so easy. The mildly disturbing thing is that I have clever, real-life friends who make it look easy, too.
I can sit at their kitchen table and solve the world’s problems with them, while they blithely whip up a gourmet meal. If I am wielding the mixing spoon, the world will either remain a mess, or I may poison some innocent bystander.
There are a few things I can create in the kitchen without too much thought — scrambled eggs, peanut butter toast. Sure, those things will keep you alive, but my mother’s chocolate fudge frosting requires the focus of an Olympic athlete. It is well worth it, I promise, but you just don’t want to make it in a hurry or when distracted. As I tossed out the first batch Saturday, I remembered that little detail.
The key word here is fudge. If making candy doesn’t give you pause, just keep it to yourself…and whip me up a batch in silence. I have made this frosting many times. It still amazes me when it turns out right. First, it requires not just cooking, but boiling (and stirring), just long enough. Then you need to beat it until it is the right consistency. This requires electric beaters, so you cannot do anything else, as the noise drowns out conversation, television and possibly rational thought. How long do you need to beat it? Every batch is different.  You beat, you taste. You beat, you taste some more. You beat twice as long and, again, you must taste. OK, so that’s not really a bad thing, but it can take a while.
Here it is. I recommend you make a double recipe. My mom liked to put it on devil’s food cake. I like it on any cake, but tend to eat it straight from the pan.
In a heavy saucepan, combine 1/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup shortening, 1 cup sugar, 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, 1/4 tsp. salt. Melt, stir and bring slowly to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for three minutes, still stirring. Take off heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until it gains fudge-like texture.