Photo by Kimmie Johansen

Paring the fudge with the mini marshmallows makes the fudge look more appetizing. This combination was a favorite of my mom and her siblings.

Johansen Family Fudge

Chocolate dessert perfect for the holidays

December 9, 2021

My grandmother, Renie, began making fudge for my mom, aunt and uncle when she discovered the recipe on the back of a Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Jar. 

Since the discovery, and adjusting the recipe slightly, the fudge has been a commonplace at family gatherings. 

While fudge is often thought of as a winter dessert, my family sees its versatility as a year-round treat. It is especially lovely in summer because the recipe doesn’t require baking in the oven which can be especially troublesome in the warmer months because of the extreme heat. 

We have fudge for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays. The burden of hosting family events has fallen to Renie and my grandpa, but in recent years my mom has taken on the responsibility because of the passing of my grandpa and Renie’s increasingly limited mobility.  

As the host, my mom knows no family reunion would be complete without the beloved dessert. She has become more confident in her cooking skills recently and has begun to experiment with the recipe. 

While she wouldn’t dare try to substitute the marshmallow creme because that’s what gives the fudge its unique, soft texture, she has made some substitutions. 

Instead of walnuts, pecans are a delicious replacement. Another walnut substitute in case someone is allergic to tree nuts is one cup of semi sweet chocolate chips. Personally, I prefer the walnuts or pecans because I find the chocolate chips to be a little overkill, but my sister, who is allergic to nuts, loves this version. 

There are also more ways my mom has managed to spice up the fudge squares. You can melt semi sweet chocolate to dip the squares into. After coating the fudge in chocolate, leave the squares in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened. This addition is especially delicious with the walnut version of the fudge. 

For a lower effort form of this twist, drizzling chocolate syrup on the fudge then giving the treat time to cool in the fridge is also great. Using dark chocolate syrup is preferable so the dessert doesn’t become too sweet and the taste remains balanced. 

To make the treat more appropriate for certain holidays my family has become very fond of the seasonal fudge variations recently thanks to my mom.

For Thanksgiving use a 1/2 cup of pistachios and a 1/2 cup of dried cranberries instead of walnuts. These textures and flavors compliment the fudge wonderfully and really give the dessert more of a holiday feel. For nut allergies the pistachios can easily be replaced by a 1/2 cup of white chocolate. The cranberries are the star of this version of the fudge because the sour, almost bitter flavor is in perfect harmony with the richness of the fudge. 

For winter holidays replacing the walnuts with a cup of white chocolate chips and a teaspoon of peppermint extract is the perfect spin on the dessert. The minty flavor makes the fudge more festive and the white chocolate chips add a unique sweetness. 

Regardless of the occasion any variation to this fudge recipe makes for a delicious dessert.



3 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter 

2/3 cup evaporated milk 

16 oz. semi sweet chocolate

1 jar Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme

1 cup chopped walnuts 

1 tsp. vanilla 



Line 9-inch square pan with foil, with the ends of foil extending over sides

Put sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 4 minutes and stir constantly then remove from heat 

Add chocolate and marshmallow creme then stir until melted

Add nuts and vanilla; mix well

Pour into the prepared pan and allow the mixture to cool completely

Use foil handles to lift fudge from pan and cut into square

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