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Aunt Barbara’s Old-Fashioned Fudge

Simple, chocolatey, old-fashioned fudge that comes together with just a few ingredients and only 20 minutes.


I believe almost each of us has one recipe that identifies us. For my mom, it was Nordy Bars and Almond Roca for my Nana. For my friend Anne, it is her Aunt Barbara’s Old-Fashioned Fudge.

As long as I have known Anne, I have known about her fudge making holiday tradition. The second the calendar switches over to December 1st, the famous recipe comes out and the chocolate making commences. I think for her, the act of making it surpasses the sheer joy of eating it. For each batch she makes, she gives away 50-75% to friends, family, and coworkers. By January 1st, the pan goes away, not to be seen for another 11 months.

I decided to try my hand at making her famous recipe this year. Once she sent it to me, my first instinct was “this is it”? Just a few ingredients and very simple instructions for that magical pan of joy she makes? After making and then promptly giving away my first batch to friends at church, I made my second batch. And I realized why December is known as fudge month in Anne’s house. It’s so easy and almost instant gratification. And watching the faces of others when they realize you just gave them homemade chocolate? Well, that’s pretty much the best feeling.

Now that I am two batches in (only 4,910 batches to go to catch up with Anne), the ingredients and instructions are already burned into my head. I have the recipe written down, but it is so easy to remember I barely even need to glance at it. I asked Anne for permission to share it with you all. She agreed and that is when I learned the origin of why this recipe is so special.


Aunt Barbara’s Old-Fashioned Fudge recipe was, as the name suggests, made famous by Anne’s Aunt Barbara. Anne grew up in Santa Cruz, California. Aunt Barbara lived in Missouri with her husband and kids. One of Anne’s most special memories was making this with Aunt Barbara in Missouri whenever she visited her cousins. It was their special time together.

Aunt Barbara passed away from cancer when she was only in her 30’s. Anne asked her uncle for the recipe after her aunt passed away, and makes it each and every year. She would make it for her cousins when she visited and they would eat warm fudge, hug, and cry.

Anne doesn’t know the original author of this recipe, but it is similar to many I have seen. It’s also very close to Troy’s grandma’s famous fudge recipe. I guess there are only so many ways to put delicious things together and stir. The sugar content is high, and with most recipes, I would adjust it and put something in there that was nutritionally redeeming. It’s great to hack and adapt recipes at times, but in this instance, the history of this fudge leads me to make it as Anne and Barbara would have made it together.

I would invite you to try a batch of this simple fudge today. Find someone you love and make it with them. Making fudge is more than just making fudge; it is also making memories.

And those last well beyond January 1st.

Making this recipe or others?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #sustainablecooks. I can't wait to see your take on it!

5 from 4 votes
Aunt Barbara's Old-Fashioned Fudge

Simple, chocolatey, old-fashioned fudge that comes together with just a few ingredients.Thick and creamy fudge in under 20 minutes.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 20
Author: Sarah - Sustainable Cooks
  • 3/4 cup butter 1 1/2 sticks
  • 6 oz evaporated milk half of a can
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 7 oz marshmallow cream or 1 10.5 oz bag mini marshmallows
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp hazelnut extract optional
  1. Butter a 9x13 glass baking dish. Set aside.

  2. Combine butter and evaporated milk in a large pot over medium heat.

  3. Once melted, stir in sugar. Stir frequently. Once it reaches a rolling boil, stir constantly for 4 minutes.

  4. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and marshmallow cream. Stir until completely combined and smooth. Add vanilla and hazelnut (if using) extract(s). Stir.

  5. Pour into the buttered dish and smooth to distribute evenly. Allow to cool a bit  to set before cutting. Store at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

The original recipe calls for marshmallow cream. I didn't have any on hand and used homemade marshmallows in my first batch and store-bought mini marshmallows on my second batch. They both worked great and were considerably cheaper than marshmallow cream.

For my second batch, I added 1 tsp of hazelnut extract to try to make "Nutella Fudge". The hazelnut flavor wasn't very strong, but it added an amazing depth of flavor to the batch.

Homemade Vanilla Extract recipe here.

Homemade Marshmallow recipe here.

Simple, chocolatey, old-fashioned fudge that comes together with just a few ingredients. Thick and creamy fudge in under 20 minutes.

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10 comments on “Aunt Barbara’s Old-Fashioned Fudge”

  1. Thanks for this yummy recipe. I pinned it.

  2. That is the exact recipe (minus the hazelnut extract option) that I grew up with. If memory serves, it is called Fantasy Fudge and was printed on the jar of marshmallow fluff. Side note…I grew up in Springdale, AR…aka the chicken capital of the world…there are also Cargill plants there that made feed. The smell made by the boiling evaporated milk and butter nauseates me because it (to me anyway) smells exactly what it smells like near the feed plants. However, the end product of melt in your mouth fudge is worth the smell memories that get triggered by the making of it.

    • Isn’t it crazy how the power of scent works in the human mind?

      The smell of the corn syrup, sugar, and butter boiling in my Nana’s Almond Roca also nauseates me for some reason. I’m glad to hear that we can both power through. 🙂

  3. I’m making my 12th 13×9 pan since December 1. Is that bad? I’m keeping the sugar farmers in business!

    This fudge is best eaten hot! Once it’s cooled it’s time to give it away and make a new batch 🙂

  4. Hello Sarah, you don’t know me, but I’m a massive fan of your blog. What is the texture of this fudge like? I’m hoping you are going to say it’s kind of slightly chewy……

    Do you reckon I could use giant marshmallows, as I have those in already? Bought in a moment of keenness when I saw them, should my daughter’s Girl Guide unit want them for campfire!

    • Thanks for reading Pauline!

      When the fudge is warm it is a bit chewy. Once it is totally cool, it is melt in your mouth smooth. I think giant marshmallows would be fine as well. I wouldn’t use more than 11 oz.

  5. This is the thing I look forward to getting each year in my Christmas box!

  6. Rich and creamy. So good!