Ms. Mary Denton Pierce’s fudge

Posted December 21, 2016 at 10:05 am

Betty Karr&Stella.psd

My Home Economics teacher, Mary Denton Pierce, taught her students to make this fudge. I imagine many generations from CCHS have enjoyed it across the years.

My Aunt Stella made it for our family after she learned it in the late 1940s. Stella became such an expert that she was able to finish it as glossy dropped candy pieces. It was always a Very Special Treat at our house. She never had to clean the pan!

Hone Ec students who also worked in the lunchroom were privileged to make it for the school faculty. It was something we looked forward to during the Christmas season. The lunchroom was filled with the smell of cooking fudge and the excitement of packing up nice boxes.

After I was married with a family of my own, I realized that I didn’t have the recipe. I’m sure that I followed many lessons learned about homemaking, but somehow the fudge making had been left behind.

I began asking around, but none of my old classmates had it. Everyone I called expressed hope for a copy, and I kept searching. Finally, my best friend found the ingredients copied onto the flyleaf of her textbook.

There was no instructions for preparation, but I remembered. And I knew to follow them exactly, just as in those treasured high school days.

Mrs. Pierce’s Fudge

(Please do not make substitutions)

2 cups brown sugar–one cup light and one cup of dark will equal the kind we used back then.

1 cup white cane sugar

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup white corn syrup

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons regular salted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup English walnuts, optional

Mix all ingredients except vanilla, butter and nuts. Cook on medium heat, stirring until mixture comes to boil. Cover with lid for a minute or two while granular sugar melts down from sides of pan. Uncover, and continue cooking on medium heat. At this point, it will only need occasional stirring. After a few minutes, begin to check for doneness — spoon a small amount into a cup of cool water.

The candy is ready when it can be gathered up in your fingers and molded into a definite rounded shape. Remove from heat and add butter. Let cool until you can comfortably place hand on bottom of platter. Let cool and then cut into pieces. At some point, you may feel confident enough to dip out with a tablespoon and drop onto a platter. In that case, it is best to hold the walnuts and place them last.

This makes an impressive gift.

I plan to take a batch to the next reunion of our class of 1957. Ms. Lovie, of course, will have a special gift box.

Mrs. Pierce has always been a shining star in my life. This recipe is only one of many things I have to thank her for as I remember her this and every Christmas season.

Readers Write author Betty Karr with her granddaughter Stella, who will help prepare fudge for the holidays using the time proven recipe from Clinton County High School Home Economics teacher, the late Mary Denton Pierce.