I can't remember where this recipe came from, but I did not invent it. It came into my life around the time I decided I liked The Man Who Now Lives In My House so much that I would give up my tiny apartment (over which I had total aesthetic control) to live with him. So I've been making this during the Holidays for the last 18 years or so.
I wrote it down on the front page of my Joy Of Cooking, which is falling apart because really, what other cookbook do you need?
Here it is:
pour 1 can of condensed milk (unsweetened)
and 3.5 cups sugar
into a large heavy saucepan.
(if you don't have a really good pan, maybe this is the year to request one. My favorite is le creuset, which turn up in thrift stores from time to time. I figure it the pan is a little bit chipped around the rim, I won't feel terrible when I chip it a little more. It's called patina. )
bring this to a boil and start stirring NON STOP for SIX MINUTES.
set a timer. if you do this the fudge will turn out perfectly.
after SIX MINUTES of NON STOP stirring (got it?), take the mixture off the heat, dump in 18 oz of chocolate chips or chunks--the better quality the chocolate, the better the fudge.
If you like dark chocolate you can use 9 oz (or more!) unsweetened chocolate and the other 9 could be bittersweet--you could even do all 18 oz unsweetened, but I haven't tried that so I make no guarantees.
1/4 t salt,
2 t flavoring--vanilla, grand mariner, peppermint, coffee, whatever you prefer,
and 3/4 C butter.
Some people like to add stuff--nuts, mini marshmallows, chopped up candy canes, candied orange peel, whatever, as well. I'm a purist. I add grand mariner instead of vanilla sometimes, but no stuff.
stir everything together until the chocolate and butter have melted and then pour into a shallow rimmed pan lined with parchment paper. refrigerate for several hours to set. then cut into squares with a pizza cutter and share with everyone you like.
you can also line small boxes (the ones checks come in are the perfect size) with parchment, pour the hot fudge directly in, refrigerate and then give away (or hoard and devour--because this is so good no one could blame you).
It's also easy. The smaller hooligan made a batch the other night all by himself and gave a big box to his cello teacher.