I'm an ingredient freak. I hate using gelatin, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), hydrogenated oils or any other lab experiments. Finding a fudge recipe that didn't contain a bunch of my "do not use" ingredients was a hard task that lead to a compromise. I found a recipe that called for one tiny bit of corn syrup (which contains HFCS, bummer): one teaspoon. That's pretty darn good to me!
Fudge is fun because it gives you some room to be creative. Any kinda nuts, spices, candy, chips or sprinkles will make it a more enjoyable edible. I ended up making two batches. The first, candy cane fudge and the second, cinnamon walnut fudge. This recipe requires a candy thermometer but don't be scared! It's actually quite relaxing to make. You get a lot of free time so you can wrap a few presents while you wait!
Make about 1 1/4 pound, a 7x7 baking pan makes great portioned pieces
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut up
1 tsp light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt (optional)
2 Tbl unsalted butter
1 tsp vanille
1/2 cup add in's
1 tsp spices
Line baking dish with foil and butter it. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan combine sugar, half-and-half, chocolate, corn syrup, and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to the side. Reduce heat to medium-low, continue boiling at moderate, steady rate, stirring occasionaly, until thermometer reaches 236' F, softball stage (15-20 minutes).
Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter and vanilla but do not stir! Cool without stirring until it reaches 110'F (20-35 minutes). Remove thermometer then beat mixture together until its thickens (2 minutes). If desired add add in's and stir for 3 minutes or until it slightly starts to loose it's gloss.
Immediately spread it in the baking dish. Cut while hot and let cool for about 1-2 hours. Store tightly covered.