My favorite fudge has always been chocolate walnut. It is actually our number one seller, so many seem to agree with me! One day about 6 years ago, Jordan, our fudge apprentice at the time, made a mistake when making fudge. He poured all the vanilla fudges that require a full tray, like Heath English Toffee or Vanilla Walnut. Then he poured the few that require a half tray because they are either layered, or mixed with a top layer of chocolate. One of our most popular vanilla fudge flavors is Chewy Praline. That fudge has Caramel and Pecans sandwiched between two layers of vanilla fudge. So typically, a layer of vanilla would be poured, it would be topped with a caramel pecan layer, then another layer of vanilla fudge would top it off. The mistake came when he poured dark chocolate fudge on top instead. What could we do? We had to taste it, and it was delicious! Our vanilla fudge is sweeter than the dark chocolate fudge, and when those flavors combine with the chewy praline center it's a little bit of everything -- the perfect combination. Jordan named his new creation "Zebra", and it has been on our fudge shelf ever since. It quickly became my new personal favorite.
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June 16th has come and gone, and hopefully you took time to celebrate this day with your favorite fudge flavor! Being famous for Papa Dave's fudge at Culinary Apple, we consider everyday National Fudge Day! My personal favorite is Maple Nut, it's so smooth and creamy, and with the added walnut crunch, it's tough to beat. On the 16th, I noticed that we were down to just half a pound of the Maple Nut Fudge, so I decided to sample it with our visitors. Of course, because it's my favorite, I had to try several of those samples myself...! As you already know, I am the Fudge Master at Culinary Apple, but I'm training an apprentice, and this batch was made by her. I'm delighted to say that Heather did a terrific job, the Maple Nut Fudge was delicious! I googled National Fudge Day to find out how it got started, but the origin is unknown. Whatever the reason, it can't be denied that celebrating this delicious sweet treat is a great way to spend the day!
Once in a while we introduce new flavors. Of course over the summer, our seasonal favorite is Rootbeer Float Fudge, but probably my favorite new flavor is Apple Pie Fudge. We start making this one closer to apple harvest -- many of you know we're located in Central Washington, and the heart of apple country. Harvest actually begins soon with the picking of Ginger Gold apples, and continues through September. The season for Apple Pie Fudge is right around the corner. It's made with fresh apple cider, dried apples and cinnamon powder. It quickly become a local favorite, and as word has gotten out, we have started sending it nationwide!
My journey as the fudge apprentice continues...and it will be continuing for quite some time, I hear. I won't lose the "apprentice" title until I have made over 4,000 lbs of fudge. Yowzers! 4,000 lbs seems like a lot, but I truly learn something new each time I make a batch of fudge. I no longer get as nervous, but still find myself double checking my steps. Which, I found, is a good thing, because it is so easy to make a mistake or forget a step! I definitely have to keep my head in the game and stay focused on the task, or rather the fudge, at hand.
This week we'll be making a new flavor or two (at least new to me--did you get to try Rootbeer Float Fudge last summer?), and let me tell you, I am so excited to not only to make the new flavors, but to taste them as well! With three boys at home, I am sure I will be taking home some of those new flavors to share with those rambunctious little boys, who actually aren't so little anymore.
As my fudge apprentice journey continues, I find myself wondering just how many pounds of fudge I have to make before I get the coveted "Fudge Master" title....
One way you know summer is here (or almost here) is by the sight of Rootbeer Float Fudge in the fudge cabinet. You'll see it there this upcoming weekend--just in time for the red, white and blue Memorial Day weekend!
We've had a lot of fun making fudge and growing our business, but we never want to lose site of giving back. I've been in Rotary since 1984 and our motto is "Service Above Self." Here at Culinary Apple we strive to live up to that motto, as well. A few years ago, we learned of a program at our local elementary school called TARGET Afters Community Link Project. TARGET After's is an after school program that provides students with hands-on assistance in reading or math. We got involved with the program as a Community Link member, and one of the TARGET Afters classes "adopted" us as their Link. So, what does all this mean? Well, the class learns about their Link's role in the community; they get to visit their Link, and then do a reading and math activity in their class that relates to the work of their Link. Ultimately, this project gives students the opportunity to apply real world connections to work they do in Afters. They build relationships with their community, and foster an awareness of how they can be a productive community member.
So, how does Papa Dave's Fudge play into all this? Simple! Reading and math skills are imperative when making fudge! It starts with reading the recipe, then applying math to make and cut the fudge. We started by scheduling two groups of 4th graders to visit our store. We gave them a short tour, then headed for the kitchen. We like to engage the kids right away, so we asked if any of them knew what Fudge is. About half of them had an idea that it was some kind of chocolate. They were so surprised when we gave them a taste of Rootbeer Float Fudge, or Creamsicle! Next, we showed them the recipe for a half batch, which makes 18 pounds of fudge. We talked about the importance of fractions, weights and measurements. For example, to make a half batch, we would need 1 pound of butter, 48 ounces of cream, 3 pounds of chocolate and 10 pounds of sugar. Their eyes always get big, and we know we have their attention when we show them what 10 pounds of sugar looks like!
Then we leave the kitchen, and head to the front counter where we cut and weigh the fudge. We let the kids know that you must take and pass a test given by our state's health department before you can make, cut or serve fudge--more reading! It's always a fun afternoon sharing with the kids, and watching them grow and learn. We're excited to be a Community Link for the TARGET After's class, and hope to keep strengthening that relationship.
Heather is doing a great job in the short time that she has been making fudge. It certainly has been a big help to me. I just have to make sure I don't disappear like I did a couple weeks ago while she was in the process of pouring and swirling designs in the fudge trays. Next time I will let everyone know where I'm going! I have asked Heather to give her thoughts on how she feels her fudge apprenticeship is going. ~ Dave
And so goes my journey as the new fudge apprentice. I now realize why I will be an "apprentice" until I have made a few thousand pounds of fudge--there is a lot more that goes into mastering fudge making than when it's made at home. I am currently trying to master the "hurry-up" technique. I find myself focusing so much on perfecting everything that I forget to do it quickly! If I'm not quick enough the fudge will settle and I lose the smooth, mirror-like surface. That's what I will be focusing on perfecting now...hurry up and make it smooth! Wish me luck...? ~ Heather
When she says hurry up and make it smooth, she's right, you do have to move quickly. The fudge reaches 165 degrees in the kettle, but once you start pouring it cools rapidly. With our layered fudges like Chocolate Mint Swirl or Amaretto Chocolate fudge, we do a swirled pattern so the chocolate mixes with the flavored fudge on top. It not only makes it more attractive, but it tastes better, too! If you take too much time perfecting the swirled designs then move the pan to where it will set up overnight, the top 1/4 inch can shift causing a ripple effect, and you lose that smooth, glass-like surface. The good news is that the shift doesn't affect the great taste and creamy texture of Papa Dave's Fudge.
The Tower of Fudge!
Heather did a great job making our newest flavor: Salted Caramel Fudge. We put it in the cabinet this morning, and sold 3 pounds in less than 3 hours--and this is our slow season at the Lake! I can't imagine how much we're going to have to make once Memorial Day hits! Next I think we'll try a Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Fudge. Doesn't that sound terrific? ~ Dave
What in the world does the historic Ruby Theatre have to do with Papa Dave's Fudge? Located in the resort community of Lake Chelan, WA, the Ruby Theatre opened its doors in the summer of 1914. It is believed to be the oldest, continuously running movie theater in the state of Washington. The Ruby is also among the oldest and best preserved movie theater in the country.
Larry Hibbard and his wife Mary Murphy currently own and operate the Ruby. In 2013, a new concession stand was constructed. The owners felt they needed something locally made to offer their patrons, so they came to the Culinary Apple to see if we could come up with a fudge flavor that could be the signature fudge of the Ruby. We thought Rocky Road would be the perfect choice, and it became known as Ruby's Rocky Road Fudge, or Triple R for short! It's all about small town America when you enter the Ruby Theatre, and we are proud to be a part of the experience they create. Next time you're watching a movie at the Ruby, try a hunk of that famous fudge!
Since we're talking about historical movie theaters, I thought it would be the perfect time to give you some historical fudge facts according the punchbowl online. According to legend, the origin of fudge can be traced back to the 1800's when people used the word "fudge" to mean "messed up." One day, a chef accidentally "fudged" a batch of caramel he was trying to make, and in the process, invented the delicious confection we have come to love.
Before I sign off, it's never too early to mark your calendar for Tuesday June 16th to recognize National Fudge Day! And remember, fudge is like family...mostly sweet with a few nuts!
2014 finished as our best year ever! Thank you to everyone who visited our store or shopped online! As a small, independent retailer, it means a lot to us!! Papa Dave’s Fudge Factory had its best year also. We normally make around 3,500 pounds of fudge per year. We hit 4,300 pounds in 2014! Wow, what a year. Our new webpage had a lot to do with the increased fudge sales. Apple pie fudge, pumpkin pie fudge and candy cane fudge were all seasonal favorites. For Valentine’s Day gifts we will be doing a vanilla peppermint with sprinkles of red, white and pink. It should be a big hit!
This year, I’ve decided to bring on a fudge apprentice. Because of the versatility of our staff, I didn’t have to look far to find a good fit. Heather was excited to take on the new challenge, and I’m excited to have a little help. Especially if we’re going to shoot for 5,000 pounds of fudge in 2015…! I’ll let Heather introduce herself:
Dave is right, I do like a new challenge, and I’m excited to try my hand at making the famous Papa Dave’s Fudge. My goal is to make the same, quality fudge that Papa Dave is known for, and boy, do I have my work cut out for me! The first thing I realized was how much upper body strength is needed to sling a commercial batch of fudge. I am lacking in that area, and am looking forward to the strength I will be building! The second thing I noticed was how much will power it takes to not taste test each batch. The smells are amazing—making the peanut butter chocolate fudge almost dropped me to my knees. Today, we’ll be making my favorite of all fudge favorites…Maple Walnut. I know that’s Dave’s favorite, too, so maybe we’ll both have to do a little quality control after this batch is done…