Every year about this time I have a special tradition that I do just for me (well, mostly, though my family always notices if I skip). I make “Kimberly Fudge,” in memory of a Bethany friend who died in a car accident a few years ago while she and her husband were missionaries in China.
I don’t have a picture of Kimberly. But in my mind’s eye I can see her at the stove in the basement of the Old Ad building (also now the stuff of memories, as it was recently demolished), stirring the sugar syrup for a full 12 minutes before adding it to the bowl with the chocolate and walnuts and beating for another 15 minutes. That’s nearly thirty minutes of nothing but standing and stirring. And (especially since I did nothing else but watch) it was worth every delicious bite.
2-1/2 C chocolate chips
1 pint marshmallow creme
1 C butter
2 tsp vanilla (I add a splash of Amaretto, too)
1 tsp cinnamon (my addition)
2 C chopped walnuts
1 can evaporated milk
4-1/2 C sugar
Line a cake pan 11×13 with buttered waxed paper. Put chips, creme, flavorings, cinnamon, and walnuts in a large bowl, set aside. Combine in heavy saucepan the remaining ingredients and bring to rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil 12 minutes (set the timer). Pour over other ingredients and beat for 12-15 minutes (the longer you beat it, the smoother the texture). Cool completely before serving.
One of my favorite Bethany memories is of me and Maria strolling around the “back 40” in the dead of winter, then coming back to my room for “special” hot chocolate (I’d hidden a bottle of blackberry brandy at the back of the closet). I’m not sure if alcohol was exactly forbidden to post-grads, but somehow the “sneaky factor” of pulling down the shades before pulling down the bottle from the top shelf made the experience that much more of a treat.
After the warmth had returned to our bodies, we’d make our way down to the basement where Kimberly was invariably baking something. Not sure where she put all that baking — she couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred pounds or so. Come to think of it, I don’t remember her actually eating her creations. But she had a way of making a home no matter where she was. It’s something I always admired — and something from which my own children now benefit.