Paula Pumphrey from Glen Burnie was hoping someone would have the recipe for the fudge that was made and sold for a fundraiser for Public School 84 and the Salem Lutheran Church around the corner when she was growing up in South Baltimore. She said her mother, who is 90, also attended P.S. 84 and remembers the fudge fondly. She said the fudge was about a half-inch thick and snapped when you bit into it. It immediately melted in your mouth.
Marilyn Vogel from Baltimore had the recipe Pumphrey was searching for. She said she was the secretary at P.S. 84, also known as the Thomas Johnson School, for 30 years and was a member of the school's "Mother's Club," which made the fudge.
This is a fairly basic, unadulterated recipe that yields an extremely rich, dense fudge. It takes a bit of time to make, as you have to cook it until it reaches the soft-ball stage (when a drop of water turns the mixture into a soft ball). Vogel's directions said to boil for 20 to 30 minutes, but I found it took closer to 45 minutes to reach 240 degrees. It needs to be watched rather closely so it doesn't burn.
The recipe made close to 3 pounds of fudge. The size of the pan you use will determine the thickness of the fudge. Vogel's instructions say to pour the mixture onto a buttered cookie sheet. I used a 9-by-12-inch Pyrex pan instead, and the fudge came out to be about 3/4- inch thick. If you like your fudge thin, just use a larger pan.
I thought the fudge was good, but just a tad plain, so I experimented with different toppings such as peanut butter, chopped nuts and mini marshmallows. The peanut butter was the biggest hit.
Sophie Filippetti from Santa Rosa, Calif., is seeking a recipe for what she thinks was called Italian king cake. She said her mother-in-law made it often and even won first prize at their county fair one year, but has unfortunately lost her recipe.
Barbara Bloch from Berrien Springs, Mich., is searching for a recipe that was popular in the 1960s for Rice Krispies ice cream squares.
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Public School 84 fudge
Makes approximately 3 pounds
5 cups sugar
8 tablespoons corn syrup
2 2/3 cups canned, unsweetened, evaporated milk
1 cup cocoa
1/4 pound butter or margarine
3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Combine sugar, corn syrup, canned milk and cocoa in a heavy, 4-quart saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 20 to 30 minutes, or until mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 235 to 245 degrees. Remove pot from stove and stir in the butter or margarine and the vanilla. Cool to room temperature, approximately 110 degrees, or until pan is barley warm to the touch. Beat well with an electric mixer until it begins to thicken and fudge becomes creamier and lighter in color.
Quickly spread mixture onto a well-buttered cookie sheet or baking pan. Cool completely and cut fudge into 1-inch squares.