just a smidgen

Harriet’s Remarkable Fudge and Her Icebox Scotch Shortbread

Fantasy Fudge

Sometimes we are blessed with the love and guidance of parents

and, if we’re lucky, we are blessed to have a close relationship with our grandparents

My Granny was the “go to” person when my parents “didn’t (or wouldn’t?) understand”.

She was my “home away from home” on summer holidays,

the purveyor of vintage ornaments at Christmas,

the first one in our family to have a Color Television with more than 3 channels,

my fashion and make-up advisor,

and she felt like my big sister and best friend.

I have cherished memories of visiting her in Lethbridge,

skating on Henderson Lake,

walking through the Japanese Garden (to the end and back again because you can see things from a new perspective that way),

and running to find her at the Eaton’s Hosiery counter, then bolting up the escalator to spend our allowance on a Malted Milk.

Her home was always filled with baking,
there was no fear of butter back then or calorie counting

and Gran never gained a pound.

It must have been from the stamina she acquired after all that hard, physical labour required to live on the

Southern Alberta Prairie through the Great Depression

or perhaps it was just all that fantastic energy she exuded when chatting up her friends?

Gran’s shiny laminate kitchen counter would be dusted with flour as she taught us how to make her famous cinnamon buns,

Apples were snapped from the tree in her backyard and melted into applesauce before our eyes.

Chicken was fried with a Milk Gravy and her Veggie Delight was covered in the sweetest of fluffy biscuits.

At Christmas, she’d ride the Greyhound “Milk Run” to Calgary or Edmonton, depending on the year

and across the miles she would come with smiles, hugs, popcorn balls, and fudge..

“Fantasy Fudge”

{ There are always requests when I volunteer.. and one of my gals loves chocolate.. so, of course, Gran’s Fantasy Fudge came to mind straight away.

Another requested Shortbread.. “anything soft with lots of butter…” }

 I knew Gran would have the perfect recipe, so I poured myself a cup of tea and began to flip through her  recipe boxes..

I was surprised to find cards in my own childish printing that I had given her all those years ago..

and stacks and stacks of cards, worn soft from her capable hands..

“For Harriet”

they wrote

“From the Kitchen of”…

Sis, Edith, Cathy, Dorothea, Doreen, Arley, Alice, Gladys, Ruth, Joan, Ilene and Millie,

(my mother)



(this one was also unexpected.. conjuring up thoughts of a very young Harriet, first learning to cook)

I found them out of order.. so for an hour I thumbed and sorted

and in those looping circles and sharp peaks of her slanted handwriting

I found her



and laughter,

her strong, cheerful voice on the phone and

her stories rode like sled tracks swirling over frozen prairie winter landscapes…

how she and her friends had to sit on the women’s side of the bar and how her husband, Tim, could hear her laughter clear to the other side

the day we found her brother’s name, “Clint” and the word “loves”, chalked saucily on a rotting timber slat roof, just above where their beds once lay side by side

My phone rang one day, about 15 years ago and the familiar old voice on the other end asked for Gladys.  Well, with soaring joy in my heart, we chatted for a long while, you see…  I was sure it was my Gran…

For a moment there, it seemed it was.. but then she was gone..and the voice on the phone apologized for what must have been a wrong number…

and I felt the loss of my Gran

all over again

I found not one, but four “Fudge” recipes in her box and not one was called “Fantasy Fudge”. I took a shot and picked the most likely recipe.

Well, that first batch of Gran’s “Fudge” didn’t turn out quite right
and I had to rely on the internet to sort out the correct recipe.
You see, she’d told me years ago it was from the back of those jars of marshmallow fluff.

I am certain that she was looking down from heaven the whole time, laughing that she’d forgotten to write down the butter on that first card.

Harriet’s Remarkable Fudge
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup margarine
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 12-oz. (340 g) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 7-oz. (198 g) jar Kraft Marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Mix sugar, margarine & milk. Bring to a boil, stir constantly.
  2. Boil 5 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Remove, stir in chocolate pieces until melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla.
  4. Pour into a 13×9 pan (I used a 9?x9? pan for thicker squares)
  5. Cool, cut in squares
  6. Makes 3 lbs.
  7. (adapted from the original Kraft Recipe)


Her second recipe went without a hitch.. an Icebox Scotch Shortbread that could be made ahead, sliced, poked with a fork and baked as needed. I did need to shorten the baking time, today’s ovens are much hotter it seems.

Isn’t the simplicity of the recipes in those days wonderful?

Harriet’s Icebox Scotch Shortbread
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Cream the butter, then gradually add sugar, beating well.
  3. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together and add to first mixture.
  4. Combine thoroughly. Roll out the dough until 1 ” thick. (at this point they can be refrigerated until needed)
  5. Cut into cookies by slicing 1/4-1/2? thick.
  6. Put on ungreased cookie sheets. Prick each cookie with fork and bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.


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