Words and Photos by Andrea K Castillo
Rounding out our Belizean Christmas 101 series, we have one of my all-time favorite deserts: Belizean-style fudge. Now, fudge in any variety is not specific to the holiday season, but it is a treat that I personally like to make for friends and family during this time of year. One thing to know about Belizean fudge is that it’s not like American fudge that contains chocolate. It’s closer to peanut brittle, composed mainly of condensed milk, sugar, and peanuts, and often rounded out with coconut, raisins, and walnuts, if you please. While this version of fudge is reflective of our colonial British heritage in its use of condensed milk and other ingredients, fudge has taken on a character of its own in Belize. For Belizeans living abroad, it’s one of those things you just tend to crave when thinking about home.
Personally, I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and, as a kid, I would patiently wait for fudge that one of the ladies in my family would make. As I got older, I thought it would be a good idea to learn how to make it on my own, as my wait time between fudge would get longer, and longer.
Around 2010, I tried out my first batch using a recipe from the Belize Hospital Auxiliary Cookbook. I used this recipe for about two years, but realized the consistency of the fudge wasn’t as crumbly as I would like, but a bit chewier, like caramel. Just this past May, I spoke with my cousin’s aunt Mazie about Belizean desserts; specifically her fudge recipe, as she has one of the best in the family. I took notes feverishly on my phone and was encouraged when she said to me, “I don’t believe in hiding recipes. They are to share with everyone.” I’m quite glad that she did.
I believe I may be outdoing myself this Christmas with all the food and drink goodies, but it makes me happy to know that I am keeping tradition. I’ve included recipes for both plain and peanut fudge to satisfy every sweet tooth!