Are you obsessed with chocolate?? What about fudge? Today’s obsessed foodie loves fudge as a food hobby so much, she makes 100 LBs of it a year.
Yea, that’s a whole lot of fudge! Kelly Lupton, a life coach, makes 100 pounds of fudge for fun when Christmas rolls around each year. We talked about how her food hobby started, how it grew, and why she’s refused to make money from her hobby so far.
The beginnings of something big
Kelly’s fudge making adventure began when her youngest was still just a toddler. Her family was on a really tight budget: she had ten dollars to stretch into gifts for everyone. How far can ten dollars go? Not far, if you start buying.
And then Kelly remembered a story her mother-in-law used to tell, about how, in the days when their own budget was tight, they had made fudge as gifts because it was something they could do with very little outlay; a way to get a homemade gift for everybody without baking the bank.
She called her mother in law to find the heirloom recipe and make it with her kids, and was surprised that it was simply the recipe on the back of a can of marshmallow fluff. A simple chocolate recipe; no flavor combinations provided.
20 pounds of chocolate was all her budget could stretch to that year, but it was enough: enough to provide gifts for everyone, and to let them all know they were loved. The feedback she got back was wonderful: everyone commented about how good it was, and wished she would do it again next year. After that, it only expanded.
How to make fudge at home
Though Kelly began with the simple recipe from the back of the can of marshmallow fluff, she didn’t allow herself to be limited by it. Instead, she did lots of experimentation: adding flavors and tweaking ingredients to make dozens of different kinds of fudge to share with her loved ones.
The recipe she began with she knows now by heart: one can of marshmallow fluff, half a cup of butter, 11 ounces of evaporated milk, and five cups of sugar. Then vanilla, salt, and chocolate chips. That’s all mixed together and cooked on the stovetop, with some dedicated stirring that gives her arms a serious workout.
You can’t leave the stove after it’s begun to melt, and you can’t stop stirring. She’s tried using electric mixers or whisks, but they just don’t do the trick. Her fudge requires commitment, and it’s not easy: the fudge gets stiff and is hard to handle. It’s like trying to melt and stir bread dough, she explains.
But it’s worth it. She’ll put music on, and she’ll tell anyone who comes into the kitchen: don’t bother me, I’m busy. For an hour, she’s committed to the stove, and to that pot of stiff, sweet, sticky fudge that can’t be left an instant.
Fudge-flavored life advice
It would be easy for Kelly to turn her fudge-making tradition into a money-making side gig: people love fudge, and they’d be happy to pay $10/lb to buy up the fruit of her labors. But Kelly feels that to sell fudge would spoil it for her.
She would lose the flexibility she has to experiment, to try new flavors, and it would be in danger of becoming a grind. Fudge making isn’t easy, and she didn’t feel it was something she wanted to do for cash.
Kelly hopes that Corona will be a wake up call, and people will take time to find activities they enjoy, and do them just because they enjoy doing them. Shut off your TV, she tells us in the podcast. Go experience life. You don’t need to keep the TV off permanently, but give yourself a chance to find your own experiences, to be intentional and in the moment.
For me, the smell of fudge always brings me back to the little touristy places by ocean boardwalks – where the doors and windows are left open and all the good candy smells drift out, and I go in and try all the samples. There are so many varieties, each better than the last, and I always end up with a peanut butter fudge—my favorite.
Will fudge making be your new “just for fun” foodie adventure, or will you choose something else? Wherever you end up, I hope you have just as much fun experimenting as Kelly Lupton did! And if you’re not up to stirring for hours but still find yourself craving that delicious fudge flavor, remember, Chewy Fudge Brownies is a perfectly valid option!