My mom made candy and chocolates for Christmas every year of her life. They were so good. I used to do the same thing when I left home. Since moving to the South, I haven't had the space to make much, but when I do, I make my Mom's recipes. This is her fudge recipe and is my favorite fudge recipe.
LOL, I think I have become a candy snob. Although all the quick recipes are good, I don't usually make candy unless it is the old fashioned way.
Mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil over medium low heat in a large pan, 3-4 quart at least. Don't let the mixture boil until the sugar is dissolved. You need to make sure you don't have sugar crystals on the side of the pan.
Once the candy is boiling, don't stir while cooking. Cook to soft ball stage on a candy thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, you can have a small bowl of ice water and when a small spoonful of candy is dropped into the water, the candy makes a soft ball which will flatten when removed from the water, it is at the soft ball stage.
If you haven't made candy before, a thermometer is a good investment.
Place 4 tablespoons of butter onto 2 platters, and pour hot candy onto platters. Don't let the candy drip on to the platters, do a quick pour and move the pan. (This gives you a little bit left to sample.)
While the candy is cooling, prepare a 9x13 inch pan by buttering it. If you would like, you can line the pan with foil and butter the foil. Once the candy is complete, you can lift the foil out and the candy is easier to cut.
Let this get very cool. When cool, put 1 tsp. of vanilla on each platter of candy. Beat with a wooden spoon until candy loses it's glossy appearance. Quickly pour into prepared pan and let set up. This shouldn't take long to set up.
NOTE: Since I have gotten older, I don't have the arm strength to stir the candy until it loses it glossy appearance, so instead of pouring onto platters, I do the following. I put the 4 T of butter into the bowl of my mixer, you need a mixer with a strong motor. Then I pour all the candy into the bowl. It takes longer to cool, but when cool, I add the vanilla and then start mixing on low speed until it loses it's glossy appearance. You don't want to mix in a lot of air, or you lose the texture of fudge.
NOTE 2: When you begin stirring or mixing, you can add peanut butter, or other flavorings. I usually add about 3/4 cup of peanut butter when I want peanut butter fudge.
NOTE 3: While the candy is cooling, don't move or touch the candy or platters. If you do, you might have the fudge turn to sugar. If this happens, you can start over and put back into the pan and add 1/2 cup of cream and start the cooking process all over again.
If it doesn't turn into fudge and is still quite liquid, you will need to cook again and cook a little longer. It is underdone.