This recipe is so easy that the set-out, make-it and cleanup can be done in thirty minutes. When I make a lot, I set up a little assembly line, and set the used cooking pan immediately under running hot water---a thorough scrub with a big brush, and right back onto the stove.
First get out your ingredients:
4 cups sugar
Stick of butter
Tall can of Pet or other evaporated milk (not condensed)
16 oz. chocolate chips
I usually buy BIG packages---three or five pounds, and just eye-measure what is 1/3 or 1/5 of the bag. Using a 12 oz. bag will make it more Hershey bar-like, like milk chocolate. We like it darker.
Small jar of marshmallow creme
1/4 t. salt
Glug of vanilla
Measure them all out, if you like, and set them aside. Spray a 9x13, bottom only. Or it will fill four mini-loaves or if you're REALLY agile, about four dozen dropped pieces. With a couple of cups of pecans stirred in, five dozen pieces.
I don't have good luck putting nuts actually IN this candy---it gets solid so fast after stirring in the chips, etc., that it's still so hot that the nuts seem to lose most of their crispness, sorta steaming themselves soft. You CAN put them if you're dropping the candy---those cool too fast to do any mischief. Pour out the candy and wait til it's cooling in the pan, then sorta eyeball the rows you'll use to put a nice fat perfect nutmeat atop each piece, if you like, or til it's REALLY cool to put on the chocolate coffee beans.
Always use a flat paddle or even an egg-turner---you want to smooth up the bottom in a big pattern as you stir, rather than using just a spoon, which clears only a hair's-breadth with each swoop.
Put the sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed pan like a Dutch oven, and pour the Pet all around the edges like a moat. The sugar will start to get damp and absorb the milk; stir it gently together. Drop in the butter---I usually cut it into several pieces with the paddle I use for stirring. If you're using a liqueur or coffee flavoring (I use the bottles of 1883 Philibert Routin syrups, straight from a coffee bar)---pour in an ounce or so, now---it doesn't interfere with the liquid/sugar balance.
Pay no attention to the little clumps of cocoa---I stirred some into the sugar for an even-darker chocolate on this one---I should have sifted, but it came out fine. Stir gently til it comes to a rolling boil, and time it EIGHT MINUTES TO THE SECOND, stirring all the time. Despite all the caveats on making candy, somehow this one benefits from the stir; I can count only perhaps five times over the years when the candy had a grainy texture.
On the counter, have ready: A folded, dampened kitchen towel to set the pan on for stability while stirring. It's also a great time-and-mess saver if you go ahead and dump the chips onto a plate or flat bowl and scrape out the marshmallow atop before you start rather than trying to do that scraping and hand-de-stickying when the candy comes off the heat.
When time is up, take pan off heat immediately, set it on the towel, dump in the chips and creme and vanilla, and stir. I stir for a bit with a paddle, then use a heavy whisk. When it's all mixed, pour into the pan. To cool, I usually set the pan up onto three cans of beans or corn---regular size cans of anything, for the air flow beneath the pan for cooling. Next-day cutting is easier and prettier.
This is the plain cocoa/chocolate chip version. I dumped it out of the pan facedown onto a small cutting-board, then flipped it over onto waxed paper for cutting. I have a handy plastic ruler with one keen little edge---I sorta measure, then score with the ruler.
Use a chef's-type knife or cleaver, pressing straight down through the candy, to cut. I usually go 9x6 on the pieces, so with Cook's Treat and that edge piece that just doesn't look right, it's usually about four dozen pieces.
I go all around the world telling a recipe, but it's so simple:
Cook 8 minutes
Stir in chips and marshmallow, pour into pan, cool and cut.
I hope SOMEBODY will try it.