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Easy Peppermint Fudge

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The Southern Sweet Tooth is a powerful force. Sugar is more than an ingredient in the South. It falls somewhere between a condiment and a food group. During the holiday season its status is even more prominent with tins of homemade mints, brittle, and fudge on every sideboard. It’s nearly obligatory serve a sweet treat to guests or to take as a gift for a party host. But, yikes! Time seems to accelerate this time of year and the to-do lists grow longer and longer. Who’s got time to make homemade candy? You do! My recipe for Quick and Easy Peppermint Fudge fits the bill.

Peppermint Fudge on

Fudge Recipe

This Peppermint Fudge has become my go-to recipe. It’s universal. Who doesn’t like Peppermint Fudge at Christmas? And, better yet, what busy cook doesn’t like an easy candy made from essential pantry ingredients? You can also add a drop of peppermint extract if you really want to pump up the peppermint flavor.

Lastly, if you’re behind on your Christmas shopping — like I am — many of my cookbooks on sale! I’ll be happy to send you a signed bookplate. Simply shoot a note with “bookplate” in the subject heading to and we’ll get one in the mail right away!

Bon Appétit Y’all!

Peppermint Fudge on

Peppermint Fudge

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Freezer Chilling Time30 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16
Author: Virginia Willis


  • 6 candy canes broken into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick, more for the baking dish
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 16-ounce box confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup low-fat or whole milk
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts peanuts, or pecans
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract


  • Place the candy canes in a sealable freezer bag. (A freezer bag is best because it's thicker.) Wrap a kitchen towel around the bag of candy canes and place on a clean work surface. Use the bottom of a heavy pot or skillet to crush the candy canes into fine crumbs. Set aside.
  • Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with butter. Melt 1/2 cup of butter with the salt in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and milk until very smooth. Add the cocoa; stir until combined and remove from the heat. Add the walnuts and vanilla; stir until combined. The fudge will have a very smooth, shiny texture.
  • Spoon the fudge into the prepared dish. Transfer to the refrigerator until set, at least 2 hours. Or, if you just can’t wait, slip it in the freezer. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and slice into cubes. Heat the knife in hot water and pat dry before each cut for the smoothest slices. Press one side of each piece in the reserved crushed peppermint. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis’ biography includes making chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraging for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvesting capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and hunting for truffles in France. She is talent and chef-instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen. Her segments feature authentic and innovative Southern cooking. She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Virginia has spoken at SXSW, cooked for the James Beard Foundation, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, and Jane Fonda with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Recently, her work has been inspired by her weight loss success story, Virginia has lost 65# and kept it off for over 2 1/2 years! “If a French-trained, Southern chef can do it, you can, too.” She is the author of Fresh Start; Secrets of the Southern Table; Lighten Up, Y’all; Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all won a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health Category. Lighten Up, Y’all as well as her first cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all, were finalists in the Best American Cookbook for the International Association of Cookbook Awards and were also named by the Georgia Center of the Book as “Books Georgians Should Read.” She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, GRLSQUASH, Culture, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude, approachable spirit, and traveling exploits. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in content creation, recipe development, culinary editorial and production services, cookbook writing, media training, spokesperson and brand representation, and public speaking. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board, as well as the Community Farmers Market Advisory Board. She is a food and hunger advocate for No Kid Hungry and a premier member of the No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. She a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Georgia Organics, and Southern Foodways Alliance.

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