Have you noticed the way the bare trees are beginning to look less bleak? There's a softening, the tips of branches are not so cold and dark. The swelling buds add a reddish haze to the winter landscape now.
The groundhog peaks from his burrow already knowing that the vernal equinox is still six weeks away but scenting spring in the air.
What's the best way to celebrate seeing your shadow? With the traditional Groundhog's Day Fudge, of course. Okay, maybe not so traditional now that I've found Alton Brown's microwave peanut butter fudge recipe. I'll be trying his recipe for the first time this year -- it looks so easy.
I'm copying it here:
1 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar
Microwave butter and peanut butter for 2 minutes on high. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes. Add vanilla and powdered sugar to peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Pour into a buttered 8 by 8-inch pan lined with waxed paper. Place a second piece of waxed paper on the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Now, I do like to try to make my fudge groundhog shaped... with a swirl of Nutella to make the shadow... but if you don't have to. Squares would work just as well.
Note: For those with peanut allergies -- I don't see why you couldn't use cashew butter to make fudge just as easily. Actually, that almost sounds better.