Mel and I have been friends forever - since kindergarten, I guess. And in that roughly twenty years, there have been few people that have been able to tell us apart. People we meet when we're out automatically accept that we're sisters. Her mother's coworker (my dentist when I was a kid) had no idea we were two different people (based on the fact that he ALWAYS called me Mel). Teachers would figure it out eventually. Of course, it doesn't help that we perpetuate the myth that we're twins.
You see, we don't actually look all that similar. It's just that we're vaguely "ethnic" in the Middle Eastern sense of the word, have long, curly, black/brown hair, wear glasses, and have long names that are hard to pronounce and begin with the letter A.
So when it comes to throwing birthday parties, for the past couple of years, we've thrown a joint party (since we're only a month apart anyway). Our party was back in September, but I just found this picture and thought I'd post the recipe. For this year's party, we went with an all-desserts theme. We had all kinds of cookies and treats, and I even made the most amazing chocolate cake ever. I also needed something for my gluten-free friend (GFF!), so I made this delicious cashew fudge, based on a recipe from Dozen Flours.
This fudge is so easy to make, and the unctiousness of the cashew butter lends a flavor that is fantastic but hard to pinpoint.
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cashew butter, well mixed and at room temperature
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 stick of butter, at room temperature and cut into 8 small pieces
Line a 8x8 baking dish or cake pan with parchment paper so it comes up and over the sides of the pan.
Combine the sugar, cream, milk, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Once the mixture begins to bubble, stir frequently until it reaches 235° on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and cashew butter and continue to stire until the cashew butter is completely absorbed and the candy is smooth and thick. Transfer to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Set the dish aside for about 1 hour for the fudge to cool and harden.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter together. Mix until well blended. Pour the chocolate over the top of the fudge, smoothing and shaking the pan. Let sit at least 20 minutes in the fridge until solid.
Lift the fudge out of the pan using the overhanging parchment paper. Cut it into 1-inch squares. Store the fudge in an airtight container with layers of wax paper.