Monday, December 12, 2011

Fudge and Keeping Ideas Secret

I'm going to share something with you. Something big. I put a lot of thought into this, and I've made my decision.

When I was young, my mom taught me how to make fudge. "This is a secret family recipe," she said. "My mother gave it to me, I'm giving it to you, and you will give it to your daughter. It has an ingredient that no one knows. You must promise not to share it with anyone."

My eyes were wide. "I won't!" I promised.

I kept my promise well into adulthood. The recipe my mother gave me makes the best fudge you can even fathom, and whenever people asked me what was in it, I proudly told them it was a secret family recipe.

One day I was talking to my mom about our special fudge, and she said in front of a big group of people, "Oh yeah, the kind with sour cream." It wasn't really a secret. It was just a game!

I was disappointed. Then I realized, what do I gain by keeping this recipe secret? I'm not going to sell it. I'm not going to open a bakery. I don't even make it that often.

In a world where ideas are more valuable than gold, we tend to cling to everything we come up with. What people fail to realize is that an idea is only as valuable as the work you're willing to put into it. 

If you sit on an idea because it could make money, even though you will never do anything with it, you deny the world a great blessing.

Andrew says engineering companies do this often. Scientists might create an invention that would cost a fortune for companies to implement but could drive them out of business if someone else implemented it. They buy the invention and sit on it so no one else can have it.

When I first heard this, I was incensed. "What about science?" I asked. "What about progress for the good of mankind?"

I'm not saying you should give all your ideas away for free; I would encourage you to pursue as many creative endeavors as you can. At the same time, we have more ideas and more skills than we can market. Instead of being greedy with our dreams of fame and fortune, we should be realistic and share the wealth. 

I am going to share some of my wealth with you. Here, for the first time in public, is my Secret Fudge recipe. (Cue dramatic music.)

7 oz Kraft Marshmallow Crème
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup butter
¼ tsp salt
11 ½ oz milk chocolate
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a heavy sauce pan, combine crème, sugar, sour cream, butter, and salt.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil over moderate heat, then boil 5 minutes
  3. Add chocolate and vanilla, stir until completely dissolved
  4. Chill for 2 hours
  5. You can add raisins and rum extract, add orange extract, add nuts, or add peppermint and press crushed candy canes on top. The sky is the limit.


  1. That's sweet of you - please excuse the pun - to share this recipe.

    Thank you.

  2. Thanks for sharing your secret! And graet analogy...Sharing ideas does benefit all of us more than hording them!

  3. I love fudge but so far Mrs. Chatterbox, who is a wonderful cook, hasn't been able to come up with a good result. I'll show her your recipe. Who knows, maybe this time she'll pull it off. Thanks.

  4. My family has a fudge recipe too that makes a weird sort of 'cold' fudge - not squishy but hard and almost crumbly. It is AWESOME. But I can't make it :P I'm not much of a baker.


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