Chocolate fudgies, just like grandma used to make | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Chocolate fudgies, just like grandma used to make

“She looked at me, flashed a little smile, and nodded, as if to say, ‘They taste right, too.’”

If there’s a family recipe I know well, it’s my Grandma Ruthie’s fudgies. They’re richer than brownies, with dense, moist centers and delicate crackly tops, and brimming with walnuts. They always made an appearance at the table. Years ago, I requested the recipe from my grandma. She wrote it slowly in her signature, slanted cursive on an index card. It felt like she was sharing a slice of her history, of herself.

I had never made fudgies myself until recently, for Mother’s Day. We all hung out in Grandma Ruthie’s room at her nursing home, chatting, laughing and eating corned-beef sandwiches on rye. For dessert, I handed my grandma a fudgie. She said with seriousness, “They look right,” and took a bite. Then she looked at me, flashed a little smile, and nodded, as if to say, “They taste right, too.”

This recipe is short and sweet, and doesn’t require special equipment. My grandma’s recipe calls for “4 Squares Choc,” referring to the Baker’s brand chocolate squares that used to weigh an ounce each. These days, the Baker’s chocolate bar is thinner with more grid lines, and an ounce equals four rectangles. In this wild world of change, these will always be good.


  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ tsp. sal
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch pan by buttering it, lining with parchment and buttering the parchment. In a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate and butter together. Let cool slightly. Whisk flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Beat eggs in a separate bowl and add vanilla. Add the melted-chocolate mixture and the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Add ½ cup chopped walnuts and spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup chopped walnuts over top. Bake for 22-26 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. When cool, lift parchment to remove fudgies from pan. Cut into squares.

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