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The period leading up to Christmas should be a time of preparation and anticipation. Younger members of the family love to take part and few things make them more excited than the prospect of creating home-made sweets.

This American style fudge is so easy to make that even younger children can be in charge - as long as they can easily reach the cooker and stir the melting chocolate without any risk of pulling down the pan of hot water. Letting the children loose in the kitchen can seem counter-productive due to the mess it tends to creates, but this recipe does not generate a great deal of mess and it is so quick to make.

1. Line a small roasting tin (15 x 20 cm approximately) with foil.

2. Create a double boiler by suspending a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water but sits just prone of it. Break the chocolate into the bowl; add the butter, vanilla and condensed milk. Stir gently while it melts.

3. Leave it to cool down a little before stirring in the peanuts and mini marshmallows - take care not to break up the marshmallows.

4. Pour into the lined tin and set in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.

5. Cut into small squares. If you like, wrap in coloured cellophane and arrange in a nice bowl or, give away a bag of home-made fudge for Christmas.

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200g dark chocolate

200g milk chocolate

25g butter

1 tin (397g) Carnation sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon vanilla paste

Two handfuls mini marshmallows

200g peanuts - preferably unsalted

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