The storefront in Bishop Park in Pine is a fudge shop again after 20 years.
Owner Carol Herrick is making up batches of chocolate explosion, chewy praline, mint chocolate swirl and at least 19 other varieties.
"This is a fun business," said Herrick of Pine Creek Fudge and Ice Cream.
She has over 70 recipes after being in business just over a month, and claims "fudge can be anything imagination" dictates.
Batches of cinnamon crumb cake and a takeoff on the Almond Joy candy bar were her own creations made with a base of Calico fudge out of New York.
"I've had three requests for penuche fudge made with brown sugar, so I'm going to make it," Herrick said.
Pralines and cream and "good ol' peanut butter" are her best sellers thus far.
"Janet Weber (Pine Creek Fudge employee and Herrick's neighbor) and I are two good cooks," said Herrick.
Herrick is the grandmother of seven, and "they have already requested treats for their classes."
Most varieties of her fudge are sweetened with fructose, a naturally occurring sweetener found in fruit.
As Herrick decided what kind of business she wanted to open, she knew she didn't want to own a restaurant where she felt she would be rushing everyday. But growing up on a farm in Stuttgart, Ark., she has fond memories of weekly trips to the town's ice cream parlor.
"That's where I spent any money I earned," said Herrick. "I just loved sitting at the little table eating my ice cream. I thought one day I wanted a little shop, something like (that ice cream parlor), where people can come in and know you by name."
Herrick plans to have more outside seating at her shop for the summer.
Pine Creek Fudge also features chocolate-dipped apples, novelties and Dreyers Ice Cream in eight flavors. Coffee and bagels are available. Customers opening the lid of Herrick's antique coke machine will find a range of beverages to choose from.
The sunny weekend before Pine got 3 feet of snow, it was standing-room-only in Herrick's shop.
"We were busy making banana splits, malts, shakes and just having the best time," Herrick said. "People were laughing with us because we are new at it. We kept telling them, ‘We're gonna make it our way, if you don't like it, tell us.' It is a fun place."
Herrick ships her fudge anywhere. Pine Creek Fudge and Ice Cream is at 3617 N. Hwy. 87 in Pine. Call (928) 476-3308. Winter hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Keeping fudge fresh
Fudge that is taken home may be kept fresh for up to two weeks. According to Carol Herrick, to maintain freshness, fudge should not be put in a sealed, air-tight baggie or container. It can be re-wrapped in wax paper, but it needs to breathe. It should not be refrigerated because the ingredients have a tendency to separate. Freezing fudge in an airtight container is OK. But then the fudge should be thawed in whatever container it was frozen, before the container is opened so it does not dry out.