Grandma’s Boiled Icing (aka Fudge Frosting)

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I spent a week in Spencer, Iowa with my grandma, Eleanor.  Eleanor is 89 years young and raised 6 children.  While she doesn’t bake as much as she used to, her brownies are legendary.  The secret is boiled icing.

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My grandma’s boiled icing recipe came from her mother who got it from someone else.  We don’t how old the recipe is but it has been handed down for generations.  It’s similar to an old-fashioned fudge.  The secrets to boiled icing are 1) keep stirring, 2) wait until the mixture looks flat instead of shiny and 3) spread FAST- you have about a minute until it sets.

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Grandma’s Boiled Icing (aka Fudge Frosting):

Makes enough for a 9×13 pan of brownies, approximately ½ inch thick

First make and cool a 9×13 pan of your favorite brownies, cookie bars, cake etc


  • 6 T milk (1/4 C + 2T)
  • 6 T butter
  • 1 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3/4 C quality semi-sweet chocolate chips*

*Higher amounts of cacao in the chocolate chips help the frosting set.  My grandmother swears Ghirdellhi is the only way to go.  I used Guttiard and it was fine.  Any high quality semi-sweet chocolate chip should work.


Combine milk, butter and sugar in sauce pan on stove.  Turner on burner to medium.  Stirring constantly, the mixture will heat and boil.

When it hits a rolling boil, continue and stir constantly for 1 minute.  Use a timer.

Remove from heat.  Quickly add salt, vanilla and chocolate chips.

Stir continually until mixture blend.  Watch closely, the boiled icing will go from shiny to flat in color.  This means it is cooling and starting to set.  Pour over brownies and spread with spatula.  Do this VERY quickly, because you have about a minute until it hardens.  Have sprinkles or toppings prepared ahead of time, put on brownies as soon as possible.

Cool, cut and serve.  Say “thank you” to my grandma Eleanor!

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Anna Lookingbill

Anna Lookingbill

I'm a self-taught Betty Crocker. Food should be pretty, delicious and have sprinkles. Professionally I'm a clinical social worker. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest- Sugar and Spice Baking Blog- for great recipes, amazing restaurants and culinary adventures.

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