Sweet Treat of the Week: A crunchy holiday brittle from Mackinac Island

There’s peanut brittle, and then there is Holiday Brittle from Original Murdick’s Fudge. A totally tricked-out version featuring Michigan-made ingredients, this brittle is a festive gift to give – or receive.

“This year we are featuring our Holiday Brittle,” said Bobby Benser Jr, owner and operator of Original Murdick’s Fudge. A heady, crunchy mixture of “pecans, cashews, peanuts, and we’re also including Traverse City cherries. It’s a new brittle for us, and it’s very, very good.”

Typically, Murdick’s Fudge is open through the end of October, and then they open their online holiday shop from Thanksgiving until Christmas. This year, you’ll have an even bigger window to order Murdick’s handmade, all-natural sweets, including both brittle and fudge.

For the first time, Original Murdick’s Fudge is going to have a location that will stay open year-round. Over the holiday season, they’ll be making fudge both on the island, and at the St. Ignace location. Then, for the rest of the off-season, all production will be in St. Ignace. All of Murdick’s offerings will be available for shipping.

“Our online orders keep getting better and better,” Benser said. “So we decided to stay open in St. Ignace. It’s pretty exciting. We can keep a lot of our great employees busy all winter.”

The Holiday Brittle from Original Murdick’s Fudge is our pick for Sweet Treat of the Week, a series highlighting people and products from around Michigan who are using Pioneer Sugar in their creations.

Check out our video below, where we talk with Benser about the history of his shop, what spading is and why it’s important to the fudge-making process, and how you can order fresh treats to enjoy right now.

Original Murdick's Fudge Mackinac Island

One of the most popular flavors at Original Murdick’s Fudge on Mackinac Island is Double chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Fudge.John Gonzalez

Original Murdick’s Fudge has a long history in the Straits area. In 1887, the father and son team of Henry and Jerome “Rome” Murdick arrived on the island. Experienced sail makers, they had been hired to create the canvas awnings for the newly-opened Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Murdick’s Candy Kitchen opened that same year, featuring recipes from Sara Murdick, Henry’s mom.

Fast forward a few years, when in 1955 Bob Benser Sr, came to the island to open a Taystee Freeze, which happened to be right next door to Murdick’s Candy Kitchen, which was then owned by Jerome and Grace Murdick. The couple quickly took Benser under their wing, treating him like the son they never had, and teaching him all about the art and science behind fudge making. Benser bought the business in 1969. The Benser family continues to own and operate the fudge shop, with Bobby Benser Jr heading the daily operations, still using the original recipes and techniques.

The company has expanded over the years, adding the St. Ignace shop, and one in Mackinaw City. They also have fudge shops on Martha’s Vineyard. Murdick’s currently ships their products to all 50 states, an expansion from when they first started shipping and only delivered to about 20 states.

The Holiday Brittle comes loaded with nuts and fruit, all nestled in a base of white and brown sugars and cream that gets cooked in the famous copper pots at the shop. Poured out onto the marble slabs, the brittle gets turned and folded to cream it, and then the nuts and cherries get added in. Spread out, it cools into a crunchy sweet treat. I joked with Benser that with all those nuts and fruit in it, it’s almost a healthy snack. Not quite, he said. But if you’re “on island” you can bike or hike it off, he reminded me. “We all can indulge a little bit,” Benser said.

All of the treats at Murdick’s feature Michigan-made products. “Most of our product is sourced in Michigan,” Benser said. “Our shipping boxes are from Detroit, our sugar obviously, our cream is made in the Upper Peninsula, we get our maple sugar from the Upper Peninsula, the butter from the Upper Peninsula. We are pretty much 95% Michigan-sourced, our ingredients and our packaging.”

The brittle comes in 12 oz packages, and is sealed for freshness. In addition to the holiday version, Murdick’s also always offer the original peanut, as well as pecan and cashew varieties. Right now, there are 11 different fudge flavors to choose from, from classic chocolate to the popular chocolate caramel sea salt, and holiday specialties like cranberry as well. You can order fudge and brittle a variety of ways, with multiple gift box options that are the perfect ‘taste of Mackinac’ to send this holiday season. Murdick’s ships Fed Ex, and most people in Michigan can expect their order to arrive within two days of the product being made.

Original Murdick's Fudge Christmas

Original Murdick’s Fudge on Mackinac Island has re-opened for the holidays to make fudge, brittle and toffee to ship as holiday gifts. The deadline to place orders is Dec. 19, 2019.John Gonzalez

Original Murdick’s Fudge

To place your holiday order online: https://www.originalmurdicksfudge.com/


Mackinac Island Main Store (across from Lilac Tree Hotel) 7363 Main Street

Mackinac Island (across from Chippewa Hotel) 7244 Main Street

St. Ignace 204 N. State Street

Surrey Hill- Mackinac Island Hoban Avenue

Mackinaw City (Closed for the 2020 season due to COVID-19)190 S. Huron – Bldg 3


More Sweet Treats of the Week:

Pies galore from Rosie’s

Michigan’s Best BBQ

A hard seltzer for breakfast

Cops & Doughnuts

Cream & Sugar Ice Cream Company

Root Beer from Bavarian Inn

How these Good Cookies came to be

A caramel drizzled wonder

Say ‘oui’ to these French macarons from this teenage chef

Fresh bagels in Bay City

Mojitos with Gull Lake Distilling

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