By Andrew Lewis Fudge is one of my favorite winter treats. The really great thing about homemade fudge is that there are so many potential flavors to choose from. Chocolate and chili fudge is devilishly good, and fudge made with real rum is very warming on a winter’s evening. It is only fair to warn you that making fudge requires a little practice. But, if you persevere, you will be rewarded with one of the tastiest treats in the confectioner’s armory. The recipe I use is easier to make than a “traditional” fudge, and you should be able to get consistently good results without using a sugar thermometer.
Vanilla Fudge: 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup of evaporated milk 8 tbsp of unsalted butter 2 tbsp water 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence Chocolate Fudge: 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup of evaporated milk 8 tbsp of unsalted butter 2 tbsp water 6 heaping tbsp of cocoa powder Chili Chocolate Fudge: 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup of evaporated milk 8 tbsp of unsalted butter 2 tbsp water 6 heaping tbsp of cocoa powder 1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce Rum Fudge: 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup of evaporated milk 8 tbsp of unsalted butter 2 tbsp water 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence 4 tbsp rum Whiskey Fudge: 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup of evaporated milk 8 tbsp of unsalted butter 2 tbsp water 4 tbsp Scotch whiskey
Step 1: Put all of the ingredients into a large saucepan, with the exception of the rum, whiskey, and vanilla essence, if you are using it. Step 2: Fill a bowl with cold water and place it near to the stove. You will need this water later on. Step 3: Bring the saucepan slowly to the boil, stirring the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon. Boiling the mixture too quickly can cause the sugar in the mixture to stick and burn, so take it slow and steady. Step 4: Keep the mixture at a steady boil, stirring all the time. If you stop stirring even for a few seconds, the mixture will stick to the pan and start to burn. Step 5: After a while, the mixture will start to thicken and will leave a thin, glossy coating on the back of a wooden spoon. You may also notice that the boiling becomes slightly less vigorous, with fewer bubbles on the surface of the mixture. These are both signs that the fudge is almost cooked, and it usually takes between 10 and 30 minutes of boiling time to reach this stage. Step 6: Test the consistency of the fudge by dripping a small amount of it into a bowl of cold water. If the mixture forms a soft ball or tear-drop shape as soon as it hits the water, then the mixture is cooked and can be removed from the heat. Step 7: If you are using vanilla essence or rum, stir it in now. Be aware that the boiling temperature of the rum is lower than the boiling temperature of the sugar, so it will boil as soon as you add it to the fudge mixture. Make sure there are no naked flames nearby that could ignite the alcohol vapors. Step 8: Allow the fudge mixture to cool for 5 minutes, and then begin beating air into it with a wooden spoon. Continue beating until the texture of the fudge becomes slightly grainy and stiff. This will take approximately 20 minutes, and the exercise will do wonders for your tennis serve. SAFETY NOTE: In case you are wondering why I do not recommend using an electric beater to do this job, it is because at this stage of the fudge making process, you are essentially working with molten sugar. An electric beater can easily throw molten sugar out of the mixing bowl, resulting in serious burns. If you choose to ignore the risk of serious burns (and take sensible precautions against molten, airborne confectionery), you will find that an electric beater will take about 5 minutes to whip the fudge to a much lighter consistency than is possible with a wooden spoon. Step 9: Line a suitably sized baking tray with parchment paper, and pour the fudge mixture in. Let the mixture cool, and then divide into bite-sized pieces. It is easiest to cut the fudge into squares while it is still slightly warm, and then wait for it to cool completely before turning the pieces out onto a plate. If your fudge doesn’t set solid, there is no need to panic. You can just pop it back into a saucepan, boil it for a few more minutes, and then repeat steps 8 and 9. About the Author: Andrew Lewis is a journalist, a maker, an ardent victophile, and the founder of the www.upcraft.it blog. He is currently studying for a PhD in archaeometrics and 3D scanning at the University of Wolverhampton.