Smooth and melts in your mouth!
Photo Cheryl M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2009
It was late in the evening and it had been a long day of reviewing papers for an upcoming conference. I didn’t feel a need for a full meal but needed a sugar rush fix of sweet chocolate. I thought I could reach into the cabinet for that packet of chocolate coated Daim bits but alas! Someone else had gotten to them before I. So I settled to make chocolate fudge.
Chocolate fudge or fudge in general is not for the faint of heart calorie counters because it is by definition, a sugar bomb. It’s fairly easy to make because it doesn’t need that much looking after (like kaya or bernaise sauce) and it takes about 30 minutes cooking time.
A reliable recipe for fudge comes from Joy of Baking, for a traditional chocolate fudge recipe by Stephanie Jaworski. A quick check in the pantry revealed that I was notably lacking a few ingredients such as half and half and liquid vanilla extract.
As said, it was late in the evening and the stores have closed in Sweden, so I improvised with the ingredients, hence the title Cheryl’s Chocolate Fudge. Here’s what I used for this batch of chocolate fudge, which turned out better than I expected!
- 300g sugar
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp light syrup
- 80g Valrhona cocoa powder
- 200 ml milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar
According to Jaworski (and several other recipe sites on fudge), fudge making is tricky. One could end up with grainy fudges or fudges that are more hard candy due to over crystallizing of the sugar during the boiling process. Some tips she offers are:
- to not make candy on a humid day as it causes the fudge to become grainy
- to brush down the sides of the pot with cold water if there are crystals forming. Don’t over stir the mixture.
- to not immediately beat the butter into the boiling mixture but simply place the butter to melt on top of the mixture, and
- to beat the fudge only after it’s cooled to 40 C, from the 113 C in the pot after the boiling stage.
Makes a perfect gift when bottled and wrapped in a ribbon.
Instead of greasing a pan, I lined mine with grease proof paper or baking paper and set it aside. The recommended pan is 8 x 8 x 2 inches.
I placed all ingredients into a small pot, leaving out just the butter and set the pot on a low heat. The wood stove that we have in the kitchen was already going from the lighted firewood, so I placed the pot on that and started to stir. Whisks are not recommended, because you then incorporate too much air into the mixture, so I used a wooden spoon.
The key to making fudge is that you get the mixture to boil till it forms soft balls in the cold water test. If you have a candy thermometer, this means that the mixture reaches the soft ball stage at just about 113 C. I haven’t got a candy thermometer, so I used the cold water test, but most of all, you can check for the consistency of the mixture by having a little bit of it on a wooden spoon and see how that cools. If it cools to a sticky consistency that you can almost thumb together, you’re just about there. In the meantime, the mixture in the pot continues to simmer and there’s little need to stir it.
Once the mixture reaches its desired temperature, it’s taken off the heat and what I did was to spread it on a marble surface for it to cool down. I dotted the surface with the 2 tbps of butter and left it to reach about 40 C. You’ll know this when the mixture doesn’t burn your fingers during handling.
I then folded in the mixture with a spatula, incorporating a little air and the butter into it, till it was creamy and smooth. I poured this onto the grease proof paper and let it set for several hours.
Once it had set, it was cut and served.
Fudge is a basic recipe that can be filled with a variety of ingredients to lend a twist to its flavour. You’ll find more fudge recipes at Fudge Recipe Collection.