If you are trying to lose the last of the Christmas pounds, do not read this post. If your dentist is stern, turn away.
But if, like me, you can’t resist a sugary home-made treat, read on. This has got to be the best fudge ever. And it makes a wonderful gift. Far nicer than a box of chocolates…
100-125ml cream or evaporated skim milk (as a pretence at healthiness)
Pinch of salt
This will make a small amount – enough for a gift, but not enough to send you diabetic with sugar consumption. You can increase quantities easily and I have made four times this amount on occasion. Just ensure that you use a LARGE saucepan. You want the pan about a quarter full.
I did attempt to make massive quantities for a village fete once, and filled large saucepans with the mixture. Worse, I was cooking on an Aga (that is permanently heated), and when the mixture came to the boil, it overflowed in a nightmarish imitation of the Sorcerers Apprentice. The heat of the boiling fudge and the Aga rendered it all too dangerous to approach and I stood by, agog, as the lake of boiling sugar flooded over the stove, across the floor, coating everything with a thick oozing layer that carbonated on the stove, and left sticky patches for months on the floor.
Anyway. That was years ago…
Put the ingredients in an appropriately sized saucepan, and dissolve over a low to medium heat. Make sure the sugar is dissolved before you turn the heat up. Once dissolved, bring to the boil (see photo above) stirring to prevent it catching on the base of the pan.
Stir and boil for about 5-10 minutes until it reaches soft ball. I don’t use a thermometer. I use a glass of cold water (fridge cold, not tap cold) and I drop a droplet of the mixture into the glass. When it forms a little ball that you can squidge in your fingers, it’s ready.
Remove the pan from the heat and add flavouring. This time I used:
30g dark chocolate, and some walnuts.
Instead you could use a teaspoon of vanilla, or raisins. Orange zest is lovely with the chocolate too.
Do not add a lot of liquid (like brandy) – no more than a teaspoon or you’ll end up with fudge sauce. (although that wouldn’t be a complete tragedy)
Now you must beat the fudge with a spoon:
It’s important to cool it a little this way, as then it crystallizes beautifully and gives you that lovely fudgy texture. However, it will reach crystallisation point quite fast – especially if you have added chocolate and walnuts, so you may only have about 30 seconds of beating. Make sure it is thickening, and test a tiny bit at the edges of the pan to see if it is turning from a caramel sauce consistency, to a thicker, textured one. It will feel a bit ‘crunchy’ or grainy.
Then pour it as fast as you can into a tin lined with paper. It will set as you pour!
It’ll be amazingly hot still, so leave it to cool before cutting into squares.
(you can see that this quantity makes enough to cover a loaf tin).
Then call your friends to help you eat it!