Monday, 5 August 2013

Soft Vanilla Fudge

I promised in my post about the homemade chocolate box that I'd give you all the recipe for fudge, and here she is!

As I mentioned in my post on coconut ice, I have for many years been experimenting with different recipes for all my favourite sweet treats, and I think I've finally found a recipe for fudge I really like. I've tried lots of different cooking temperatures, different ratios of ingredients, adding the ingredients at different times (including once where I added the butter after cooking and it took me 35 minutes to beat to setting consistency; I don't recommend you do that), and now I feel I've cracked it. 

Once again, the trick was leaving about ten minutes between cooking and mixing: the longer you wait to beat the mixture after cooking, the softer it is. Ten minutes is about right, but you can of course wait longer or shorter depending on your taste.

This is beautifully soft and melts in the mouth, and the vanilla flavour is very delicate. I recommend that you use some white sugar and some brown sugar, as suggested in the method: it makes the fudge extra rich and creamy tasting without adding extra cream or butter; but you can use completely white if you prefer. The texture is very supple, due to the high fat content.

This is a large quantity that will make about 1¼ pounds (570 grammes) of fudge, but I've found it can be easily halved or even quartered. Just be really careful when making small batches because it can burn or crystallise easily.
  • 1 pound (450 grammes) light brown sugar
  • 4 fluid ounces (115 millilitres) cream
  • 4 fluid ounces (115 millilitres) milk
  • 4 ounces (115 grammes) butter
  • 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) of vanilla essence

  • Prepare an 8 inch (20 centimeter) square tin by either greasing it lightly or lining it with non-stick baking paper. You could also use a silicone baking tin, which needs no greasing or lining.
  • In a heavy-based large saucepan, heat the cream, milk and butter until the butter has melted.
  • Pour the sugar into the middle of the pan so that it forms a little mountain in the middle, then gently bring in the milk mixture from the edges. Your aim here is to get as little sugar as possible on the edges of the pan, as this can cause your fudge to go grainy.
  • Stir the mixture over medium-low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Using a pastry brush dipped in hot water, wash the sugar crystals from the side of the pan. Alternatively, you can just pop the lid on the pan for a minute to allow the steam to wash it all away instead.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved and there is no evidence of sugar crystals left, bring the mixture to the boil and once boiling clip a sugar thermometre to the side of the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the whole thing reaches 118°C (245°F). Please don't stir!
  • While the fudge is cooking, fill your sink or wash basin with about 2 inches (5 centimetres) of cold water.
  • Once the fudge has reached temperature, take the pan from the heat and dip the bottom in the cold water to stop cooking immediately. Then, leave the mixture to cool for 16 minutes (a minute per ounce (28 grammes) of sugar).
  • Add the vanilla essence and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until thick, creamy and opaque. The mixture will slightly lose its shine and become more matte, and the consistency will be like freshly made Mr Whippy ice-cream. 
  • Pour into your prepared tin and allow to cool at room temperature overnight.
Do not even think of setting it in the fridge: you can store it in the fridge once set, but setting the fudge in the fridge will cause crystallisation. Store in an air tight container to avoid it catching any unwanted odours or flavours.

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