Posts Tagged ‘fudge’

Give Some Time And Make Some Christmas Sweets

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

In this festive period, we have been asked out to various families for drinks, or the kids out to parties.  And the question always is what to give people in a period of giving.  So yesterday, the kids and I spent a happy day making sweets, much as we have done before.  So there was a kitchen full or sugar, ground almonds and the smell of chocolate.  Our clothes were covered in the light white snow of icing sugar and there was a healthy crunch of caster sugar beneath our feet on the kitchen tiles.

Our Kitchen Table Covered In Homemade Sweets

Our Kitchen Table Covered In Homemade Sweets

But why bother, when you can buy sweets in the shops.  And where they are way cheaper as well – excluding the ingredients, our time would cost each sweet at about 50p, and that’s sweet and not box of sweets.  The answer is in part that they taste much nicer as we use better ingredients like organic Fairtrade sugar, and are much more generous in the luxury components like chocolate and vanilla.  But also, it is the giving of our time.

In an age where everyone claims to be so time poor, giving excuses like I am far too busy to play with my children or cook a meal from scratch or to make sweets or bake, what is more generous than giving over some time to make something for friends and family.  And they taste pretty damn delicious as well.  Think if I were a hedge fund manager or big corporate fat cat, I could perhaps even get the cost per sweet up to £18 or more per chunk of fudge – think how generous my time would be then.

So I say, please give some time and make something for your friends and family and show how generous you can be by releasing some of your precious time to show how much you love and care.

Enough of that and down to the nitty-gritty, we made marzipan kugeln (or marzipan balls dipped in milk chocolate), peppermint creams (shaped as circles and stars and dipped in chocolate), milk chocolate shapes (Merry Christmas tablets, santas and stars), vanilla fudge and chocolate fudge.  There was something about the fudge that made it extra soft and velvety this year and less crystalline and tablet like.  I think it was the patience and extra diligence over the stirring, but it could just have been the recipe, which was tweaked for the ingredients I had to hand.

Homemade Chocolate Fudge

900g / 2lb caster sugar
100g / 3¼oz unsalted butter
1 large tin of evaporated milk (410g/ 14½oz)
¼ of evaporated milk tin of cold water
250g / 9oz milk chocolate

Prepare a tin, by lining the base with some baking parchment.  We use a 2cm (½ inch) deep pan that is 30cm by 20cm (12 inch x 8 inch).

Put the caster sugar, unsalted butter, evaporated milk and cold water into a heavy bottomed pan.  Put the pan over a medium heat and with a wooden spoon stir the mixture until it is fully dissolved.  While the sugar mixture is melting, melt the milk chocolate over a pan of boiling water, then when melted switch off but keep warm by keeping over the pan.

Turn up the heat a tad and let the sugar mixture boil rapidly, stirring consistently all the while.  When the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage (114C/238F), remove from the heat immediately.  I reckon this part takes around 20 minutes, but many books seem to claim it is much quicker.  Now you need to vigorously stir the mixture until it starts to thicken and begins to become rough – this takes 10 to 15 minutes and is quite tiring on the old arms.

Pour the fudge mixture into the baking tray, smooth over with a spatula.  Then using a sharp knife, cut the fudge into whatever sized cubes you want.

Leave to cool for 3 hours, then turn out of the baking tray, break off the fudge pieces, eating a few along the way to ensure the taste and texture are spot on, then put into an airtight container or some pretty gift boxes for pressies.

Homemade Chocolate Fudge In Gift Box

Homemade Chocolate Fudge In Gift Box

Recipe for Vanilla Fudge and Coconut Ice

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Fudge and coconut ice

I know this is really quite pathetic but I have only just cracked how to make fudge in the last year.  It always seemed to burn every time I tried to make it – the problem is that most recipes don’t give the mixture long enough for the sugar to be transformed into fudge.  I would then always turn the heat up too high and it would stick to the bottom and start burning, or turning the sugar to toffee and then burn.

Vanilla fudge 

450g    Caster sugar (organic & Fairtrade)
50g      Unsalted butter, diced
170g    Can evapourated milk
150ml   Full fat milk
½ tsp    Organic Fairtrade vanilla extract (Steenbergs is of course the best!?)

  1. Lightly oil a shallow non-stick baking tray – about 18cm.
  2. Gently heat the sugar, butter and milks in a metal saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon until all the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Bring to the boil and bubble away gently, stirring continuously (and I mean all the time with no breaks) for 25 – 30 minutes.
  4. When the mixture reaches the soft ball stage or 116oC, remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
  5. Beat until the mixture becomes thick and pale in colour, then pour into the baking tray and leave to cool.  When cold cut into 2.5cm squares.
  6. For a variation, you could stir in 150g of organic chocolate rather than the vanilla extract, for a rich dark chocolate fudge.   

Coconut ice

397g    Can of sweetened condensed milk
500g    Icing sugar, sieved
350g    Desiccated coconut (organic if possible)
Few drops of red/pink food colouring (optional)

  1. Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the condensed milk and the sieved icing sugar, then stir in the desiccated coconut.
  3. Now divide the mixture into 2.  Put the first half into the prepared cake tin and press it into all the edges.
  4. Add the food colouring to the second half of coconut mixture and knead until the colour is evenly through.  Put this into the tin on top of the white layer and spread out. 
  5. Leave to set in a cool place, then cut it out into 1-2 cm squares.