Sunday, February 6, 2011

Everyone's Favorite Fudge

I have to say I wasn't looking forward to making this recipe: I don't really like fudge. I associate fudge with overpriced candy shops in touristy areas like Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It's often way too sweet and has off flavors probably due to margarine or artificial flavors or the two. Bleaugh.

Another issue with fudge: it's hard to photograph. I took at least six photos of the finished product, and this terrible shot was the best of the bunch.

Another reason for skepticism: funky ingredients like evaporated milk and marshmallow fluff. Who cooks with marshmallow fluff? Even Maida seems skeptical. She claims to have put this recipe in her American Desserts book after people complained that her classic recipe was prone to failure--overcooking, undercooking, and (the bad kind of) graininess.

A word on marshmallow fluff: this is an Exotic Food Item here. I had to ask Sami to take me to the local hypermarché so that I could shell out 7 Euros or something for this jar of fluff. The sacrifices we make for art...

Do I sound whiny? Maybe that's because all my delicious fudge is almost gone. When I was dreading making it, I forgot an important factor: although I was using marshmallow fluff, I was also using French butter. And French chocolate.

I even cut down on the sugar a little bit, and the fudge still came out with a nice, smooth texture.

And this was really easy, as promised: put ingredients in pot, boil for a while, take off heat, add chocolate and nuts. Stir and chill. Try to resist.
I made this for a gathering we had with friends--six adults and six mostly teenaged children. There were six or seven snack-dinner type items and then four desserts, including this fudge and the banana pudding that I hope to post about soon. I figured, hey, teenagers, they'll eat anything, so they can eat the fudge if it's not that great. Well, what I noticed was the adults going to get a piece of fudge. Then going back for another piece. And then very casually wandering back to the dessert table for another one. I'm not entirely convinced the kids had a fair shot at the fudge. I'm just glad I gave this fudge a chance.

Here's the recipe. Use the best chocolate you can, and be sure to share.

Everyone's Favorite Fudge

2/3 c. (5.3 oz.) evaporated milk
7 oz. marshmallow fluff/creme (jar sizes may vary: check yours carefully!)
1/4 c. (2 oz.) butter
scant 1-1/2 c. (9.5 oz.) sugar
1/4 t. salt
12 oz. semisweet chocolate--chips or cut-up bars
1 t. vanilla
2 c. (7 oz.) walnuts or toasted pecans (Maida says these are optional, but in my book, they aren't)

Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment or foil. Get out a medium to large saucepan and put the milk, marshmallow fluff, butter, sugar, and salt in it. Put the pan over medium-low heat and start stirring. You want to bring this to a boil without letting the bottom burn, which is rather a tricky thing. When it comes to a full boil (this takes forever, and as the recipe on the marshmallow fluff jar stated, "be careful not to mistake air bubbles for boiling."), set the timer for 5 minutes and keep stirring occasionally. If you have a thermometer, check the fudge at the end just to be sure--it should reach about 226 degrees F. Mine wasn't quite that hot at the end of the cooking time. There will be some caramelization as it boils, and that's OK--just stir to make sure nothing burns.
Take the pot off the heat and add the chocolate; stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Now add the vanilla and nuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool and then chill--this did well on my cool balcony.
When you're ready to serve this, use a long, sharp knife to cut it into small pieces--ours were about 1/2-inch square. Prepare to become very popular indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment