I love to have a little dabble in the kitchen, especially on Christmas Day as the Christmas Lunch is my domain! I really like the whole prepping and cooking of it all and trying to time it all so its all hot when served and not had to be reheated or Gods forbid (All seven of them) have to be put in the microwave!
Yesterday I finally made good on the threat I had been making over the last few weeks that I wanted to make some fudge. I remember my Mum making fudge when I was a kid and the smell when she was making it was simply divine! My mum used to love making it but I always remember it being a bit of a hit and miss thing, sometimes it was fudge, sometimes it turned into toffee instead, either way it was always delicious. In fact Mum even preferred it when it turned to toffee.
After reading up on some fudge recipes online, i found out that the difference between fudge and toffee is about 5° Celsius in what I call the "Setting Process". The idea is you have to get your mixture to between 115°C - 118°C. A few degrees under , the Sugar doesn't dissolve properly, and you end up with fudge that has a very gritty texture and a sugary taste. A few Degrees too hot and it will turn your fudge into a hard toffee mixture.
The ingredients are really simple for just your ordinary vanilla flavoured fudge but you can add little bits or change things as you see fit. The recipe I used is as follows :
397g tin of Condensed Milk
115g-125g of Salted Butter (or unsalted if you prefer)
350g of Caster Sugar
100g of Barbados Cane Sugar
150ml of Milk (Semi skimmed or full fat)
1/2 - 1 Tbsp Vanilla essence or flavouring
Its fine to use just 450g of caster sugar in the recipe but i decided I would use up the rest of a packet of the Barbados sugar I had lying around, as long as the total amount of sugar is 450g.
and that's it! really simple but the trick is in the cooking. If you can get hold of a food thermometer it will make the set a lot easier.
Step 1 - The Mix
Take a large nonstick saucepan and add the butter and melt over a low heat until liquid, then add the milk and condensed milk and mix until smooth. Once smooth add the sugar and the vanilla essence and increase the heat to a medium and continue to stir until all the sugar is dissolved, this should take about 5 minutes.
Step 2 - The Set
Now this bit is the trickiest part of the recipe. On a high heat you need to heat the mixture to between 115°C-118°C, this will take 10-15 minutes stirring constantly, with a wooden spoon or spatula, scraping the bottom and sides as you do so so no sugar sticks to the base and side of the pan. If you have the thermometer then ans soon as the mixture hits the temperature mark then immediately remove from the heat and continue to beat the mixture as it cools.
Step 3 - The Pour
Continue to beat the mixture until it starts to bind together and not stick to the side of the pan. it will start to take on a bit of a glossy look to it, when this happens its ready to pour into a lightly greased brownie tin to set.
it should take about 60-90 minutes to set properly, once set upturn the pan and gently tap the bottom of the tin, the cut into pieces.
This is how mine turned out. Yummy!