Yesterday, I ventured into the world of candy making for the very first time. I decided to make fudge. However, I didn’t have a candy thermometer, which most fudge recipes in my books seem to require. Lucky for me, the Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cook Book came through with a recipe that didn’t require precise temperature monitoring. It’s a fudge recipe tailor-made for someone like me, who can’t read thermometers.
Sorry for the lack of pictures, but, as you’ll soon see, I was stirring for a long time, and besides, I didn’t know if this was actually going to work. This recipe makes about four pounds of fudge.
- a 13x9x2 pan, lined with aluminum foil. Make sure the foil goes up and over the sides for easy extraction later.
- a heavy, 3 qt. saucepan. I used a ceramic glazed cast-iron dutch oven, because I didn’t have a 3 qt. saucepan.
- a stirrin’ spoon. I used a wooden one, for that authentic, candy-making feel.
- 4 cups of sugar
- 2 5-ounce cans evaporated milk
- 1 cup butter (plus some extra for buttering your foil and saucepan)
- 1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 7-ounce dark or milk chocolate candy bar, cut up. This is totally optional, but why not add more chocolate if you have an opportunity? I went to the World Foods aisle of my grocery store and grabbed two 3.5-ounce Milka bars from Germany. I figured if I was adding a candy bar, I wanted a good quality one.
- 1 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme. It’s sticky!
- 1 cup chopped walnuts. Also optional. I hate nuts in my fudge, so I left them out.
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Line your 13x9x2 baking pan with foil. Butter the foil (make sure you get the sides, too) and set aside.
Butter the sides of your saucepan (or in my case, glazed dutch oven). In the saucepan, combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. This is going to take awhile, so bring a book or something. Once mixture boils, reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking and stirring for 10 minutes. When it’s boiling, it will look like the dense head of a good beer.
Remove pan from the heat. Add chocolate pieces, cut up candy bar (if you’re using it), marshmallow creme, walnuts (if you’re using them), and vanilla. Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is combined. I kept stirring it until the streaks of marshmallow were gone and everything looked uniform.
Now for the hard part: Beat by hand for one minute. This means, take that spoon and stir the crap out of that thick, gooey, chocolate mixture, as hard and as fast as you can, for one whole minute. One minute isn’t really that long…unless you happen to be beating fudge by hand. Ow.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Allow to cool at room temperature; DO NOT COOL IN THE REFRIGERATOR. If you put it in the fridge at this point, condensation will form and ruin your candy. While the fudge is still warm (about 1.5 – 2 hours into cooling) you can score it into 1-inch squares. I would only do this if you plan on serving it all at once in bite-sized pieces. If you are making it to freeze and eat later, wait until the fudge is totally cooled, lift it out of the pan (using the handy foil that you made sure went up and over the sides), and cut it into blocks for freezing. It will store better in larger chunks than in bite-sized pieces.
If you’re going to eat all this within a week, you can store on the counter in an air-tight container. Just put wax paper between layers of fudge. For longer storage (2 – 3 weeks), store in the fridge in an air-tight container, again with wax paper between layers.