It seems so apt that the word fudge is often used in lieu of that four-letter word also starting with the letter F. Fudge is actually not an easy thing to make! With each failed batch (oh, another F word!), a great slew of expletives could be heard from my kitchen.
The main problem with fudge is that there are soooo many recipes for it; all with different methods and huge variations in the ingredients used. I tried recipes using sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and regular milk. I’ve tried with or without butter (but definitely not margarine!) and I’ve tried different types of sugars. The most common results were burnt sugar (usually if evaporated or condensed milk was used and with a non-heavy based saucepan, I had no hope really…), crystallised fudge-scented sugar or something that resembled caramel. Nothing gave me that moorish, slightly crumbly, textured fudge that I love so much.
I was reassured by a new recipe I found on the net (Good Food, BBC) that proclaimed itself to be ‘dead good chocolate fudge’. It also didn’t involve the use of tinned milk so I was sold by that alone. In fact, the recipe only required cream, sugar, chocolate and glucose. Can’t go wrong surely?
I have to say that I’m a little unsure that fudge should *really* have chocolate in it (isn’t that just extending the original chocolate?). The use of glucose was also puzzling to me. I’m accustomed to using it in things like soft caramel and marshmallow where you don’t want your sugar to crystallise, but I thought fudge was fudge because the sugar *does* crystallise (you can read the scientific take of fudge making here if you like :) )
Science of sugar notwithstanding, I decided to put aside my misgivings. I’d tried everything else imaginable and it was high time I delivered some fudge to my long-suffering family.
The recipe was a dream come true! The cream and glucose stopped the sugar from crystallising and I figured that the cream could hold it’s own against the higher temperatures due to the lower water content (maybe the engineers at Cooking For Engineers can confirm :P). I added a tablespoon of butter because I like to meddle with recipes and I feel fudge has to have some amount of the good stuff for flavour. I didn’t overdo it knowing that there was chocolate to be added later and I didn’t really want to add too much more fat! Once my thermometer was up to 118C, I knew I was on to something positive. Once the mixture stopped bubbling, I dumped the chocolate in and whisked until combined.
As the mixture cooled, I could see that it was already setting into the fudgey texture. Pleased was a complete understatement after so many failed attempts. It might not be true fudge but I don’t care! It tastes so dreamy and creamy. I feel I can move on now…
Fudge (NB – using roughly half the amount of ingredients given in the Good Food BBC recipe)
250ml cream (I used simple whipping cream, not double)
180g sugar (given the added chocolate also has sugar, I chose to lower this amount from the recipe)*
1 tbsp glucose
1 tbsp butter
100g chocolate (I used Green & Black’s orange & spice flavoured dark chocolate for one batch and their white chocolate for another*)
Put sugar, cream, butter and glucose in a pan. Slowly heat together, stirring continually, until the sugar melts then fast boil until the thermometer reaches 118C. Turn off the heat and add chocolate, mix really well and pour into a 22cm square non-stick tin. Leave the fudge overnight to set then turn out and cut into squares.
* For the white chocolate version, I used about 100g of white sugar and 80g of brown sugar to give a bit of caramel oomph to the fudge :D