Sunday, December 12, 2010

fudge - second try

So this week has been fudge week. It's a family tradition that has lapsed for years, but when we were little, every Christmas my grammie would send us fudge. I remember two kinds, maple and chocolate, and they were called "chicken livers" in our house, as they were usually sent in recycled chicken liver containers. Or maybe they were only one year but the name stuck. Guests were usually taken aback when offered "chicken livers" on the sweets tray - until we would explain, usually all of us at once...Sadly, since Gram died, there has been no fudge at Christmas so this year I thought maybe I could revive the tradition. I tried maple fudge first - I read the recipe and thought - how hard can this be? Seriously, I should know better. I mixed up the ingredients and while stirring I read the words, soft ball stage or 236 deg F. Hmmm I thought. I don't think I have a candy thermometer (I do it turns out) so when I got to the part where I didn't have to stir constantly, I ran to my Joy of Cooking and flipped to the fudge page. A glass of cold water and some strands of the syrup later and I thought I had got to soft ball stage. But you can guess what happened.

The fudge didn't set and there was no way it was going to slice. So in the meantime I had found my candy thermometer so I thought - well I heat it up again. I did and it went hard this time - concrete rock hard. So now I have a big bag of maple fudge crumbles to mix into vanilla ice cream and to crumble into fruit crisps for a maple sugar zing. Sigh. Ok - then I found this recipe which lead me here and here and today I tried again. Of course, I tweaked - a bit - I added a bit of chocolate hazelnut spread to the recipe to make up for the tiny bit of condensed milk that was missing from the can (used elsewhere) as I didn't have another can in the cupboard and I didn't have enough eggs to make chocolate sugar cookies (sorry - that was my logic!). Anyway - the whole not really cooking it worked (I mean you do have to heat it over water to melt the chocolate and I sometimes find that a bit tricky). So well, that when I turned it out and was cutting and packaging it, there was an attack of the dinosaur puppets who all wanted a piece of fudge.

Chocolate Fudge with hint of hazelnut (adapted from Giada de Laurentis)

1 can condensed milk (less 1/3 c)
1/3 c chocolate hazelnut spread
1 lb bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp salted butter, sliced into 1/2" pieces

Butter an 8x8 baking pan and line with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs 2 sides.

Into a stainless steel mixing bowl, add the milk, hazelnut spread and vanilla and place over a pot of simmering water. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted (~ 5-8 minutes). The mixture will be thick and glossy. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set. Cut into 1" pieces and store in an airtight container or freeze.

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