I cannot recall the last time I made fudge. It was a family favourite growing up and around the Christmas holidays, there was always some to be had. My mom always had the pantry and freezer full of cooked goodies. The laundry room became the storage area for fruit cake, plum puddings, cookies, squares not to mention tins of Ganong chocolates. It was an out-in-the-open treasure chest that as a kid I could not ignore (a few times caught with my hand in the cookie jar).
While I don’t cook as many sweets as mom did, never had her sweet tooth, I do like to have some on hand. Fudge was, like most good recipes, a mistake. An American invention in the 1880’s, fudge was the result of bungled caramels. How sweet it is! Dress up fudge by adding marshmallows, dried cranberries, salted nuts, mint, nutella, crushed candy cane, orange zest, maltesers, coconut – you get the picture. This makes a lovely gift to share at your next book club soirée, to a friendly neighbour, favourite teacher or for a relative who no longer bakes.
2 cups white sugar
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup of whole milk or heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Butter a 5″ x 9″ loaf pan. Combine sugar, milk, chocolate chips and honey in a thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir until chocolate has melted. Increase heat to bring mixture to a gentle boil. Do not stir. Let the gentle bubbles do its thing otherwise the stirring will result in a grainy texture. Cook until candy thermometer reaches 235f. To check whether fudge is ready, use a metal spoon to drizzle a little fudge in a cup of ice water. If it forms a soft, pliable ball, then it’s done. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan and allow to cool to room temperature before cutting (overnight is best but if you can’t wait…). Cut into slices or squares. Store in airtight container in fridge for up to one week.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Another way to check whether fudge is ready is to note when larger bubbles become smaller; do the test above. Enjoy!