Guest Author - Caitlin McLeod
Do you love chocolate fudge? I know you will enjoy this rich, creamy, slightly bittersweet version, which can be flavored with vanilla, basil, peppermint, or orange flavoring.
This is an updated version of the fudge my mother used to make as a little girl—cooking it over a wood-burning stove in her play house! This one is richer, darker, and uses heavier cream. Prepare to be wowed.
Notes: You can either use a bowl for the top of the double boiler, transferring the mixture to a pan when needed, or you can use a heavy-bottomed pan for the top of the double boiler, and transfer that directly to the heat. You will want to have a clean pastry brush on hand, along with a small bowl of cold water and a candy thermometer. You will also need either a marble slab to work the fudge on, or a non-breakable ceramic platter.
Royal Luxury Fudge
1-1/3 cups white or raw sugar
4 ounces unsweetened (bitter) chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. butter (not margarine)
1 tsp. vanilla, or 1-2 drops basil, orange, or peppermint essential oil
¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1) In the top of a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
2) Add the sugar gradually to the chocolate, stirring until blended. It will become grainy; this is OK.
3) Add the cream, then place the pan of chocolate directly over the heat, medium-low. With the wooden spoon, stir the mixture back and forth until all of the sugar is dissolved, but do Not boil.
4) Using your pastry brush (or your clean fingers, if you’re tough) dipped in water, wash any sugar crystals down the sides of the pan. You may need to do this a few times, so that there is no grainy sugar left.
5) Increase the heat to medium-high, and boil the chocolate mixture briskly without stirring until it reaches the soft-ball stage, which is 238º on your candy thermometer. Take care not to scorch the chocolate; it is best if you have a gas stove so the flame can be adjusted quickly.
Note: If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test for soft-ball stage by dropping a little of the candy in your dish of clean cold water, you should be able to gather the mixture into a soft ball.
6) When the candy reaches the soft-ball stage, pour it at once onto the marble slab or platter, which you first dampen with a bit of water. The fudge should be in one layer. Don’t scrape the pan, as candy near the bottom will be more cooked and thus lump up.
7) Put the butter on top of the hot fudge, where it will melt as the fudge cools. When the fudge is lukewarm to the touch, add the flavoring, and then begin to work the fudge with a long, narrow frosting spatula until it is creamy. You will lift the fudge and pour it back onto itself, over and over; this can take quite some time (15-20 minutes or more). The fudge may look a bit crumbly for a while; keep going until it’s smooth again.
8) As the fudge becomes creamier, add the nuts, a little at a time, until incorporated. When the fudge is ready, it will be firm and will hold together. Pat the top of the fudge with your clean hand, to make it shiny, if desired.
9) Put the fudge into a buttered square pan, about 8” x 8”, and let cool completely. Cut into squares and enjoy!
This recipe is really quite easy, once you get the hang of it; the most challenging part is working the fudge with your spatula. You can cheat and use a heavy-duty mixer, if you must, though I’m sure it’s better if worked by hand–at least at the end.