Sunday, December 11, 2011
Fudge, it seems, is rather difficult to fudge up.
They used to let us tackle it as kids to keep us occupied: just throw everything in a dish, microwave and stir, and voila you have fudge!
Making a grown up version however, proved a tad more challenging. I seriously stuffed the recipe up. I zapped it on too high a heat, didn't keep track of how long I microwaved it for, and generally didn't pay enough attention to the recipe. At one point I had laid out my just-starting-to-set fudge into the pan, then turned around to see the white chocolate that was supposed to go into it, still sitting on the chopping board. Then the white chocolate seized. This fudge really could've been an utter disaster, but miraculously, I still ended up with a delicious creamy fudge. Go figure.
A Nessie proof fudge is a fool proof fudge.
I've tried many a different types of fudge in my day: chocolate, peanut butter, russian, creme brulee even, but I'm not actually a big fudge fan. Sure, I'll eat a piece if offered, but I always find it crumbly, gritty and tooth-achingly sweet. Akin to eating a cube of sugar.
I wasn't a big fan that is, until I had some Russian Fudge the med students' association gave out when I was buying my ball tickets earlier this year.
It was a fudge revelation.
It was creamy, caramelly, not gritty or crumbly, not too sweet and so so moreish. It was fudgetastic.
So I set out to re-create that fabulous fudge experience so I could give them out as edible Christmas pressies this year and came up with: Salted Caramel Fudge. Like Russian Fudge but creamier and with an irresistible salty sweet combo.
The recipe really isn't terribly difficult. All it requires is putting everything in a bowl, microwaving and stirring. Perhaps that's why it stumped me, it was almost too easy.
I used a candy thermometer to get the mixture to a firm ball stage (like when you make caramels). The original recipe didn't require you to do that but I wanted my fudge to be like a cross between a fudge and a caramel. It did not disappoint.
Salted Caramel Fudge
recipe adapted from Taste.com.au
makes around 48 pieces
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
125g salted butter, chopped in to cubes
200g white chocolate, chopped finely
1 x 395g sweetened condensed milk
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 Tbsp golden syrup (I'm going to try and replace this with all corn syrup next time to mellow it out a bit)
1/2 - 3/4 tsp normal salt (or 1 1/2 tsp sea salt)
optional: extra sea salt to sprinkle on top (don't use normal salt though!).
1. Line a 22cm x 16cm rectangle dish with wax paper making sure it goes right up the sides with some overhang.
2. In a large microwave safe bowl, place brown sugar, butter, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, golden syrup and salt and stir to combine. Microwave uncovered on Medium-High (our microwave is 1200W) in 2 minute bursts whisking in between each bursts for a total of around 8-10 minutes until the mixture comes to a bubbling boil. I lost track of how many times I put it back in the microwave but I did make sure the mixture went over 244oF to a firm ball stage using a candy thermometer. If you don't have a candy thermometer, heat until you can drop some of the mixture into cold water and form a firm ball with it. Taste and add more salt if required - remember you'll be adding white chocolate so it can afford to be on the salty side.
3. Then, microwave uncovered on Medium-High in 1 minute bursts, stirring with a wooden spoon in between each burst for another 5-6 minutes. The mixture will thicken up and go a lovely golden colour. I made sure it reached 244oF again before I stopped microwaving.
4. Place the bowl on a heatproof surface and wait for the mixture to stop bubbling. Add the white chocolate and stir until smooth. Pour into your prepared pan and smooth the top. Let it set at room temperature for at least 3 hours. Lift the set mixture on to a chopping board. Cut into around 2cm cubes with a sharp knife, cleaning the knife between each cut (heating the knife would help with a cleaner cut too). Keep wrapped in wax paper in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.