If you find the old fashioned method of making fudge daunting,
you will love this rich and creamy Simple Chocolate Fudge recipe. It side steps
the boiling of sugar syrup and instead, all you need to do is melt semi sweet
chocolate with a little butter and sweetened condensed milk. Finish it off by
stirring in some vanilla extract and chopped nuts and you are done. I often like
to use more than one type of nut, my favorites being hazelnuts, almonds, and
pistachios. But peanuts, walnuts, and pecans are very nice, or you could even
fold in some dried fruit.
As I mentioned above, this Simple Chocolate Fudge does not involve
making a sugar syrup. This is possible by using sweetened condensed milk which is
actually a ready
made concentrated sugar syrup. It is made from a
mixture of whole milk and sugar that has had about 60 percent of its water
removed. Its consistency is thick and sticky (like honey) and it is very
sweet tasting. To give you a small bit of history, condensed milk was the
result of Gail Borden's (1801-1874) determination to invent a milk that
could be stored and distributed over long distances. At the time of its
invention (1856) milk was not pasteurized so it was difficult to keep it
fresh and free of germs. After Borden received a patent on his invention
he starting producing condensed milk, but it wasn't until it became
standard issue for the troops during the Civil War that it really gained
So, lets begin. All you need to do is slowly heat the sweetened condensed milk
with the finely chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of
simmering water, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
Then remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and nuts, and spread into
your pan. It is important to use a good quality chocolate that you enjoy eating
out of hand. There are many good brands of chocolate on the market today,
both foreign and domestic. Taste the chocolate before using as not all
chocolates are the same. Although the professionals swear by the high end
bittersweet chocolates, these are not for everyone as their taste can
too bitter for some palates. So keep this in mind when giving fudge as
gifts or when serving to children.
For a little trivia, fudge making seems to have started
with young American women on
college campuses in the 1890s. There are many theories as to why it was
called 'fudge'. Andrew F. Smith in "The Oxford Companion to American Food and
Drink" suggests the name "refers to an expression young women might have used
instead of swearing".
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in
center of oven. If using hazelnuts, place them on a baking sheet and bake for
about 15 minutes or until the nuts are fragrant and their skins start to blister.
Remove from oven and place in a clean kitchen towel. Roll up
the towel and let the nuts steam for five minutes and then rub nuts
to remove skins. Let cool and then chop into pieces.
If using almonds, pecans or walnuts
toast the nuts for about 8 minutes, or until lightly brown and fragrant. Cool and then chop coarsely.
Fudge: First line
the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9 inch square
(20 or 23 cm) with aluminum foil.
condensed milk, chopped chocolate, and butter in a heatproof bowl and
place over a
saucepan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate mixture, stirring frequently, making sure the mixture doesn't
get too hot or the fudge may be
grainy. Stir until smooth (it will be very thick). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla
extract and chopped nuts. Spread the
fudge into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Let
stand at room temperature until cool (this can take several hours). Then
carefully remove the fudge from the pan by lifting the edges of the foil. With a
long, sharp knife cut the fudge into one inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Store in the refrigerator for
several days or freeze, well wrapped, for several months. Let thaw at room
temperature, unwrapped, for a few hours before serving. Preparation time 45
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