Monday, December 12, 2011

Fudge Monday!

I made 2 kinds of fudge this weekend. Yes, two. Was it necessary? No. Will I have to workout extra hard this week to counteract this decision? Absolutely. But it was worth it. Plus, I actually printed 3 fudge recipes, so really my waistline should be thanking me for only making 2 of them. That's logic.

Making fudge takes a serious commitment to standing at the stove nonstop for 12-15 minutes (which seems a lot longer than you'd think when you're just standing there). It takes prep-work to make sure you have all ingredients ready and pans prepared before you even start. Fudge making is not for the multitasker. I learned this the hard way when I was trying to chop some almonds while waiting for my sugar and milk mixture to boil. The sugar burnt and I had little black stuff floating in my mixture. If this happens to you, just get a fine mesh strainer, line with cheesecloth if you have it, and pour the mixture through the strainer and into a clean bowl. Better advice is just to make sure you stir constantly while it's heating so the sugar doesn't burn.

Fudge is super rich and a small piece goes a long way. So I recommend only making one of these at a time. Or make both and thank me later. Either way, you should freeze some after you make it. And share the fudge. Your friends...coworkers...neighbors...strangers...will thank you. Truth fact. (okay, strangers might not thank you so much as look at you suspiciously and throw the fudge away--assuming their mother's taught them not to take candy from strangers)

If you have a candy thermometer, great. I don't so I just followed the minute guideline on the recipe and it turned out just fine.

Pumpkin Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Stir together first 6 ingredients in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 234° (soft-ball stage) or for about 12 minutes.

2. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour into a greased aluminum foil-lined 9-inch square pan. Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool; cut fudge into squares. Refrigerate if needed before cutting.

Mocha Almond Fudge

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder (I used instant ground coffee)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
2 cups chopped toasted almonds

1. Line a 9- by 13-in. pan with foil, letting foil hang over edges. Set aside. In a bowl, combine chocolate, butter, and espresso.
2. In an 2-qt. or larger pan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and milk, then bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon to prevent boiling over, until mixture reaches 235° on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove pan from heat and pour chocolate mixture into hot milk. Stir until smooth. Add almonds, stir just until combined, then pour fudge into prepared pan, smoothing top with spoon. Chill at least 2 hours.
4. Invert fudge onto a cutting board and peel off foil. Cut fudge into 1-in. squares.

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