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Friday, 25 November 2016

Making Vanilla Fudge

If there is a single sweet that I find hard to resist, it must be fudge. And nougat. And ... Okay, you get the idea. In any case, fudge is way up there on the list of favourites. I think we are all familiar with the quick and easy microwave fudge. (Or am I mistaken? Should I blog about it?). Yet, every so often, I crave proper old-fashioned stove-top fudge where the sugar and butter has taken its time to caramelize and give me that richly developed flavour that is unmistakable fudge. I share one of my favourite fudge recipes with you in today's blog. The old-fashioned way.

Prepare a dish with non-stick spray before you start.

You will need a large pot with straight sides. Rounded pots force the heat and steam back onto the caramel, causing crystallization against the sides of the pot. Use a pot with straight sides that will allow the steam to escape.

Measure the following ingredients in your pot: 5 cups (1 kg) white sugar, a tin (350 ml) of ideal milk (evaporated milk), 300 ml milk, and 200 g (200 ml) butter.

Keep your vanilla essence at hand. It will be added right at the end.

Slowly heat the ingredients in the pot to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter. Do not rush this. You can stir slowly and occasionally, but do your best to avoid creating sugar crystals against the sides.

Use a wooden spoon to stir with.

Once everything is melted, you can pop your sugar thermometer into the pot. Keep the heat low and bring the mixture to the boil. DO NOT STIR again until the pot has been removed from the heat! Stirring will cause crystallization of sugar against the sides of the pot, preventing even distribution of heat and causing hard and brittle sugar crystals to end up in the fudge.

You will notice gradual colour changes as the mixture continues to heat ever more.

A good sugar thermometer will indicate temperatures, as well as stages.

A golden tip to prevent sweets and jams from boiling over, is to smear butter on the sides of the pot.

If you look closely in this photo, you will note that the mixture does not rise any further than the butter ring on the side of the pot.

Progress photo. These pictures were taken minutes apart. Be patient. If you turn up the heat, the sugar will burn.

The sugar is now approaching the jelly stage. This is when you should turn it out if you want delicious toffee. For fudge, you need to keep at it a  little longer.

 My fudge is now very near the soft ball stage at 240 °C. When it reaches that temperature, I will remove the pot from the heat.

Remove the pot from the heat and add 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla essence. Stir this into the mixture. This is the first time you should be stirring the mixture from the moment the ingredients had all melted. Use a wooden spoon.

Let the fudge sit for +/-5 minutes. Stir again. If it takes on the typical grainy consistency of fudge, it is ready to be poured into the dish you have prepared for it.

Pour it into the dish and flatten the surface with a spatula/palette knife.

Give the fudge some time to cool down, but cut it into squares before it is completely cool and hard. If it turns too hard, the fudge will break when you cut into it.

Once the fudge has cooled altogether, you can lift it from the dish.

You can stack them high and leave them out ...

... or you can put them in a bottle with a ribbon and a cute label. They make the perfect Christmas gift. Or perhaps a thank you gift for a colleague?

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
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