How to Make Fudge
Addiction warning: I can’t stop eating this fudge! I've been giving away bags of it to anyone I meet, just to keep from eating the whole batch. I like chocolate fudge with all kinds of stuff in it, especially nuts, but my boys are purists and just want uninterrupted chocolate.
This recipe is made by boiling down evaporated milk until it reaches just the right temperature and poured over really high quality chocolate. No marshmallow fluff! I've done those recipes as well, but I like the texture of this better and the flavor is more intense and not as sweet. It requires a candy thermometer, but don't let that scare you, it is really very simple
Prepare a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil and a sheet parchment. Spray the parchment with a very light coat of oil.
In a large sauce pot, fitted with a candy thermometer, whisk together the evaporated milk and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the mixture reaches 234 degrees F. Stir occasionally and be sure to get the milk that is behind the thermometer. This may take between 10 to 20 minutes.
While the milk mixture is cooking place the chocolate and butter in a large bowl.
Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate and whisk right away with an egg whisk, which is more open and will not clog up with the thick fudge. (If the milk mixture looks as though it has any lumps in it then strain it over the top of the chocolate. If it looks smooth then don't bother.) Whisk in the vanilla.
If your fudge looks as though it has seized (looks grainy, not smooth)...
Add a tablespoon of the half-and-half and whisk in. Keep adding and whisking after each tablespoon of half-and-half until the fudge is smooth.
In the end it should look shiny and smooth. (Add the nuts now if you want them throughout the fudge.)
Spread into the prepared pan using a spatula. Make sure it is spread evenly.
I kept part of the batch pure chocolate fudge and press the nuts on top of the other half of the pan before refrigerating it. Place it, uncovered, in the fridge until it is well cooled and set.
Once it is set, cover with plastic and return to refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Flip the fudge over, remove the parchment, and invert onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife dipped in a pitcher of hot water, you will trim the edges and then cut into squares. I cut mine into 6 strips on the short end and 6 strips on the long end to make 36 pieces.
Enjoy and be sure to have lots of help to eat these treats. They make wonderful gifts to your family, friends and neighbors.
Zoë François, author of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day , studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants. You can find her writing and recipe creations on Devour, on her baking blog, zoebakes.com and on the site, www.breadin5.com.